Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Bellshill Athletic 1 Rutherglen Glencairn 3

Saturday 21st November 2015 - McBookie.com West Region Super League Division 1

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Bellshill Athletic 1

Denis McLaughlin fires Glencairn into the lead from the penalty spot.

Glencairn lifted themselves up three places in the league table and out of the dreaded bottom four drop zone as they showed some character to come from behind and grab all three points away to Bellshill Athletic. The result remarkably leaves The Glens only three points behind 4th place in the league table, as the West Region Super League Division One continues to be extraordinarily competitive.

This was Glencairn's first ever visit to Bellshill's new ground at Rockburn Park, and it was the first league meeting of the sides for over 13 years. Willie Harvey made two changes to the starting line-up from the defeat at Cumnock two weeks previously, with Adam Shaw replacing central defender David Dunnachie, and influential striker Denis McLaughlin returned after suspension and holiday to replace Taddeo Sorrentino. There was also a change of shape as the team lined up in a 3-4-1-2 formation, with Shaw deployed as the right wing back and Alan Muir playing the creative midfield role behind the two strikers. Graeme Brown, Paul Doyle and Andy Neil formed a solid and balanced defensive three.

The Glens started the game positively and could have been in front in the 5th minute. A cross from the left by McLaughlin was head flicked on by Paddy Cullen into the path of Alan Muir, but home goalkeeper Mark Peat reacted sharply to block the shot onto the post and wide for a corner kick. Cullen went close a minute later when he was released by a quick throw-in by Tony Fraser, but Mark Peat was once again awake to the danger and made a good block.

The eighth minute saw a controversial moment when the Glencairn defence stopped in reaction to the assistant referee's offside flag, only for the referee to over-rule and allow Bellshill right back Michael Brunton to run in on the angle of the penalty area. Glencairn no.1 JC Hutchison was awake to the danger, though, and he parried the angled shot away to safety.

Cullen should have given The Glens the lead in the 11th minute when he pounced on a poor passback and only had the goalkeeper to beat, but Cullen rushed his effort somewhat and Mark Peat blocked with his legs to the frustration of the travelling support.

You could sense that Glencairn's players and supporters were once again getting frustrated at the creation of chances but the lack of goals, and Bellshill started a spell of territorial advantage around the 15 minute mark. Barry McGowan pulled a shot wide of the target before Gary McGrath's shot from 18 yards was deflected narrowly wide in the 18th minute.

The pressure continued from the home side as first Lee Nichol fired a free kick off target, and then Scott Sally curled an excellent set piece round the defensive wall, pulling a fine diving save out of Hutchson down low to his left. From the resulting corner, the ball broke on the edge of the penalty area to Brunton, but Hutchison was once again a match to the low driven shot.

The energy of Sean McGuire in the centre of midfield has been a feature for Glencairn for a number of years, and today was no exception as last season's Player of the Year was at the heart of the action. McGuire went close in the 28th minute with a low shot (pictured below) which Mark Peat saved down low to his left.

The home no.1 was proving to be a tough barrier to pass for Glencairn, and he once again frustrated the away support in the 39th minute as he dived full length to his right to tip a Dean Muir shot round the post.

Play swung to the other end a minute later as John Henderson got away from Andy Neil but fired into the side netting from a tight angle. A minute later Brunton's cross was just too high for Darren Simpson to convert with a header right in front of goal, the home no.11 nodding over the crossbar at full stretch.

Half time : 0-0

Bellshill Athletic 2

Sean McGuire goes close with a first half shot for Glencairn.

There were no personnel changes at the interval, but Glencairn's supporters were rolling their eyes in the 48th minute as they watched their team gift the lead to the opposition. In similar fashion to the early missed chance for Glencairn, an uncharacteristic slack pass by Sean McGuire left Darren Simpson clean through on goal for Bellshill and, despite Hutchison getting a hand to the shot, the ball ended up in the net to make it 1-0 to the hosts.

This setback, however, served only to fire up The Glens and they came roaring back at Bellshill. Tempers frayed momentarily as McLaughlin and McGowan locked horns and players came running from all around to get involved. The referee Mr Chris Gentles, however, handled the incident sensibly and did not over-react, showing a yellow card to both players, and it was the correct decision.

