Monday 27th April 2015 - Stagecaoch West Region Super League Division One
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Jordan Dalzell throws humself into a challenge in the first half.
The Glens will have to be content with another season in Super League Division One after a second successive defeat ended their promotion hopes. It was a much improved performance from Glencairn after the heavy defeat in the previous match, but in the end Cumbernauld United just had that bit extra on the night, and a goal in each half earned the home side the points.
There were only two changes to the starting line-up for Glencairn with the squad stretched to the limit by the unnecessarily early end of season schedule. David Dunnachie returned at centre back in place of Marc Russell, and Thomas Kilmartin came in up front after his two second half goals on Saturday, with Ross McNeil dropping to the substitutes' bench. United's team included the captain and vice captain of Glencairn's back-to-back league winning teams of 2009 and 2010, Davie Dickson and Tony Fraser, with Fraser now wearing the armband at Cumbernauld.
After a cagey start in heavy rain, Glencairn were first to go close in the 7th minute when Jordan Dalzell's corner was coming right onto the head of Dunnachie at the back post, but Danny Boyle stretched to head flick the ball clear at the last second.
A series of free kicks for Cumbernauld from the same area of the park saw some excellent deliveries by Scott Murphy, the closest one seeing JC Hutchison parrying the ball away and Scott McHaffie heading the rebound off target.
The weather worsened as the 20th minute arrived as the rain turned to heavy hailstones, and the water started to lie in areas of the pitch. There were some concerns about the match continuing. Glencairn had a big chance to open the scoring when Denis McLaughlin's cross picked out Thomas Kilmartin free in the middle, but "Deco" mis-timed his volley and it flew over the bar.
The referee persevered and the weather started to improve as the 25th minute arrived, and both teams to their credit were trying to play football on the floor despite the very soggy surface. Home goalkeeper Barry Fraser's poor kick out landed at the feet of McLaughlin, and he in turn set up Kilmartin for a lobbed effort which dropped over the crossbar.
Cumbernauld took the lead in the 32nd minute with a well worked goal. Scott Murphy fed the ball into the edge of the penalty area and then took a return pass, before holding off a couple of challenges and firing into the roof of the net from 10 yards.
Hutchison came to the rescue for Glencairn in the 38th minute when he parried away Gary Carroll's close range header, while at the other end a couple of minutes later Kilmartin turned provider for McLaughlin who fired across the face of goal and wide. An equaliser seemed certain for McLaughlin in the 42nd minute, but he was denied by a brilliant sliding block by James Brown right in front of goal.
Another effort by McLaughlin just before the half time whistle saw the ball dip just too late as it dropped a yard over the crossbar. United took their lead into the interval but Glencairn were very much still in the game.
Half time : 1-0
The Glens were first to go close in the second half as Dalzell's cross almost set up Kilmartin, but the ball just had too much pace for the striker to make an effective connection. A poor clearance by Tony Fraser in the 52nd minute set up another chance for McLaughlin to shoot, but his shot was blocked away for a corner by a determined home defence.
For all of Glencairn's efforts, Cumbernauld were much more ruthless in attacking areas, and they doubled their lead in the 57th minute. A long ball caused indecision in the Glencairn rearguard, with nobody attacking the ball, and it rolled kindly into the path of Scott McHaffie, who fired into the net from close range to make it 2-0.
Carroll should have made it three when Dunnachie misjudged a cross from the right, but the error by the defender caught the striker by surprise and the ball rebounded into the grateful arms of Hutchison. The home side were well on top now and Murphy tried his luck from a free kick, driving the ball in low, but Hutchison reacted well to save at his near post.
The height of Boyle at set pieces was a real threat for United, and he should have scored in the 69th minute with a free header in front of goal, but he chose to try to set up one of his team mates instead and the chance was spurned.
The first substitution came in the 70th minute as Glencairn went with three strikers, Ross McNeil replacing Sean McGuire. McNeil almost made an immediate impact as he was fed by Del Esplin and turned to shoot, but Boyle made another excellent block.
Boyle should have scored again when he got his head to another set piece cross, but this time his effort was off target as Dunnachie applied pressure to put him off. Kieran Donaghy replaced McLaughlin as Glencairn tried a different option to open up the well organised home defence.
Hutchison made a good parry to Carroll's shot in the 80th minute, and a minute later Dylan McGuigan brought another save out of the Glencairn no.1. The Glens went very close in the 83rd minute as a clever move involving Kilmartin and Donaghy ended with Esplin surging forward and firing in a shot on the stretch, but the ball was deflected inches wide of the goal for a corner.
Cumbernauld used all of their substitutes as the match moved into the closing stages, but the match drifted quietly to a close without much in the way of further goalmouth action. United's players were clearly delighted at full time with another positive result which keeps them very much in the race for promotion, while Glencairn now look to secure their record of never having finished outside the top half of the league table in this highly competitive league.
Cumbernauld United :- Barry Fraser, Sullivan, Brown, Tony Fraser, Boyle, Foley, McHaffie (Malcolm), Murphy (Gibson), Carroll, Dickson, McGuigan (Zok). (Subs not used - Steele, McGuire (gk).)
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Ballantyne, Boal, Neil, Dunnachie, Muir, Dalzell, Esplin, McLaughlin (Donaghy), Kilmartin, McGuire (McNeil). (Subs not used - Eadie, Galloway, Pryce.)
Man of the match - (chosen by Alex Forbes) Del Esplin.