Courtesy of John Dalton
From Victoria Park, Irvine
Vics’ first journey to Irvine where they’ll play their remaining ‘home’ fixtures this season brought no reward as Glenafton continued their march towards the Premier Division with a convincing victory at Victoria Park.
The first half was an open affair with chances at both ends and it was Vics’ who were firest to show in front of goal when Ally Semple parried away a Robert Paterson drive after some good work by Craig Main.
In the 11th minute Paul McKenzie went close for Glens with a shot that flew inches over. Moments later Steven Douglas parried clear a Gareth Armstrong effort and then in an amazing goalmouth scramble the big Vics’ keeper denied John Dempster not once, twice but three times from close range.
Whitletts were creating some good openings but their strikers continually took that extra touch that allowed the Glens defence to close down the threat while at the other end, Armstrong, Dempster and McKenzie were proving an handful for the ‘home’ defence.
McKenzie went close again for Glens with a header that flew narrowly over while at the other end Semple had to do some backtracking to keep out an ambitious lob from Paterson from 30 yards. It clearly was going to be a goalless match and it was the Glens who made the vital breakthrough ion the 38th minute. From a McKenzie corner, Armstrong created space in the box to head home from eight yards.
A poor clearance from Semple almost allowed Vics an equaliser early in the second half but Paterson rushed his effort from the edge of the box with the goal gaping and fired over. But Whitletts chances of getting back on level terms were dealt a severe blow on the hour mark when skipper Graham Longair was red carded after losing a 50/50 challenge with McKenzie that left the Glens midfielder on the deck.
Glens flooded forward as they looked to seal the points. Douglas denied McKenzie and Cochrane somehow fired wide with the goal at his mercy before Glens grabbed their second in the 67th minute. Substitute Gareth Campbell latching onto a through ball before firing past Douglas.
Santos was denied by Semple as he raced through on a one on one situation and Glens heeded the warning as they killed the game in the 72nd minute when after Douglas had saved from Campbell, poor defending allowed Armstrong to fire home on the turn from six yards for his second goal of the game.
Vics’ boss Jim Geddes was sent from the dugout after an altercation with the referee but Vics’ players showed plenty of spirit and got their reward when Elliot Duffy ran through on goal to fire past Semple .
Semple saved Glens from a nervy finish when saved at the feet of Duffy moments later but the Glens held on for a deserved victory which should now be sufficient to ensure a top three finish.
But for VIcs’ the worrying scenario is at the other end of the table with results elsewhere not going in their favour and injuries to key players, the clubs’ next two matches at ‘home’ to Lanark and Renfrew now become key to their survival in the Superleague First.
Whitletts: 1.Douglas 2. Longair 3. Main 4.Wilson 5. King 6.Davidson 7. Kerr 8. Hanvey (Dunlop 54) 9. Friel 10. Santos (Duffy 80) 11. Paterson
Glenafton: 1. Semple 2.Menzies 3.McKillen 4. McChesney 5. Henderson 6. Murphy 7. Potter 8. Cochrane (Colligan HT) 9. Armstrong 10. Dempster (Campbell 50) 11. McKenzie (Boyle 77)
Referee: Colin McAlpine