Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Cumnock Juniors 3 Rutherglen Glencairn 1

Saturday 7th November 2015 - McBookie.com West Region Super League Division 1

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Cumnock Juniors 2

Glencairn put pressure on the Cumnock defence just before half time.

The Glens' stop-start league form continued as they went down to a 3-1 defeat away to Cumnock Juniors. The match was played at Rosebank Park in Lugar, with the hosts' Townhead Park currently having a new 3G pitch laid.

The match itself showed the unpredictable nature of Glencairn at the moment, with a disjointed first half followed by a much-improved second half performance in which The Glens dominated after a change of shape, but the damage had already been done by the hosts in the opening 45 minutes.

With manager Willie Harvey on holiday, assistant manager Joe Pryce was joined in the dugout by former club captain Martin Hughes, and they made four changes to the starting line-up from last week's cup defeat at Neilston. David Dunnachie came in at centre back, with Andy Neil moved to left back and Tony Fraser pushed forward into midfield, with Adam Nisanci dropping out. The two strikers were changed, with Taddeo Sorrentino making his first start in place of Simone Sorrentino, and Paddy Cullen replaced Mark Tait who was feeling unwell prior to the match. The other change saw Dean Muir replace Mark Batchelor in the centre of midfield. Cumnock's starting team had two very familiar faces for Glencairn fans, with midfielder Del Esplin and striker Ross McNeil having both been signed from The Glens during the summer.

Cumnock were on the front foot early on, but Glencairn were defending strongly until the 9th minute when McNeil spun away from his marker and fired a shot which rose over the crossbar. The home side took the lead a minute later, when they broke at pace after a Glencairn attack broke down. The ball was fed to the right to Josh Watt, and his cross behind the retreating defence was laid on a plate for Aiden Malone to convert from close range.

Two minutes later Glencairn no.1 JC Hutchison did well to get down to smother Andy Scott's low shot. Scott's free kick delivery from the left in the 19th minute was met by the head of Steven Crawford, but he was well off target with the effort.

The hosts were sharper and stronger than Glencairn all over the pitch in the opening quarter of the match, but The Glens started to show signs of threat with a spell of pressure starting in the 22nd minute. A few corners and free kicks around the penalty area ended with a header by Dunnachie being cleared from a yard in front of goal.

The referee brought puzzled expressions from everybody in the ground when he over-ruled his assistant's offside flag, despite the assistant's decision clearly being correct. The referee's poor decision meant that Glencairn hadn't cleared the danger, and it sparked a four-minute long spell of pressure on the Glencairn defence, with Hutchison making excellent saves to deny Malone and Scott.

Chances were few and far between for The Glens as the home side continued to control the match, but Fraser's cross from the left picked out the head of Cullen on the half hour mark, the effort on the stretch flying well wide. Five minutes later there were shouts for a penalty for Glencairn when Fraser's cross was blocked by Keiran Wood, but the handball appeals were ignored by the referee.

Cumnock doubled their lead in the 36th minute, and it was a goal that Glencairn's defence will want to forget. There was a hint of controversy in the build-up, however, with the assistant referee apparently now reluctant to put up his flag for offside , perhaps after his earlier humiliation by the referee, with the home side being awarded a free kick instead. When the cross was lifted towards goal, Dunnachie and Sean McGuire both jumped to head clear, but got in each other's way, and the ball fell into the path of Aiden Malone who stuck out his knee to knock the ball past Hutchison from close range.

The whole nature of the game changed just before half time as Glencairn suddenly found some form. Home goalkeeper Darren Johnson produced two brilliant close range saves in first half stoppage time to deny McGuire and Graeme Brown when a goal seemed certain, and Cumnock were pleased to take a two-goal lead into the interval.

Half time : 2-0

Cumnock Juniors 1 Alan Muir in first half action.

