Loch Park, New Cumnock
28 April 2012
Glens v Rangers websites
Played in beautiful sunshine but with a nip in the air at times, this was a match that neither wanted to lose, especially the home side for a defeat would have left the Glens nine points adrift of Kilsyth. With Renfrew chapping at the bit behind them and having the luxury of two games in hand, only one result was acceptable for the Loch Park side.
The first 15 minutes of this match were totally uneventful. Plenty of midfield battles to be had but neither side testing either of the two goalkeepers.
It was the visitors who were first to hit the target when Joe Barclay fired in a low shot from 19 yards, which brought out a fine diving save from Ally Semple. Graeme McLaren followed that effort up minutes later with a left footed shot from a similar distance; his shot travelling over the bar.
Rangers tried again with Carr, McLaren and Dolan linking up well on the left, which resulted in Ryan McChesney putting in a timely block to prevent the ball crossing the face of the goal.
Then came the break Glenafton sought on 27 minutes via a peach of a shot from John Dempster. The striker’s curling effort from 25 yards or so, into the top right corner gave Michael Duke no chance of stopping it despite a brave attempt.
Five minutes later it was 2 – 0. Ritchie McKillen delivered a dangerous cross from the right, courtesy of a free-kick, which Armstrong met at the back of the pack. His effort was blocked before the ball was picked up by McChesney, to strike home via the underside of the crossbar and possible another touch. Either way, the Glens’ were now firmly in the driving seat.
There was little further action in the first period. At half-time I was puzzled how Kilsyth found themselves at the top of this highly competitive league; it most certainly wasn’t by playing as poor as they did in the first 45 minutes.
Half-Time: Glens 2 Rangers 0
The second half began with Bo Armstrong testing the keeper from 25 yards in the 46th minute. Duke in the Kilsyth goal appeared comfortable in the belief the ball was off target but from my position, it looked much closer than the keeper may have thought.
Kilsyth’s Francis Kelly tried to curl a shot in from just outside the box but the direction was straight at the chest of Semple.
At the other end a Craig Menzies one – two resulted in Menzies driving a shot at keeper Duke but the stopper produced an excellent save to deny the full back.
Kelly whipped in a great cross from the right, which was met at the back post by Barclay who headed down but wide of the post. Rangers upped their game resulting in a few corners and half chances. They were enjoying an improved share of the possession in the second period but struggled to break down the back four of Glenafton.
Paul McKenzie was coming into the game more, driving down the right wing. His cross to Dempster at the back of the box, which in turn set up Craig Potter at the edge of the box, was worthy of more than his strike over the crossbar.
Substitute Darren Dalrymple gave Kilsyth a bit more variety and creativeness. Following some nice footwork on the left, his cross was hit on the volley by Kelly, which again failed to hit the target. Would have been a fantastic goal had it came off from the duo.
At the clubhouse end Dempster and Menzies working well on the right inside the box, bringing Duke into action as he blocked a shot from close range. Loud claims of “Goal” were dismissed by the officials and correctly so as the keeper took the ball at the second attempt.
Ally Semple sent a long ball into the box for McKenzie, who was marshalled by two blue shirts, preventing him getting his shot away. Great defending by Kilsyth.
Glenafton at times had eleven men behind the ball as Kilsyth probed looking for a way through. The defence standing firm and giving little away as the league leaders became more frustrated as the match wore on. Kilsyth’s best chance of scoring was looking likely to come from a set piece but despite numerous corners and the odd free-kick within range, nothing troubled the Glens’ keeper.
The points were sealed from a long ball over the top for Gareth Campbell to chase. His shot was blocked and diverted to the right of the box, where it was quickly sent back in for Campbell to head home from six yards. His accuracy was perfection as Duke could only watch in vain as the ball landed out of reach in the bottom left corner.
As the final whistle went, the home fans cheered an excellent 3 – 0 win over the leaders, which puts Glenafton in a good position for promotion or at the very least, a play-off place.
I doubt if Kilsyth will perform as poorly as they played this afternoon in their remaining matches. I was hoping to see an on form team but it was not to be.
Glenafton outplayed their visitors from midway through the first half and even when conceding lots of possession in the second period, they simply put a wall of black shirts behind the ball. A well deserved win for Darren Henderson’s men.
Man of the Match: I thought Paul McKenzie had a superb match, working tirelessly particularly in the second half but I have opted for defender Ryan McChesney for a rock solid performance at the back and scoring the second goal of the game.
Glens: Semple, Menzies, McKillen, McChesney, Henderson, Potter, Cochran, Murphy, Armstrong, Dempster, McKenzie Subs: Cashmore, Campbell. Colligan, Boyle, McEwan, Dunmuir
Kilsyth: Duke, Scott, Carr, Doyle, Waters, McLellan, Kelly, McPeake, Barclay, McLaren, Dolan Subs: McLung, Hughes, Dempsey, O’Neill, Dalrymple
Referee: Howard Wilkin