Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn 2 Cumbernauld United 4

Saturday 22nd November 2014 - Stagecoach West Region Super League Division One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Cumbernauld United 2

Sean McGuire is congratulated after opening the scoring.

Glencairn's "Jekyll and Hyde" season continued as, for the third time in four games, they lost a game that they had scored first in. A match which produced six goals, two red cards, three penalty kicks, refereeing controversy and horrendous weather certainly kept the fans on their toes, wondering what was going to happen next.

There was only one change to the starting line-up from last week's win over Ardeer Thistle, with Sean McGuire replacing the injured Ross Ballantyne. Willie Galloway filled in at left back, with Jordan Dalzell moved back into the right back berth. The visitors' line-up contained two former Glens league-winning legends in Tony Fraser and Davie Dickson, and also striker Chris Zok, who has often been a thorn in Glencairn's side in the past.

The Glencairn groundsman, with the help of a few committee men, had worked extremely hard to get the pitch playable after the heavy rain of the night before, but it was a very soft pitch at New Southcroft Park which greeted the players for kick off. The match was untidy in the early stages, and United midfielder Scott Murphy earned himself an early yellow card for a dangerous challenged on Kris Irvine.

Very little had happened in the opening stages as both teams tried to adjust to the conditions, but Cumbernauld went close in the 14th minute when Gavin Mackie's cross was turned just wide by Zok from close range. A minute later Zok headed over from 8 yards after being left free to meet Ryan Sullivan's deep cross.

Glencairn took the lead a little against the run of play in the 19th minute. A good passing move saw the ball fed in to the feet of Thomas Kilmartin, who cleverly linked with an overlapping run by Dalzell on the right. Dalzell's cross seemed perfect for Ross McNeil in the middle until United goalkeeper Barry Fraser came out to block the ball out, but he was powerless to stop Sean McGuire rolling the loose ball into the net on the rebound.

Cumbernauld United 1

Thomas Kilmartin races to congratulate Sean McGuire for the opening goal.

Cumbernauld tried to respond immediately, Gary Carroll firing a diagonal shot over the bar from 12 yards out. The referee courted controversy in the 23rd minute when the visitors were reduced to 10 men. Play was stopped for an injury to a United player, but the ball hadn't gone out of play so an old-fashioned "bounce up" was the call from the whistler. The resumption of play saw Del Esplin win possession and brought down by Scott Murphy, earning the midfielder a second yellow card, and the inevitable red followed.

The Glens looked to build on this double advantage, and Keiran Donaghy linked well with Kilmartin on the edge of the penalty area before taking a touch too many and seeing his shot smothered wide of the target.

United were gifted a passage back into the game in the 31st minute as the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Galloway appeared to head clear but lean into Sullivan at the same time. After the protests it was down to the man who always scores against Glencairn, and Chris Zok stepped up to fire past JC Hutchison to make it 1-1.

A minute later the referee wasn't interested in a penalty at the other when Kilmartin turned his marker and appeared to be pulled down, play being waved on by the man in charge. The 34th minute saw Donaghy skip to the bye line and fire across goal, with Tony Fraser blocking away Irvine's shot at the back post.

A minute later it was time for the referee to take centre stage again. A ball over the top of the Glencairn defence saw Zok in a race with Hutchison, with a suspicion of offside. The big goalkeeper slipped as the ball skipped off the surface and he collided with Zok in the process. It was a clear cut penalty kick, but it was debatable if the red card for the Glencairn goalkeeper that the referee produced was merited, given the accidental nature of the foul, and that the ball had bounced well away from goal so it didn't appear to be a "clear goalscoring opportunity".

JC Hutchison JC Hutchison

There was a long delay as Glencairn prepared substitute goalkeeper Laith Al Naeme to enter the fray to face the penalty kick, with Irvine the man withdrawn. The wait didn't put Chris Zok off, though, as he confidently fired past Al Naeme to put Cumbernauld 2-1 in front, and the whole game had now turned on its head from the opening half hour which had gone so well for Glens.

The momentum was now with Cumbernauld and, despite McGuire going close in the 41st minute with a shot across goal which flew narrowly wide, the visitors were about to take a strong grip on the game before half time. A minute later a ball through the Glencairn defence saw Gary Carroll turn inside his marker and curl a neat finish past Al Naeme to make it 3-1.

George Scott tried his luck from distance in the 45th minute as United tried to turn the screw, his effort dipping just over the crossbar.

