Saturday 25th October 2014 - Scottish Junior Cup Round Two
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Steven McClung is denied by Culter goalkeeper Craig Reid. (Picture used by kind permission of the Culter FC website, picture by Dave Thomson.)
The Glens travelled up to Aberdeen to take on North Region Super League champions Culter, and came away with a draw and a replay after an eventful match which saw two goals, two red cards and a missed penalty.
Glencairn were far from at full strength for the journey north, with several influential players unavailable due to a mixture of injury and work commitments. Regular goalkeepr JC Hutchison was unable to travel due to work, as well as midfielders Kris Irvine and Paul Thomson, while central defender Marc Russell missed his second game in a row due to injury. In addition, top goal scorer Jamie Gilmartin and regular captain Ross Ballantyne weren't fit enough to start, however they were both able to take a place on the substitutes' bench. Under 21 goalkeeper Laith Al Naeme was called up to take the place between the sticks.
Culter started the game on the front foot, and striker Mickey Taylor went close with a header (pictured below) before Nicky Gordon's cross was headed wide on the dive by Lewis McKimmie.
Culter striker Mickey Taylor goes close with a first half header. (Picture used by kind permission of the Culter FC website, picture by Dave Thomson.)
Thomas Kilmartin had a chance for Glencairn in the 32nd minute, but Culter no.1 Craig Reid raced from his line to deny the striker.
As the half time whistle approached, the home side upped the tempo again. Ian Leith was set up by Gordon before firing over the crossbar, and then the home side took the lead in the 43rd minute. McKimmie had the initial shot which was saved by Al Naeme, but the rebound fell to Ian Leith who fired into the roof of the net.
Half time : 1-0
Things looked bleak for The Glens when, only three minutes into the second half, they were reduced to 10 men. Central defender David Dunnachie had been yellow carded in the first half and, when he reacted to a challenge by McKimmie, he was shown a second yellow and the inevitable red.
Glencairn re-shuffled the pack by withdrawing winger Jamie MacLeod and replacing him with Ross Ballantyne who slipped into left back, with Andy Neil moving into the middle beside Mark Bishop in a 4-3-2 formation, with the energy in midfield of Jordan Dalzell, Sean McGuire and Del Esplin. The change seemed to help The Glens settle into a better passing rhythm.
Al Naeme kept his side in the contest with a good save to deny Gordon, blocking away a strong driven shot, before The Glens were given a great chance to equalise on the hour mark. McGuire was fouled in the penalty area by Kieran Heads, and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Del Esplin stepped up to take the kick, but his shot was saved by Reid and Glencairn's frustration continued.
If anybody thought that was Glencairn's last chance gone, however, they were to think again as the game turned on its head again at the mid point of the second half. The sides were level again when Culter defender Scott McArthur was red carded, and suddenly the momentum was with The Glens as they saw their chance to take advantage.
Jamie Gilmartin and Denis McLaughlin were thrown on up front with Kilmartin and Steven McClung withdrawn, as Glencairn committed to attack. The Glens' persistence paid off with seven minutes left on the clock, as Ross Ballantyne's back post volley flew past Reid and into the far corner of the net.
There were no more goals and the teams will have to do it all again at New Southcroft Park on Saturday, although hopefully Glencairn will have a few players back available. Glens manager Willie Harvey felt the team got what they deserved, and he commented, "We were poor in the first half, but the second half was a big improvement. When we went down to 10 men we were outstanding once we got our passing movement going at pace. If we'd scored the penalty I think we would have gone on to win the game, but we deserved a second bite at the cherry."
Culter :- Reid, McArthur, Sim, Heads, Wilson, Shaun Taylor, Cromar, McKimmie, Gordon, Mickey Taylor, Leith. (Subs - Milne, Smith, Buchan, Thompson, Robertson.)
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Al Naeme, Galloway, Neil, Bishop, Dunnachie, McGuire, Dalzell, Esplin, McClung (Gilmartin), Kilmartin (McLaughlin), MacLeod (Ballantyne). (Subs not used - Donaghy, Ross.)
Man of the match - (chosen by Alan Thomson) Andy Neil.