Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn 5 Blantyre Victoria 0

Wednesday 4th May 2016 - McBookie.com West Region Super League Division One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Blantyre Victoria 1

Mark Batchelor releases Del McNab for an overlapping run in the first half.

Glencairn climbed two places in the league table with this thoroughly convincing win over Blantyre Victoria, as the battle to secure Super League status for another season continues. The visitors, now managed by former Glens player Murdie McKinnon, came to The Celsius Stadium still with genuine hopes of securing a promotion play-off spot, but it was The Glens who took all three points with one of their best performances of the season so far.

Fit-again midfielder Tony Fraser returned to the starting line-up with Danny Salah making way, and Willie Harvey decided to freshen up the centre of midfield, with Alan Muir and Sean McGuire rested. Dean Muir came back into the holding role, and Ryan Docherty was pushed forward from defence into midfield, creating a space for Brian Eadie to return at left back, with Andy Neil moving into central defence alongside David Dunnachie. The Vics were stretched in terms of team selection and could only name three substitutes, with former Glencairn players Lee McShane and Jamie Gilmartin looking on from the sidelines, ruled out by illness and injury.

The Glens' motivation and hunger for the match was obvious right from the moment The Vics kicked off. Glencairn gained possession very quickly, and Mark Duffy linked with Del McNab before firing a shot narrowly wide after only 20 seconds of play.

That set the tone for the evening, and Glencairn should have been ahead after three minutes when Duffy squared across goal for Mark Batchelor, who fired wildly over the bar from six yards out right in front of goal, when it seemed easier to score.

The centre of the pitch was somewhat congested in the early stages with both teams employing five midfielders, but Glencairn seemed sharper in the pass and tackle, and they capitalised on an error to take the lead after 14 minutes. A slack pass out of defence saw McNab pounce on the loose ball and release Duffy on the angle of the penalty area. The big striker clipped the ball past goalkeeper Kevin Macklin and the ball appeared to be going into the net on its own, but Mark Batchelor slid in to make absolutely sure by knocking the ball over the line.

Mark Batchelor Mark Batchelor

The lead was doubled in the 20th minute, and this time there was no doubt about the goal scorer. Vics' defender Terry Hewitt sliced a clearance into the air and, as everybody else stood and watched, Mark Duffy ran in to challenge Macklin, and the striker won the battle of strength as he nodded the ball past the 'keeper into the empty net. Duffy took a sore hit for the team in the process, but the delight of the goal quickly dulled the pain after treatment.

Mark Duffy Mark Duffy

Glencairn now had a strong grip on proceedings, and continued to threaten as Blantyre seemed to struggle to get any form of threatening attack going into the strong breeze blowing towards the railway end. Another ball in behind the defence saw Batchelor run through to challenge Macklin this time, but the keeper was stronger on this occasion and grabbed cleanly.

The Vics hadn't tested JC Hutchison in the Glencairn goal in the opening half hour, but they had a big chance to pull a goal back after 33 minutes, when a corner from the right found its way onto the free head of Kevin Green, but he sent his effort well wide of the target from 16 yards.

A minute later there was a miss for Blantyre which matched Batchelor's earlier howler. Chris Craig dribbled into the penalty past three Glencairn defenders, and then laid the ball into the path of Ryan Tiffney who seemed certain to score, but somehow he also managed to lift his shot over the bar from close range.

The visitors would live to regret that opportunity to get back into the game, as Glencairn instead increased their lead to 3-0 in the 38th minute. Tony Fraser lifted a diagonal free kick from the right towards the back post, and Ryan Docherty rose high to head the ball back across goal and over Macklin into the far corner of the net, his first goal for The Glens.

Ryan Docherty Ryan Docherty

Fraser tried his luck with a direct free kick a minute before the interval, but Macklin saved comfortably on his goal line. Blantyre had a chance to pull a goal back in first half stoppage time, with Tiffney pouncing on a slip by Dunnachie, but the final shot was weak and straight at Hutchison, the home stopper's first save of the match.