Half time : 1-3

Cumbernauld United 3

Keiran Donaghy on the attack for The Glens in the first half.

The Glens made a change of shape at half time, with inside forward Jamie MacLeod replacing left back Willie Galloway, as the team changed to a 3-4-1-2 formation to try to rescue the match. United countered this by stretching the Glencairn back three with balls into the full back channels, and Mackie's cross in the 50th minute should have been scored by Carroll at the back post, but he fired a weak shot wide.

Cumbernauld remained on the front foot and Dickson pulled a shot wide from 20 yards in the 55th minute, while a minute later at the other end Donaghy did well to skip away from his marker and race to the penalty area before a poor cross saw the stretched United defence clear easily.

Del Esplin was shown a yellow card in the 58th minute as he "took one for the team", stopping a very threatening Cumbernauld break by bringing down Scott from behind. Tony Fraser drilled the free kick low and it took a deflection, but Al Naeme saved on his goal line.

United gave themselves a comfortable 4-1 lead on the hour mark, and once again it was that man Chris Zok who completed his hat trick, drilling under Al Naeme after springing the offside trap and racing through to produce a clinical finish.

Glencairn tried to their hardest to get back into the contest, but United were comfortable on their lead with half an hour to play. McNeil headed over from MacLeod's cross in the 66th minute and Donaghy worked himself into a good position two minutes later before firing straight at United 'keeper Barry Fraser.

The referee came back to the fore in the 69th minute and, having given the visitors two penalty kicks and denied Glencairn a strong first half shout, he enfuriated the home support again by booking McGuire for diving after a mazy dribble ended with what looked like a clear foul as he moved into the penalty area.

The Glens made their final change with 20 minutes remaining, Denis McLaughlin replacing Kilmartin up front, while United still had three substitutions to make. The first of those changes came two minutes later, with Ross Foley replacing Mackie.

The rain was now hammering down, and almost the whole crowd were huddled under the covered enclosure as The Glens were given some hope with 15 minutes remaining. A slipped pass through the defence saw McNeil get to the ball just in front of goalkeeper Fraser, and down went the striker under the challenge. This time the referee did whistle for a spot kick, but it was probably the least convincing of the three Glencairn penalty claims. Ross McNeil unsurprisingly took the responsibility, and drilled his shot confidently into the net for his 5th goal in two games, making him joint top goal scorer at the club after only three starting appearances.

Ross McNeil Ross McNeil

Could Glencairn use this momentum to spark an unlikely comeback ? They certainly tried, to be fair, as Cumbernauld seemed unable to get back into the rhythm that they had earlier in the game. Dylan McGuigan replaced the injured Carroll in the 79th minute, before Barry Fraser came to the rescue for Cumbernauld in the 83rd minute, denying McNeil after a brilliant release pass by Esplin. McNeil tried his luck from distance with five minutes left on the clock, fizzing a shot from 25 yards which rose just over the crossbar.

United centre back Danny Boyle turned into Franz Beckenbaur with four minutes remaining, surging upfield in a clever passing move and almost finding himself clean through on goal, before Glencairn got defenders back to snuff out the move. Unfortunately for Boyle, the effort of getting back to his defensive position saw him fall to his knees in exhaustion, and he was replaced shortly afterwards by James Brown.

MacLeod's corner from the right in the 88th minute was met by a flashing header by McNeil which flew narrowly wide, before another McNeil effort a minute later was deflected fortunately into the arms of Barry Fraser on his goal line.

Glencairn continued to press, and Donaghy's cross in the 92nd minute just had too much pace for McNeil or McLaughlin to meet in the middle. A minute later Tony Fraser, who scored the first ever goal at New Southcroft Park, tried to curl in a goal from distance for United, but was narrowly off target with his effort.

The final effort in the 94th minute saw McLaughlin release Esplin on the right, but his flashing cross was once again just too far in front of McNeil, and Glencairn's last chance had gone.

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Dalzell, Galloway (MacLeod), Bishop, Neil, McGuire, Irvine (Al Naeme), Esplin, McNeil, Kilmartin (McLaughlin), Donaghy. (Subs not used - Dunnachie, Hollis.)

Cumbernauld United :- Barry Fraser, Sullivan, Tony Fraser, Haxton, Boyle (Brown), Mackie (Foley), Dickson, Murphy, Zok, Scott, Carroll (McGuigan). (Subs not used - McHaffie, Wilson (gk).)

Man of the match - (chosen by Colin McNab) Sean McGuire.

Sean McGuire Sean McGuire

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