Wednesday 27th April 2016 - McBookie.com West Region Super League Division One
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
David Dunnachie bursts forward from right back in the first half.
Glencairn's recent good form came to a shuddering halt as they produced a horror show away to Greenock Juniors at the home side's temporary home of McKenna Park in Govan.
Willie Harvey made two changes to the starting XI from the win over Bellshill two days previously. Tony Fraser returned from injury to replace Danny Salah who dropped to the bench, and Dean Muir returned after long-term injury in a sweeper role, with David Dunnachie moving to right back in place of Graeme Brown who was unavailable on family business.
The opening quarter of the match was notable only by its uneventfulness, with neither side creating anything in the way of goalmouth opportunities. The home side were edging the match in terms of possession and territory, but they hadn't seriously threatened JC Hutchison in the Glencairn goal.
The Glens' first real threat came in the 21st minute as Del McNab broke free on the right and crossed dangerously. Greenock didn't clear effectively and the ball broke to Fraser whose shot was blocked. A minute later Greenock had their first proper attempts on goal, Simon McBryde's shot being smothered down low by Hutchison, before a brilliant late block by Ryan Docherty denied Kenny Munro after he had been gifted a chance to run through on goal.
Mark Batchelor had the ball in the net for Glencairn in the 24th minute after he nodded past home no.1 Ryan McWilliams, but he was correctly flagged for offside. At the other end a few minutes later Sean McGuire had to react sharply to block a shot from 20 yards by Craig Brown.
There was a lack of composure and accuracy about Glencairn's passing on the fiery playing surface, but the home side seemed to be coping better with it as the match moved towards the interval. Hutchison had to claw Paul Harkins' corner out from underneat the crossbar, and then Dean Muir had a breakdown of communication with Hutchison in the 37th minute and hooked an attempted clearance straight to Harkins who lifted his shot over Hutchison but onto the top of the crossbar and over.
Just as it seemed the sides were going to go into the changing room on level terms at the interval, Greenock broke the deadlock in the 44th minute. Docherty conceded a cheap free kick, and the resulting cross came right onto the head of Ryan Begley, whose header could only be helped on its way into the net by Hutchison's outstretched arms.
Glencairn almost equalised in first half stoppage time as Docherty found himself free inside the penalty area. His cross from the left picked out the head of David Dunnachie at the back post, but he was caught just slightly underneath the ball and he headed over the crossbar.
Half time : 1-0
Del McNab links with Sean McGuire in a first half Glencairn attack.
Glencairn started the second half more positively, and McNab almost turned the key of the defence when he cut along the bye line and tried to set up McGuire, but his final pass was deflected just behind the midfielder. Greenock broke to the other end, and they cut through the Glens defence like a hot knife through butter, Dunnachie coming to the rescue with a vital tackle on Jamie Campbell to deny what seemed a certain goal.
The Glens had the ball in the net again in the 53rd minute when Mark Duffy seemed to win a battle of strength with his defensive markers and won the break of the ball, but the referee controversially deemed that the big striker had fouled his opponent.
Greenock doubled their lead in the 57th minute as they cut the Glencairn defence open with one pass, Kenny Munro springing the offside trap and having acres of space and time to pick his spot as he fired past Hutchison.
Munro could have scored again two minutes later, as he latched onto a similar pass, but this time Docherty made a goal-saving challenge. The lead was increased to 3-0 in the 59th minute, however. A corner from the left was drilled to the near post, where Ryan Begley connected to force the ball over the line from close range, and it was effectively "game over" at that point.
Willie Harvey hadn't given up, though, and changed the team around to try and recover something from the match. Paddy Cullen replaced defender Dunnachie and went up front alongside Duffy, and then Danny Salah replaced Fraser on the left of midfield. Greenock made a double change as Martin Orr and Paul Scott replaced Luke Murray and Harkins respectively, before Glencairn's final change saw Mark McCarry replace Alan Muir. The spate of substitutions ended in the 70th minute when Greenock brought on Willie McClure to replace Campbell.
Any hopes of an unlikely comeback were blown away in the 72nd minute when Greenock were gifted a fourth goal. Dean Muir misplaced a sideways path straight into the path of Kenny Munro who ran through and slotted past Hutchison for his second goal of the night.
Hutchison denied McClure shortly afterwards as Greenock cut through the defence again, and another slack pass by Muir was rescued by a sliding tackle by Brian Eadie. Munro fancied his chances of a hat trick and tried a spectacular finish with the outside of his left foot as he cut into the penalty area, but he fired high and wide when he should probably have just rolled the ball across to the waiting strikers.
The Glens' evening was summed up in the 81st minute when the normally deadly finisher Duffy fired over the bar from 10 yards, trying to rip the net out and instead firing the ball out of the ground and almost into the IKEA car park along the road. A couple of minutes later a lovely pass by Salah released McCarry through on goal, but he scuffed his shot across goal and wide of the far post.
Greenock seemed content with their night's work, and there were to be no more goals or near chances as the match drew to a conclusion. Willie Harvey was obviously deeply unhappy with what he had watched, and he commented, "We couldn't have played worse if we'd tried. It was very disappointing after how well we have been doing, but hopefully the rest this weekend will do us good ahead of two very big games for us next midweek."
Greenock Juniors :- McWilliams, Murray (Orr), Doherty, McLaughlin, McGarrigle, Begley, Campbell (McClure), McBryde, Brown, Harkins (Scott), Munro. (Subs not used - Irvine, Dow.)
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Dunnachie (Cullen), Eadie, Dean Muir, Docherty, McGuire, McNab, Batchelor, Duffy, Alan Muir (McCarry), Fraser (Salah). (Subs not used - Neil, Kemley, Thomson (gk).)
Man of the match - (chosen by Andy Handlin) Brian Eadie.