Saturday 1st August 2015 - Pre-season friendly match
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Glencairn rounded off their pre-season match schedule with yet another tough match against Super Premier League opposition, with Beith Juniors being the opponents on this occasion. All of The Glens' pre-season matches have been against Super League teams from Ayrshire and, in four of the five matches, the opponents have been from the top league in junior football, which has given the squad a tough test ahead of the start of the competitive matches in the Central Sectional League Cup next weekend.
As is regularly the case at this time of the season for most sides, The Glens didn't have a full squad to choose from due to the usual mixture of holidays, injuries and work commitments. The influential quartet of Andy Neil, Dean Muir, Tony Fraser and Denis McLaughlin were all unavailable for selection, but the squad was supplemented by four trialists who have been with the squad during pre-season, trying to impress manager Willie Harvey.
It was also another opportunity for Brian Eadie to get another 90 minutes of action into the tank in his comeback from injury. It was particularly nice to see Beith chairman John Boal making a particular point of welcoming Eadie back to action after the injury sustained at Beith's ground 14 months ago, and the gesture was appreciated by the Glencairn captain.
Beith were on the front foot from the start and The Glens found it difficult to make any form of headway in the opening stages. Thomas Collins was first to test Glencairn no.1 Robert Kerr with a shot from 12 yards. A minute later Kerr was relieved when he let a cross from the right slip through his legs, Adam Shaw clearing from just in front of the goal line. Kerr was a busy man at the start of the match, and he punched clear from the head of John Sheridan just as the big defender looked set to score in the 9th minute.
The Glens' first threat on goal came in the 14th minute when Mark Tait's clipped pass picked out the run from midfield of Mark Batchelor, whose square ball across goal was just too far in front of Paddy Cullen for him to control. The ball was recycled by Glencairn, and Adam Nisanci fired over the crossbar seconds later from 20 yards out.
The pace of the Beith front three was causing problems, and Collins' cross from the right in the 16th minute had just too much tempo for David McGowan to control and the ball ran through to the grateful Kerr.
The pressure had to tell, however, and Beith took the lead in the 22nd minute. McGowan got free on the right and cut the ball across the face of the penalty area, wrong-footing the Glens defenders, and Jamie Campbell was in acres of space to place his shot into the top right hand corner of the net.
Two minutes later the lead was doubled, as a cross from the right saw Thomas Collins get in between the Glencairn defenders and place his header into the corner of the net, with Kerr unable to reach the ball at full stretch.
Nisanci's free kick from the right in the 26th minute almost picked out the head of Paul Doyle at the back post as Glencairn looked to find a way back into the match.
Kerr produced a terrific save in the 39th minute as Beith almost created a carbon copy of their opening goal. McGowan again got clear on the right and cut the ball back into the path of Campbell, but this time Doyle got out to make a challenge and Kerr dived to his left to fingertip the deflected shot round the post at full stretch. The resulting corner saw Nicky Docherty head over the crossbar from close range as Beith continued to pressurise.
Glencairn had a glimpse of a chance to pull a goal back just before the interval as Shaw's diagonal pass caught out the Beith defence, but Cullen hesitated slightly before stabbing his foot towards the ball and Beith goalkeeper Stephen Grindlay raced out to block.
Half time : 0-2
Adam Nisanci and Mark Batchelor in first half midfield action.
There were three changes for The Glens at half time, with Shaw, Batchelor and Cullen replaced by Graeme Brown, trialist David Craig and Chris Zok respectively. Beith brought on Callum Watt to replace Zander Ryan and, a minute after the restart, Josh McArthur limped off to be replaced by Stephen McKeown.
Campbell was denied again in the 50th minute as Trialist no.6 made an excellent block right in front of goal. Beith's threat continued, and Kerr saved two headers by Docherty from corners on either side.
Beith made their final change in the 53rd minute as Andrew Reid replaced Docherty, and trialist Jim Smith replaced Trialist no.6 for Glencairn.
Watt fired over the crossbar from eight yards for Beith in the 57th minute, before Glencairn had their best spell in the match around the hour mark. A long ball by Nisanci released Mark Tait, who held off the challenge of Sheridan before firing in a shot which Grindlay parried round the post for a corner.
Beith didn't effectively clear the resulting cross and, when Jonny Boal took possession on the edge of the penalty area, he went down under a challenge and the referee whistled for a penalty kick. Chris Zok took the responsibility, and calmly sent Grindlay the wrong way to bring The Glens back into the match at 2-1.
The referee kindly allowed Cullen to return to the action when Nisanci had to leave the field in the 62nd minute, with Tait dropping into a midfield role and Cullen and Zok now the front two. Cullen almost made an immediate impact on his return as he outmuscled Sheridan and fired a shot across goal and wide of the far post, the referee however blowing for a foul against Cullen.
The Glens held genuine ambitions of an equaliser at this stage, and Cullen almost grabbed it in the 68th minute when his snap shot from 12 yards stung the fingers of Grindlay, and the Beith stopper grabbed the loose ball before Boal could pounce on the rebound.
Just as things were beginning to look hopeful for Glencairn, disaster struck for Brian Eadie in the 69th minute as he stuck out a leg to try to block Watt's shot, but only succeeded in deflecting the ball past Kerr who had the shot covered behind him, and it was 3-1 to Beith.
Glencairn made their final change immediately after the goal, trialist goalkeeper Daniel Mastroszek replacing Kerr. Mastroszek's first taste of the action, however, was to pick the ball out of his net as once again Beith scored two goals in quick succession. Sean McGuire was short with a pass back to his goalkeeper, and Thomas Collins nipped in to slip the ball under Mastroszek to make it 4-1 in the 72nd minute.
The Glens continued to try to work their way back into the match, and McGuire's curling cross came over the defence where Grindlay saved at the feet of Cullen. A lovely passing move involving Beith substitutes Reid and McKeown set up Collins for a hat trick chance, but he fired into the side netting from close range.
Boal got his head to Tait's free kick in the 83rd minute but couldn't divert the ball on target (pictured at top), before the referee brought Glencairn's pre-season to a conclusion right on the 90th minute.
The Glens now head into the competitive action with a trip to The Showpark next weekend to play East Kilbride Thistle, before the local derby against Cambuslang Rangers at New Southcroft Park the following Wednesday evening.
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Kerr (Mastroszek), Shaw (Brown), Boal, Doyle, Eadie, Trialist (Smith), McGuire, Batchelor (Craig), Cullen (Zok), Tait, Nisanci. (Sub not used - Hutchison (gk).)
Beith Juniors :- Grindlay, McDonald, Docherty (Reid), McArthur (McKeown), Sheridan, Martin, Ryan (Watt), Wilson, Collins, Campbell, McGowan. (Sub not used - O'Neill (gk).)
Man of the match - (chosen by John Sinclair) Paul Doyle.