Half time : 3-0

Both sides were unchanged for the re-start, and there was an early second half booking for Blantyre centre back Terry Hewitt after he clobbered into Duffy from behind after 46 minutes.

There was a blow for Glencairn in the 49th minute as team captain Brian Eadie pulled up with a calf injury and couldn't continue. He was replaced by under 21 defender Anthony Dempsey, who was making his competitive debut for the first team.

Glencairn took a little time to get back into their stride in the second half, and there was an understandable slackness given the comfort of the lead. The Vics had another chance to pull a goal back as Mark Thomson chested down a ball over the top of the defence, but he tried to pass instead of shooting himself, and Dempsey made a timely interception to clear.

As the hour mark approached, however, Glencairn seemed to up the pace again, and Duffy showed good footwork to turn away from two defenders before trying to set up McNab for the finish, but the pass wasn't quite as accurate as it needed to be and the ball flew across goal.

Duffy should have scored with a free back post header from Fraser's inswinging corner in the 58th minute, and then Dempsey showed his confidence as he took a lovely first touch on an overlapping run, before slicing his cross straight into the Macklin's grateful arms.

The Glens were forced into another change in the 62nd minute as Dean Muir limped off with a nasty-looking ankle injury, and he was replaced by namesake Alan Muir. Blantyre also made a change, with striker Scott Davidson replaced by Craig Smith.

The mid point of the second half saw Fraser's curling free kick just fly too high for the free head of Duffy to connect, and then at the other end Dempsey showed good awareness to race out and do enough to put pressure on Thomson to force the Blantyre midfielder into slicing his shot wide of the target from 20 yards out.

Blantyre defender Kevin Green entered the referee's notebook in the 72nd minute for a foul followed by some dissent, and now both of The Vics' hard-pressed central defenders had yellow cards against their names.

Hutchison was continuing to have one of his quietest evenings as a goalkeeper, but he showed his concentration with a terrific save to deny Smith in the 73rd minute, unaware that the a foul had already been given for handball in the build-up.

Any hopes The Vics had of a comeback went up in smoke in the 76th minute as Kevin Green received a second yellow card and the red that followed, after catching Batchelor with his follow-through to a firm tackle. The evening was now an even more comfortable one for The Glens. A delightfully planned set piece move between Alan Muir and Fraser ended with the latter firing across the face of goal, just out of the reach of McNab once again.

The lead was increased to 4-0 in the 80th minute with a quite clinical finish. The threat started with Fraser once again as he got in behind the defence and squared across goal. The ball was cleared to the edge of the penalty area, where Alan Muir fired the ball first time like an arrow into the bottom corner of the net from 22 yards. 

Alan Muir Alan Muir

Some delightful play involving Muir, McGuire and Fraser ended with the ball flashing across goal again in the 84th minute, but the icing was put on the cake as Glencairn made it a handful of goals in the 87th minute. A cross from the left picked out McNab whose shot on the stretch was blocked by Macklin, but the rebound fell perfectly for Ryan Docherty who calmly placed the ball into the net to make it 5-0.

Glencairn manager Willie Harvey was naturally delighted with the performance and result, and he commented, "That's as good as we've played all season, every player was on their game tonight which was good to see. It's an important three points for us, and results elsewhere have gone well for us as well, so we've gained ground on the teams immediately above and below us. It's been a good night for us."

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Brown, Eadie (Dempsey), Neil, Dunnachie, Dean Muir (Alan Muir), McNab, Batchelor (McGuire), Duffy, Docherty, Fraser. (Subs not used - Ndlovu, Cullen, Thomson (gk).)

Blantyre Victoria :- Macklin, Mackay, Foggin, Kevin Green, Hewitt, Thomson, McLean, David Green, Davidson (Smith), Craig, Tiffney. (Subs not used - Gallacher, Sinclair.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Ronnie Harvey) Tony Fraser.

Tony Fraser Tony Fraser

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