Glencairn had to do something to change the flow of the game, and Joe Pryce's decision was to change to a 3-5-2 formation. Dunnachie was withdrawn and replaced by Adam Nisanci on the right of midfield. McGuire was tucked into his more effective position in central midfield, and Brown joined Neil and Paul Doyle in the back three.

The changes seemed to have an immediate effect, with Taddeo Sorrentino turning his marker in the opening minute of the second half and firing in a shot which Johnson palmed around the post for a corner. Three minutes later McGuire worked his way past two challenges and fired in a shot which beat Johnson but rebounded from the base of the far post.  The pressure continued and a corner wasn't effectively cleared by the home defence, giving Alan Muir an opportunity on the volley which dipped just over the crossbar.

Cumnock were still a threat, though, and Malone almost completed his hat-trick with a low shot which flashed narrowly wide of the far post. The flow of play was mostly towards the Cumnock goal now, though, and Nisanci's cross from the right was begging for a striker in the middle, but nobody could get on the end of it.

The first substitution of the match came in the 58th minute as Paul Quinn replaced Scott for the home side. Malone seemed determined to grab a third goal, and he got in front of Neil to head towards goal in the 59th minute, prompting a brilliant diving save to his right by Hutchison.

Glencairn's second half performance was like night and day from the first, but there was no improvement in their luck as McGuire's lob on the hour mark had Johnson beaten but bounced back off the crossbar, with Johnson grabbing the ball before Taddeo Sorrentino could pounce.

Taddeo was replaced by Simone Sorrentino a couple of minutes later as Glencairn tried to unlock the home defence. Dean Muir linked well with McGuire to set up Alan Muir for a shot which flew across the face of goal and wide of the far post.

Tempers began to flare up at the mid point of the second half, and there were no "old pals acts" as McNeil of Cumnock was booked for a late challenge on Neil, and the Glens defender joined him in the referee's notepad a few minutes later for a challenge from behind on Esplin.

As Glencairn continued to push on to try to get back into the match, they left themselves a little exposed defensively, and Cumnock took full advantage of that to effectively secure the points in the 70th minute. A long ball out of defence bounced off the back of retreating defender Doyle, and Quinn picked up possession for Cumnock. He waited for the supporting run of strike partner Ross McNeil, before rolling the ball into the striker's path, and the Glencairn support knew what was coming, a precise finish across Hutchison into the far corner of the net to make it 3-0 and "game over".

Mark Tait replaced Cullen up front for the final 17 minutes, and a lovely passing move from the defence to attack by Glencairn ended with a snapshot by Simone Sorrentino which Johnson saved down low. Cumnock's second change in the 85th minute ended any prospect of a hat-trick for Malone as he was replaced by Zak Ross.

Tait should have pulled a goal back for The Glens in the 87th minute when he sprung the offside trap from a lovely clipped pass by Neil, but the striker scuffed his shot with only Johnson to beat and the goalkeeper saved easily. Tait turned creator in the 90th minute, however, as Glencairn got some consolation and a deserved goal for their second half efforts, Adam Nisanci firing into the net from six yards after Tait had set him up.

Adam Nisanci Adam Nisanci

There was no time for a Glencairn fightback, however, as the referee decided to play no added time whatsoever, despite there having been four substitutions during the second half, but the torrential rain prompted the decision for the surprisingly early full time whistle.

Cumnock Juniors :- Johnson, Wood, Lowe, Lindsay, Crawford, Montgomerie, Scott (Quinn), Esplin, McNeil, Malone (Ross), Watt. (Subs not used - Burns, Ronald, McMurdo (gk).)

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Brown, Neil, Doyle, Dunnachie (Nisanci), Dean Muir, McGuire, Alan Muir, Cullen (Tait), Taddeo Sorrentino (Simone Sorrentino), Fraser. (Subs not used - Batchelor, Kerr (gk).)

Man of the match - (chosen by Eddie Smith) Sean McGuire.

Sean McGuire Sean McGuire

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