Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Ashfield 3 Rutherglen Glencairn 1

Saturday 11th November 2017 - New Coin Holdings West of Scotland Cup Round One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Ashfield 3

Craig Palmer fires in an indirect free kick from close range in the second half.

The West of Scotland Cup will remain the only cup that Glencairn have never won for yet another year, as they bowed out at the first round stage with defeat away to Central District League side Ashfield. It was an afternoon of frustration for The Glens' support, as they watched their side dominate the match for long spells but lose sloppy goals towards the end of both halves due to individual defensive errors.

For the avoidance of any doubt, it has to be made clear straight away that the performance of referee Mr Scott Love was not the reason why Glencairn lost this game. However, it has to be said that the whistler's performance in this match was as poor as I have seen for a long time. Some of Mr Love's decisions for and against both sides were simply laughable, and the arrogant nature in which he officiated the match made it obvious why he has been and will continue to be a lower junior league referee for many years.

The referee made many glaring mistakes during the game, but the most disappointing of those was that, on this highly significant day around the country, he failed to ensure that the clubs held a minute's silence before kick off, despite the clear instruction which had been sent out by the West Region. There certainly were eyebrows raised on the terraces as the game kicked off.

Willie Harvey made three changes to the line-up after last week's home draw with Troon. Joint top scorer Jay McKay and playmaker Jamie Hamilton were left on the bench as they are nursing minor knocks, and they were replaced by Liam Gormley and Sean McGuire respectively. The other change saw Del McNab starting in place of the injured Stewart Hall in right midfield.

An excellent interception by defender John Gaynor denied Ryan McArdle as he ran onto Gormley's incisive pass in the 6th minute, the first real opening of the match. Moments later Ashfield had their first opportunity of the game as Keigan Parker crossed from the left and Steven Dymock looped a header onto the roof of the net from six yards.

A lovely pass up the left flank by Craig Palmer released McArdle whose cross was cut out for a corner in the 9th minute. More fine passing from defence to attack by Glencairn in the 11th minute ended with McNab's cross just being cut out before Gormley could pounce. Play was mostly going towards the Ashfield goal, but the home side broke away in the 17th minute to almost take the lead with a 3-on-2 situation, Joshua Boyd's final cross just too far in front of the sliding Chris Moulangou.

Glencairn's closest goal attempt so far arrived in the 31st minute as McNab did really well to drill over a cross from the right, and Gormley reacted quickly to flash in a header which flew just over the crossbar from close range. McArdle's cross in the 37th minute was just too high for Gary Smith in the middle (pictured below) and McNab sliced his back post volley wide.

Ashfield 1

The home side took the lead in the 39th minute as they exposed some poor marking at a corner kick. The cross from the right found Paul Maxwell in acres of space on his own right in front of goal, and he simply couldn't miss with his header past helpless goalkeeper Jack Baker.

Home midfielder Moulangou became the first player to see yellow for one bad foul too many, firstly for a blatant trip on Rhys Donaldson which brought a warning and then followed by a late challenge on Palmer. Ashfield had their tails up at this point and were looking to capitalise on their first real spell of control in the match.

Baker beat away an angled shot by Dymock in the 45th minute, resulting in another corner which lead to Ashfield's second goal. The cross from the left was flicked on at the near post, and once again Paul Maxwell had got away from his marker to place his free header into the net from close range.

Half time : 2-0

Ashfield 2

Ryan McArdle swings in a free kick in one of Glencairn's first half attacks.

Neither side made personnel changes at the interval, and the same pattern continued as the second half started, Glencairn continuing to trust their passing game while Ashfield defended doggedly and fought for every tackle on the tight bumpy surface. It took almost ten minutes into the second half for any chance of note, with Moulangou's cross from the left flashing across goal and Parker firing high and wide at the back post.

Tensions were rising in the 55th minute and it almost boiled over as several players came together for some pushing, shoving and verbals, with Tony Fraser of Glencairn and Michael Giblin of Ashfield both being shown yellow cards.

As the match moved towards the hour mark Ashfield got increasingly deeper into their own half and Glencairn had an almost complete territorial domination. McArdle's corner from the left was headed down by McNab and was well held on his goal line by home no.1 Mark Quinn with Gormley waiting to pounce on any fumble.

The referee had everybody scratching their heads in the 62nd minute when McNab was kicked in the head inside the penalty area by a dangerously high boot. The whistler awarded an indirect free kick for dangerous play instead of a penalty kick which everybody expected. Palmer drilled his shot into the defensive wall which was incredibly allowed to stand only about seven yards away from the ball (pictured at top).

Glencairn's first substitution in the 64th minute was an attacking one, as striker Jay McKay was brought off the bench to replace midfielder Jordan Leyden. A minute later Glencairn passed up a great chance to pull a goal back as Gormley latched onto McNab's flick but delayed his shot slightly and then sclaffed his shot tamely instead of putting his laces through the ball first time.

A couple of minutes later it was "game on" again, however, as Glencairn found the way to goal at last. A free kick was awarded on the edge of the penalty area, and Gary Smith stepped up to curl a delightful shot over the wall and into the net to make it 2-1. It was Smith's 9th goal of the season in only 7 starts, and took him out on his own at the top of the club's scoring chart.

Gary Smith

Willie Harvey made another change immediately after the goal, with Jamie Hamilton introduced behind strikers Smith and McKay, with Gormley the man making way. Smith almost found an equaliser in the 72nd minute as he got his head to McKay's quick long throw, but the ball slipped agonisingly wide of the far post by inches.

Ashfield's only substitution in the game came in the 73rd minute as Billy Stevenson replaced Dymock. Glencairn continued to press forward, though, and Hamilton's cross from the right found McGregor whose glancing header took a coat of paint off the outside of the far post. Moments later McArdle's corner from the left was punched out by Quinn only as far as Palmer whose drilled effort on the half volley almost found the top corner of the net, the ball dipping just over the crossbar by a few millimetres.

As the clock ticked closer to the end of the match and with The Glens committing more and more players forward in search of an equaliser, there was always the danger of a breakaway. Gaynor's dangerous cross from the right flashed across the face of goal in the 86th minute, and a minute later the home side killed the match off. Unfortunate defender McGregor seemed to be under no pressure as he took a pass around the halfway line, however he slipped and fell over, allowing Billy Stevenson to run clear through on goal, and he fired the ball under Baker to make it 3-1 to Ashfield.

As if things hadn't got bad enough for McGregor, he was shown a yellow card in the dying moments for a foul on Moulangou, with Baker saving Parker's tame effort from the free kick. The third goal had knocked all of the fight out of Glencairn and the home side saw out the final few minutes without any further scares to progress to round two.

Ashfield :- Quinn, Lynch, Boyd, Hamilton, Maxwell, Gaynor, Moulangou, Giblin, Parker, Dymock (Stevenson), Griffin. (Subs not used - Murphy, Tulloch, O'Brien.)

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Baker, McGregor, Palmer, Donaldson, Fraser, Leyden (McKay), McNab, McGuire, Smith, Gormley (Hamilton), McArdle. (Subs not used - Kerr, Grier, McAllister (gk).)

Man of the match - (chosen by Kenny Paul) Gary Smith.

 

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