Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Cumbernauld United 2 Rutherglen Glencairn 1

Saturday 12th September 2015 - West Region Super League Division One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Cumbernauld United 2

Mark Tait heads in Glencairn's goal midway through the second half.

Glencairn are still searching for their first win of the league campaign as they were defeated by Cumbernauld United at Guy's Meadow. The home side had lost their two opening league games heavily while The Glens had drawn both of theirs, but it was United who deservedly took all three points at the end of a disjointed display by Glencairn.

United manager John Queen made four changes to their starting team, with first choice goalkeeper Barry Fraser returning from holiday, and defenders Alan Clark and Kieran Brown also coming  in to shore up the defence which had lost ten goals in their two league matches. Glencairn were dealt a pre-match blow with influential midfielder Alan Muir declared unfit, while another centrsl midfieder Mark Batchelor served out the final game of his suspension. Sean McGuire came into the centre of the park in place of Muir, while Graeme Brown returned at right back in place of Adam Shaw in the only other change to the starting XI.

Cumbernauld showed their enthusiasm for the match as early as the 2nd minute when Dylan McGuigan brought a save out of Glencairn no.1 JC Hutchison, and in the 5th minute Scott Cummings was given a free header which he nodded straight at Hutchison.

The home side were very much on the front foot in the early stages, but Glencairn did have a couple of chances when Paul Doyle headed over from Adam Nisanci's cross, and then Dean Muir's pass was just too strong for striker Mark Tait, goalkeeper Fraser racing out to smother.

Having conceded a late equalising goal from an unfairly awarded free kick in last week's match against Yoker Athletic, the Glencairn support rolled their eyes when the referee awarded a free kick to Cumbernauld in roughly the same position of the field in the 20th minute. Once again it was a poor decision by the whistler, as Doyle won the ball cleanly with an excellent tackle, only to be penalised. The outcome of the set piece seemed inevitable as Kieran Brown drilled a shot past the wall and into the corner of the net to put Cumbernauld 1-0 ahead.

It was hard to deny that Cumbernauld deserved their lead on the balance of play, however, and another free kick three minutes later saw Simon Eeles curl his effort well over the crossbar. An excellent challenge by Graeme Brown denied McGuigan after excellent build-up play by the impressive Steven Mullen. Mullen's strength and good feet were causing headaches for the Glencairn back line, and he linked well with Ross Foley in the 31st minute before pulling his shot well wide of the target.

The referee seemed to want to try to control the match by flashing unnecessary yellow cards, with Tony Fraser booked for a 50/50 challenge on the goalkeeper, followed by Denis McLaughlin for dissent at a poorly awarded free kick. Eeles of Cumbernauld joined them in the notebook for a tug back on Boal as he broke forward for Glencairn.

Glencairn's first attempt on target came in the 37th minute as McLaughlin drilled in a low shot from 25 yards, but Barry Fraser dived low to his right to smother at his right hand post. Play swung back to the other end, and Clark should have done better when he fired a right foot shot over the bar from 20 yards.

The card-happy referee once again flashed two yellows as Mullen irritatingly dribbled away with the ball for a few yards too many well after the whistle for a foul, and Andy Neil pulled him back to try to get on with play quickly. It seemed harsh to book either player in this instance, never mind both, but it was to prove to be a significant moment as the match developed.

Half time : 1-0

Cumbernauld United 1 Denis McLaughlin in first half action.

There were no personnel changes at the interval, but there seemed to be more purpose about Glencairn at the start of the second half. Tony Fraser released Tait on the left, and his cut back picked out McLaughlin who took a touch before seeing his shot saved by Barry Fraser.

Steph McDonald of United was next into the referee's book for a dangerous sliding challenge on Boal, and you sensed that a second yellow card for somebody could be possible. Cumbernauld brought on Dom O'Halloran to replace the injured Mullen.