Glencairn were level in the 58th minute as they finally found the key to open up the Bellshill defence. An incisive pass by Dean Muir picked out the overlapping run of Fraser and, with only Mark Peat to beat, Fraser unselfishly rolled the ball to the side for Paddy Cullen to fire into the empty net.

Paddy Cullen

Bellshill were forced into an immediate substitution as defender Callum Brady, who had suffered an injury in the build-up to the goal, had to be carried off after some lengthy treatment and was replaced by Jamie Brophy.

Scott Sally was the man causing the main threat for Bellshill in forward areas, and he went close to re-establishing their lead in the 71st minute as Athletic hit on the break, Sally cutting inside and firing over the bar from 18 yards, although Hutchison appeared to be well positioned to save had the shot been on target.

The momentum was with The Glens, though, and both sides made substitutions to try to swing the match in their favour. Gary Millar replaced Sally for Bellshill, a surprising move to take off their man dangerman, while Glencairn made a straight replacement on the right of midfield with Mark Batchelor coming on for Shaw.

A lovely passing move involving McLaughlin, McGuire and Dean Muir ended with the latter firing a shot straight at the goalkeeper from 18 yards in the 73rd minute. Glencairn were getting closer and closer to taking the lead, and Bellshill defender Darren Ferguson made a point blank block to deny McLaughlin after he had chested down Cullen's cross and fired on target.

Mark Tait replaced Cullen up front with 15 minutes remaining, and Tait was very harshly shown a yellow card only two minutes later as he slid in to try to convert Fraser's cross, catching the defender in front of him accidentally.

Another goal was coming, though, as Glencairn continued to pressurise, and the vital moment arrived in the 82nd minute. Once again Fraser was involved as he raced down the left, this time feeding Tait who in turn rolled the ball into the path of Alan Muir, who was upended in the penalty area by defender Steven Peat. The referee hesitated for a moment but, when his assistant flagged for a foul, Mr Gentles pointed to the penalty spot for what was a very obvious decision. It was also the signal for a second yellow card of the match for Steven Peat, and he made the walk to the dressing room to leave his side a man down.

With the team having missed four out of their last five penalty kicks, there was a fair degree of nervousness in the Glencairn support as Denis McLaughlin stepped up to shoot, but he confidently drilled the ball past goalkeeper Mark Peat (pictured at top) to give The Glens a one goal and a one man advantage, with only eight minutes left on the clock.

Denis McLaughlin

Bellshill were left with no option other than to gamble and commit players forward, and they brought on Scott Morton to replace Henderson as their final switch, but Glencairn remained defensively strong and hit on the break to great effect. The Glens thought they had scored again in the 88th minute when Fraser turned Dean Muir's shot into the net from close range, but he was correctly flagged for offside.

There was a brief scare for Glencairn a few seconds later when Doyle was slightly short with a back pass, but Hutchison raced from his line to clear the ball over the perimeter fence and into the trees outside the stadium.

The points were made safe in the 89th minute as the best player on the pitch started and ended the move to secure yet another Man of the Match award. McGuire won possession on the edge of his own penalty area and carried the ball forward over the halfway line before releasing Tait on the left. The striker carried the ball up to the penalty area before flicking the ball back into the path of Sean McGuire, who had carried on his run after releasing his pass, and he produced a precision chip over the defenders and goalkeeper to make it 3-1 and "game over".

Sean McGuire Sean McGuire

Glencairn ran down the clock as the game moved into stoppage time, with Taddeo Sorrentino replacing McLaughlin up front, but McGuire's goal had killed off any prospect of a comeback and the points were safely secured, the referee blowing for time after three added minutes.

Bellshill Athletic :- Mark Peat, Brunton, McGowan, Brady (Brophy), Ferguson, Steven Peat, Henderson (Morton), McGrath, Sally (Millar), Nichol, Simpson. (Subs not used - Duffy, Fitzpatrick (gk).)

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Brown, Neil, Doyle, Dean Muir, McGuire, Shaw (Batchelor), Alan Muir, McLaughlin (Taddeo Sorrentino), Cullen (Tait), Fraser. (Subs not used - Dunnachie, Kerr (gk).)

Man of the match - (chosen by Jim Keith) Sean McGuire.

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