Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn u21s 4 Barrhead Arthurlie u21s 2

Saturday 9th January 2016 - Birdston Kennels League Cup Quarter Final

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Barrhead Arthurlie 3

Ryan Bennett fires in Glencairn's 4th goal from the penalty spot in the 94th minute.

Rutherglen Glencairn Under 21s started 2016 in the same way as they ended 2015, continuing their unbeaten record in all competitions so far this season as they edged into the semi finals of the League Cup with a 4-2 win over Barrhead Arthurlie Under 21s.

The young Glens were without six players due to a mixture of injury and suspension, but the depth of the under 21 squad is such that there were no issues with fielding a strong starting XI and substitutes' bench.

The visitors came to Glasgow Green in confident mood, and rightly so as the leaders of the West of Scotland Under 21 First Division. Barrhead wasted no time in putting their stamp on the game, with several robust challenges in the opening minutes giving the message that they were not going to be intimidated by their Premier League title challenging hosts.

Barrhead should have taken the lead in the 4th minute, when no.5 was given a free header from 8 yards out, but he missed the target when he should have at least tested Glencairn goalkeeper Chris Truesdale. The early pressure continued as Ross McConville was shown yellow for a foul on the edge of the penalty area, and Truesdale was forced to dive full length to his left to palm the shot by no.11 round the post.

Truesdale was tested to the full again in the 11th minute when a long throw and back flicked header looked to be dropping into the net, the stopper palming the ball away as he stretched fully back over his head for an excellent save.

Glencairn did well to resist the early physical battle and pressure from the clearly motivated lower league side, and gradually started to play their way into the game in a positive sense. A lovely passing move from right to left ended with a deep cross from Anthony Dempsey which picked out the head of David Quinn, but his close range effort was blocked just in front of goal by a good defensive challenge.

Barrhead Arthurlie 1 Glens midfielder Connor McGuiness in 1st half action.

Barrhead's no.5 was a little fortunate to see only his first yellow card in the 20th minute after a blatant trip to stop a break by Jason McArthur, with many in the crowd feeling the same player should have seen yellow for a similar challenge on McArthur in the opening minutes. Barrhead were forced into an early substitution with striker no.10 limping off after failing to shake off an earlier ankle knock.

The visitors were still looking threatening, though, and a crossfield dribble by substitute no.14 set up no.11 for a diagonal shot which flew well over the crossbar in the 32nd minute. A minute later, at the other end, Anton Phinn's diagonal pass picked out Quinn, who took a touch and then fired a shot which was deflected over the crossbar.

There was controversy in the 39th minute as McConville handled the ball as it broke in behind the Glencairn defence, and the referee correctly awarded a foul. Barrhead's no.6 was shown yellow for some poor sportsmanship as he appealed repeatedly for McConville to be red carded.

The young Glens hadn't played anywhere near their full potential in the opening period, but a reverse pass by Quinn almost turned the key in the 42nd minute, the Barrhead goalkeeper racing from his line to deny striker Dale Wallace.

Half time : 0-0

Barrhead Arthurlie 2 

Anton Phinn and Jason McArthur were about to be at the centre of the 2nd half action.

After a somewhat subdued first half performance, the Glencairn coaching staff were looking for a reaction from their players for the second half, and they didn't have to wait too long to get exactly what they wanted.

The deadlock was broken in the 53rd minute with a well-worked goal. The ball was fed in from the left to Phinn, who slipped a pass through to Jason McArthur, and the striker fired into the net at the near post to put the young Glens 1-0 ahead.

Jason McArthur (u21s) Jason McArthur

Quinn went close again in the 64th minute after he was set up by more good link play by Phinn and McArthur, but the shot was too straight at the goalkeeper.

The Glens doubled their lead only a minute later, however, and it was the trickery and pace of Anton Phinn who did the job, slipping past his marker to run clear on goal and producing a composed finish to make it 2-0.

Anton Phinn (u21s) Anton Phinn

Most spectators thought that would see the game over as a contest, but the referee had other thoughts as he pointed to the penalty spot for Barrhead only two minutes later after a sliding challenge by Euan Conroy. The decision was hotly disputed by the Glencairn defence, but it made no difference and Barrhead's no.8 sent Truesdale the wrong way to make it 2-1.

Both teams made changes immediately after this goal, with Glencairn's substitution seeing Danny Salah limp off with a groin injury and being replaced by Kyle Chrystal, with Dempsey moving to right back instead of left.

The visitors' substitute made an immediate impact on the game, with a brilliant equaliser in the 72nd minute. The ball was fed to Barrhead's no.17 on the edge of the penalty area, and he cut inside before curling a perfect finish into the corner of the net past the helpless Truesdale.

It was anybody's game to win now, and the prospect of a penalty shoot-out decider was on the cards, after having looked a comfortable win for the young Glens only five minutes previously. Glencairn upped their tempo again as they looked to re-establish their authority on the game, Quinn firing across the face of goal and wide in the 76th minute.

The hosts got their reward in the 79th minute with an excellent individual goal. An accurate quick kick out by Truesdale picked out a run by Jason McArthur, and he showed good strength to hold off his marker and control the ball, before cutting inside and firing a shot which flashed into the net past the outstretched goalkeeper's hand.

That goal seemed to finally knock the self belief out of the Barrhead players, and Glencairn looked the more likely side again to score as the game moved into the closing stages. McArthur tried for his hat-trick as he spun away from his marker again and fired in a low shot which was saved, and then a delightful bit of skill by Phinn opened up the defence but he pulled his shot wide of the target from 8 yards.

Barrhead made their last throw of the dice as the match moved into injury time with a double substitution, and Glencairn ran down the clock further by bringing on Peter Copeland to replace the hard-working Quinn.

The action continued right to the end, though, and the referee was kept busy as the match moved into the 93rd minute. McArthur's strength and excellent touch allowed him to release Phinn through on goal and, as he tried to dribble round the goalkeeper, he was crudely chopped to the ground. It was the easiest penalty kick award the referee has ever had, and of course the red card for the goalkeeper. After the delay of finding an outfield volunteer to go in goals for the penalty kick, Glencairn captain Ryan Bennett decisively rounded off the afternoon by driving the ball into the net (pictured at top) to end the match at 4-2.

Barrhead Arthurlie 4 Ryan Bennett

Team :- Truesdale, Salah (Chrystal), Dempsey, Conroy, McConville, Quinn (Copeland), McArthur, McGuiness, Wallace, Bennett, Phinn. (Subs not used - Strapp, Sproull, McCorry.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Alex McArthur) Jason McArthur.

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