Wednesday 13th August 2014 - Euroscot Eng. Central Sectional League Cup Group 4
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Keiran Donaghy in first half action.
It was a case of "same again" for Glencairn as their second match of the Central Sectional League Cup group was played out in a similar pattern to the first match, The Glens taking a first half lead but being unable to hold on for the victory and having to settle for a point.
Glencairn were missing no fewer than 12 signed players for this match, meaning that once again manager Willie Harvey had to call on members of the under 21 side to help out, with left back Steven Brown making his competitive first team debut and midfielder Ryan Bennett making another start. There were also three other under 21 players on the substitutes bench.
Thistle were missing players as well, but they are a side unrecognisable from the one who finished bottom of the bottom league last season. East Kilbride manager Alan Wardlaw has added cleverly to his playing squad, none more so than the experience of former Glencairn player Brian Welsh, who slipped in at sweeper for the visitors. Thistle also had the experience and pace of Alan McFadden up front alongside Craig Miles.
Miles was first to threaten as he latched onto a long ball over the top of the Glencairn defence, but he didn't have the pace to get away fully and he was snuffed out by a combination of home defenders Dean Muir and David Dunachie.
Glencairn no.1 took a blow to the head from an accidental collision with McFadden, and he took a few minutes to fully shake off the effects. The Glens took some time to get going in the game but, as the mid point of the first half approached, they started to pin Thistle back in their own half for a spell, without opening up the defence or seriously threatening goalkeeper Chris Treacy.
Thistle missed a golden chance to take the lead in the 23rd minute. Steven Chatterton got free on the right and cut the ball across into the path of Miles who took a touch and then fired over the bar from 12 yards, when he really should have scored. Five minutes later Thistle threatened again as Miles out-muscled Brown and crossed to set up McFadden, but Hutchison reacted well to make an excellent save.
The Glens still hadn't had an effort on target by the half hour mark, but Thomas Kilmartin's angled free kick from 25 yards flew about a yard wide of the far post. The opening goal arrived in the 39th minute, and it was Glencairn who took the lead with their first effort on target of the match. Bennett showed great persistence on the right to win possession and swing in a cross which was met in the middle by Steven McClung. The striker saw his effort blocked, but the ball fell kindly into the path of Keiran Donaghy who made no mistake on the rebound from six yards.
This seemed to kick start Glencairn, and Donaghy showed good skill on the left in the 42nd minute before crossing to the back post where McClung couldn't quite convert with a header, the referee blowing for a foul against the striker for his challenge in the air. A minute later a sclaffed kick by Treacy fell at the feet of McClung, who tried to lob the ball back over the stranded goalie's head, but he couldn't hit the target and Treacy was let off the hook.
Half time : 1-0
There was only one personnel change at half time, but it was the return of a familiar face for Glencairn fans, as former Super League Division One winning midfielder Paul Thomson came on to replace Brown. Thomson slotted into central midfield, with Ross Ballantyne moved to left back and Bennett moved out to the right wing.
Glencairn went close to doubling their lead in the 49th minute as Donaghy's teasing free kick from the left almost picked out the head of Del Esplin, but the midfielder didn't make a full connection with the ball and a defender headed away for a corner.
A series of long throw-ins by Thistle defender Paul Bain caused concern for the home defence in the 50th minute, as three throws in a short space of time were launched right into the centre of the goal, the third effort resulting in a header by Fraser Craig which Hutchison held well.
Donaghy was the man making things happen for Glencairn, and he tried to double his tally in the 50th minute when he cut infield and tried to curl for the top corner, a goal he has scored several times before, but this time he sliced his shot high and wide. Three minutes later McClung and Kilmartin combined to set up Esplin for a shot which took a slight deflection on its way through to Treacy who held comfortably on his goal line.
Thistle brought the scoreline level in the 54th minute as Miles beat the offside trap on the left and crossed low. McFadden got a touch on the ball at the near post which knocked it away from Hutchison, and Barry Devine had the easiest finish ever as he knocked the ball into the empty net from less than a yard out.
The Glens almost regained the lead straight away as once again Donaghy caused trouble in the Thistle back line, swinging over a cross which McClung couldn't quite reach in the middle. The game was there to be won by both sides now, and Colin Irvine went close with a curled effort just after the hour mark after more good set-up play by McFadden.
Brian Welsh used all of his experience in the 64th minute as he raced back onto his goal line to deny Kilmartin who had rounded Treacy and hit the target from a tight angle, Welsh sliding to clear what seemed a certain goal for a corner instead.
Glencairn made a straight change in the 65th minute, with under 21 Craig Young making his 1st team debut, with Bennett the man making way. Five minutes later The Glens made their final change, with under 21 striker Chris Mallon replacing Kilmartin. Thistle made their first change at this time as well, Seamus McGeady replacing Welsh who clearly had nothing left in the tank after his goal line clearance. The changes kept coming as the action somewhat stalled, Mark Brown replacing Irvine.
Donaghy had another great chance to score after he linked on the edge of the box with McClung in the 76th minute, but Treacy made an excellent save to deny the winger this time. Thistle made their final change with 13 minutes remaining, Div Quinn replacing Paul Bain who had cramp.
Quinn almost won the game for Thistle in the 82nd minute with a drilled angled shot which was heading for the net, but Hutchison made an excellent save at full stretch to tip the ball away for a corner.
The closing stages saw little in the way of goal threat from either side, and once again Glencairn had to settle for a point, leaving them with a bit of work to do in terms of their attempts to qualify from the section.
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Green, Brown (Thomson), Muir, Dunnachie, Bennett (Young), Ballantyne, Esplin, McClung, Kilmartin (Mallon), Donaghy. (Subs not used - McCorry, McGall (gk).)
East Kilbride Thistle :- Treacy, Bain (Quinn), Boyle, Welsh (McGeady), Craig, Devine, Chatterton, Hannah, McFadden, Miles, Irvine (Brown). (Subs not used - Fallon, Wardlaw (gk).)
Man of the match - (chosen by Denis McLaughlin) Keiran Donaghy.