Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn 1 Rutherglen Glencairn u21s 2

Wednesday 24th September 2014 - Friendly match

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Denis McLaughlin Stephen Low

Denis McLaughlin made his playing comeback after 18 months out through injury, and Stephen Low made his first appearance for Glencairn after a pre-season injury.

The Glens went down to a surprising defeat to their under 21 side in this friendly match at New Southcroft Park.

The match was primarily arranged with a view to getting some pitch time to players who have been on the fringes of the team, and manager Willie Harvey changed the entire starting line-up from the weekend's win over Greenock Juniors, including a trialist goalkeeper. It was particularly pleasing to see influential striker Denis McLaughlin making his playing comeback after a nightmare 18 months out with a bad knee injury. Central defender Stephen Low also made his first appearance in Glencairn colours after breaking his wrist on holiday after signing in the summer.

There was no doubting the young Glens' enthusiasm for the game, and they wasted no time in taking the lead when Dale Wallace intercepted a poor pass back and rounded the trialist goalkeeper before slotting the ball into the empty net to open the scoring.

Gavin Ross went close for the juniors with a curled shot in the 6th minute which was inches wide of the target, and Jamie MacLeod went close with a shot from 18 yards two minutes later.

The lead was doubled in the 16th minute when a cross from the left was head flicked on by Ewan McLean, and the ball flew over the goalkeeper and into the net off the underside of the crossbar, leaving the junior players scratching their heads.

The junior side tried their best to get back into the game but were being met by some strong and determined defending by the u21s. McLaughlin saw a looping header drop just wide, and then McLaughlin turned provider for Thomas Kilmartin who headed across the face of goal and wide of the far post.

Under 21s goalkeeper Laith Al-Naeme was unsurprisingly busy as he saved further efforts from MacLeod and Ross before a delightful pass by McLaughlin released Keiran Donaghy through on goal, but he could only fire into the side netting.

The juniors finally found the way to goal in the 42nd minute, and once again it was McLaughlin who was the architect as he set up Keiran Donaghy to fire past Al Naeme from 18 yards.

Keiran Donaghy Keiran Donaghy

Half time : 1-2

The junior side continued to huff and puff against their young opponents at the start of the second half, with McLaughlin at the heart of most of the threatening moves, and the striker almost brought his side level in the 53rd minute as he linked with Donaghy before firing in a shot which was blocked away for a corner by the u21s' substitute goalkeeper Chris Truesdale.

The under 21s weren't without their moments of threat, though, and the junior side's experienced back line had to be on their toes to thwart a few half chances to extend the lead.

The chances kept coming for the juniors, though, as Willie Harvey gradually introduced all of his nine outfield substitutes as the second half went on, but they still could not find a way past the stuffy u21 rearguard. Ross fired over the bar from 20 yards, Low headed over, and Jamie Gilmartin headed against the crossbar from close range before sending another header off target.

Truesdale continued to impress, firstly with a save down low to deny what seemed a certain goal for Ross, and then an unbelievable point blank save to deny Mark Bishop from six yards out with five minutes remaining.

That was the last clear cut chance to equalise, and the young Glens held out to make club president and under 21 manager Alex McArthur "absolutely delighted" at full time.

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Trialist, Galloway, Ballantyne, Low, Russell, Hollis, MacLeod, Donaghy, Ross, Kilmartin, McLaughlin. (Subs - Esplin, McGuire, Dalzell, Irvine, Gilmartin, Dunnachie, Bishop, McClung, Thomson, Hutchison (gk).)

Rutherglen Glencairn u21s :- Al-Naeme, McHendry, Strapp, Dempsey, Brown, Robertson, McGuiness, McLean, Martin, Holubowicz, Wallace. (Subs - Truesdale (gk), Salah, Chrystal, McGinley, Dallas, Mallon, Quail, Young, Hamilton.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Peter Ferguson) Denis McLaughlin.

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