Title Still Up For Grabs As Bens & Candy Share Points

Benburb 3 St. Roch’s 3 @New Tinto Park


Report by John Smith

After the disappointment of our midweek defeat where we capitulated tamely to a boisterous Neilston team we get a chance to redeem ourselves against our nearest challengers. The Candy come here undefeated in their last five league games banging in 21 goals in the process and a win today would enhance their promotion hopes with Neilston being idle.

There`s a fair crowd here today, dunno if it`s due to the old firm not playing, but I`m viewing from up in the Tommy Douglas stand.

The Candy kick off shooting toward the pavilion and almost take the lead in the third minute when Halliday`s 20-yard free kick from the near side is deflected off the defensive wall and comes off the crossbar. Two minutes later Halliday fires a similar free kick from around 25 yards over the bar.

Bens are forced into a tenth minute substitution when Jackson (just back from a prolonged spell out) limps off replaced by Boyle (10). The game hits a flat spell before another 25 yard free kick from Halliday on the near side is headed clear by A.Wright.

Ferris in the middle lays off to Livingston who threads McLaren into the box on the far side, he fires the cross over, but Dickson launches himself at it with a diving header to clear. Bens open the scoring when McCrone in the middle chips forward to McLaren who springs the offside and races into the box one on one to fire past Stark, 1-0 (28).

The Candy reply with Hanlon on the near side teeing up Bryson in the middle, but his shot from around 25 yards has the sting taken out as it`s deflected back to Hollis. Daw in the middle sends Hanlon down the near flank, he sends the cross over but it`s cut out by Hollis.

O`Hear on the far side finds McLaren down the line, he races across the 18-yard box, but his final shot is poor and easily collected by Stark. A minute later Stark is booked for dissent (34).

Glakin on the near side sends a cross field pass to Martin in the box on the far side, but he fires over from a tight angle. The Rock equalise with some nice link up play involving, Hanlon, McManus, Daw and finally Martin whipping home from the edge of the box past Hollis, 1-1 (41).

Half Time: Benburb 1-1 St Roch`s

Bens get the second half underway and almost immediately have a good penalty claim for handball in the box turned down by the ref. St Roch`s make a substitution replacing Dickson with McDonald (47). A minute later Bens retake the lead when McLaren, Ferris, Livingston, and McCrone cause chaos in Roch`s defence before keeper Stark fails to hold a shot and Ferris finishes off nicely, 2-1 (48).

A far side corner kick from Halliday is comfortably taken by Hollis then St Roch`s clear McLaren`s far side corner up the other end.

A two-minute spell of pressure from Candy ends with Daw`s shot well taken by Hollis. Bens come close to extending their lead when Jarvie tears to the byeline on the far side to cross to McLaren at the near post, but Stark keeps his team in it with a point-blank stop to send it round the post, then his defence mop up McLaren`s corner from the near side.

Ferris breaking down the far side finds Jarvie at the near post, but once again Stark manages to turn his header round the post from close range and Bens waste the corner kick. McCreath is booked (61), then Daw in the middle floats an inviting ball into the box that McDonald just fails to connect with.

Bens on the attack again with Jarvie haring down the far side, his cross finds McLaren on the near side who knocks it back in for Ferris who`s close range header comes crashing back off the crossbar.

A Halliday free kick from the far side into the box finds Martin, but his header under pressure from Brown goes past the near post. Candy make a second substitution bringing on Logan as Bryson limps off (71), then Boyle is yellow carded (72). Logan on the far side Finds McDonald, but Hollis gathers his shot.

Bens make a second substitution bringing on Gallacher for Jarvie (75) and extend their lead when Gallacher threads a great ball through for McLaren who beats the offside trap again to slot home past Stark, 3-1 (77).

Logan tries his luck from the far side with a cross / shot that Hollis does well to hold, then Ferris is unlucky to be booked as there`s a coming together of players with nothing in it (81). The Candy pull one back when Logan races through using a hand to control the ball that the ref ignores to hammer past Hollis, 3-2 (83).

O`Hear on the near side finds McLaren on the far side, he pops it back across to Ferris, but Stark is swiftly off his line to clear.

A Daw corner kick from the near side comes to nothing, then McLaren is yellow carded (90). McLaren then sends a 22-yard free kick over the bar before Logan is booked (93). Deep into added time the Candy are awarded a penalty kick, Daw steps up and sends Hollis the wrong way and it`s all square, 3-3 (94). Bens huff and puff in the next two minutes but can`t find the winning goal.

That`s the second time this season we have surrendered a two-goal lead to St Roch`s late in the game albeit we took a point from this one, but it felt like defeat as much as the Candy team and fans celebrated it like a victory.

Rossvale extended their lead at the top with a 2-5 victory against Forth Wanderers, but there`s still twists and turns to come yet, we need to get our game faces back on and hope things fall for us in the coming weeks. I doubt if the referee supervisor in the stand was impressed by that performance today, he had an absolute howler.

Onward to next week we travel down the M74 to face Lesmahagow on Saturday then have Yoker at New Tinto Park on Monday evening, The Gow have had a poor campaign by their own standards so far and that makes them a very dangerous opponent as they will be desperate for points to start climbing the table. Yoker are unbeaten in their last four games, but face St Roch`s and Shotts Bon Accord before our meeting next Monday.


Benburb: Hollis, O`Hear, A Wright, Brown, McCreath, Jackson, McLaren, McCrone, Livingston, Ferris, Jarvie. Subs: Greer, Boyle, Gallacher, Kinnaird, K Wright.

St Roch`s: Stark, Hanlon, Halliday, Tierney, Dickson, Bryson, Glakin, Daw, Martin, R McGuire, McManus. Subs: McCluskey, Treacy, Logan, Craig, McDonald.

Referee: Jordan Cousland.


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