McDonald should have doubled Cumbernauld's lead when he met Foley's corner with a header, but Boal chested the ball off the goal line and completed the clearance. Glencairn broke to the other end and Nisanci pulled a shot on the stretch across goal and well wide of the far post.

United looked to have given themselves a comfortable lead in the 59th minute when they went 2-0 ahead. An incisive pass released Dylan McGuigan through the right side of the Glencairn defence, and he produced a lovely finish to lob the ball over Hutchison into the far corner.

It seemed to most observers that there was no way back into the match at this point for a flat Glencairn side, and it would have been "game over" if McDonald's audacious overhead kick had hit the target a couple of minutes later instead of flashing half a yard over the crossbar.

There was a hint of life in Glencairn, however, when McLaughlin and Tait linked well and Tait fired a shot on target which Barry Fraser palmed round the post for a corner at full stretch. The comeback attempt was confirmed in the 64th minute as Glencairn pulled a goal back. A corner from the right was met by the head of Mark Tait (pictured at top), and he nodded the ball down and into the net off the chest of the United player standing on the goalpost.

Mark Tait Mark Tait

Both sides made changes, with Chris Zok coming on up front to replace McLaughlin for Glencairn, and Dale Clark replaced McDonald for United. Shortly afterwards The Glens made another change, with Adam Shaw replacing Nisanci on the right of midfield.

Glencairn pressed for an equaliser, with Boal and Fraser linking to almost set up Zok, and then an excellent defensive block denying Tait a chance for a second goal. The referee once again angered the black and white support by waving away appeals for a penalty kick when Boal's cross seemed to hit the outstretched arm of a defender just inside the penalty area.

The whistler must have been suffering from writer's cramp by the time he added Dean Muir's name to his caution list for a trip in the centre circle. Muir was withdrawn from the midfield in the 76th minute as Glencairn changed to 4-3-3, Paddy Cullen joining Tait and Zok up front.

Dale Clark could have killed the game for United in the 77th minute as he raced through on goal and dribbled round Hutchison, but his angle for a shot was acute and Neil got back to stop the shot just in front of goal.

The outcome of the match pretty much hinged on a 10-second spell in the 81st minute. Boal's cross from the left (pictured below) found its way through to Cullen, who cleverly chipped the ball over the defence and goalkeeper only to see the ball agonisingly rebound from the post. United instantly broke away at pace, and Neil was forced into a clear foul on Clark on the halfway line. It was a clear yellow card offence, Neil's second of the game after the harsh one earlier in the match, and he made the unwanted walk to the early shower.

Cumbernauld United 3

Jonny Boal's cross finds its way through to Paddy Cullen whose effort hit the post.

Glencairn's chances pretty much evaporated at that moment, although Willie Harvey retained a positive formation of 3-3-3 as they kept the hope of a late but unlikely equaliser. Clark was next to be shown yellow as he blatantly wasted time by kicking the ball away at a Glencairn free kick, and he was joined by O'Halloran for the exact same offence only a few minutes later, the third Cumbernauld player to be shown yellow for the same reason.

But there was to be no dramatic late equaliser for The Glens, and the referee blew for full time after three and a half minutes of stoppage time.

Willie Harvey didn't want to use any excuses after the match, and he commented, "I've told the players in there not to look at anybody other than themselves for the reason for the result. Yes, some poor decisions went against us, but that was not why we lost this game, and there's no point in pretending otherwise. We didn't create enough today, but we will address that."

Cumbernauld United :- Fraser, Sullivan, Alan Clark, Brown, Cummings, Foley, Eeles, Dickson, McDonald (Dale Clark), McGuigan, Mullen (O'Halloran). (Subs not used - McCormack, McNee, McKechnie.)

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Brown, Boal, Doyle, Neil, Dean Muir (Cullen), Nisanci (Shaw), McGuire, McLaughlin (Zok), Tait, Fraser. (Subs not used - McCarry, Eadie.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Alan Muir) Mark Tait.

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