Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Hurlford United 2 Rutherglen Glencairn 1

Saturday 7th November 2020 - PDM Buildbase WoSFL Premier Division

(Report by Peter Ferguson) (Apologies for the lack of pictures this week, due to technical issues.)

Eight months to the day since they played their final match as a junior club, The Glens finally took their first step into senior football as they played their first match in the newly formed West of Scotland Football League Premier Division. It wasn't to be a successful afternoon, though, despite a positive first half, as Glencairn's lack of recent games became a real factor in the outcome as Hurlford United's superior match fitness told in the end.

Willie Harvey was without the services of six players due to a mixture of suspension, injury and self-isolation but despite this his team selection saw competitive Glencairn debuts for four players.

The Glens started the game positively and Harry Mitchell tried his luck inside the opening forty seconds, pulling his shot on the turn a few yards wide of the target. Mitchell was prominent in the early stages, playing in behind the two strikers, and a darting run at the defence was stopped by a rash challenge which saw Richie McKillen yellow carded.

Keirin Coleman's long ball over the defence in the 10th minute saw Jay McKay spring the offside trap, but he couldn't kill the ball as it came over his shoulder and it ran through to home goalie Chris Murchie.

The hosts hadn't threatened at all in the opening fifteen minutes, and their first serious effort on goal saw Sam Lidington's curling free kick fly a yard wide of Garry Whyte's left hand post. It was the start of a period where Hurlford threatened, though, and Lewis Morrison went close with an angled rising shot which was just off target.

Yellow cards were shown to Chris McKnight of Hurlford and Glencairn captain Tam Miller after squaring up to each other and locking horns. Referee Callum Haswell sensibly didn't over-react to what was only a minor flare-up.

Tommy Lone went close for Glencairn just before the half hour as he battled his way past two challenges on the right and then tried to lob Murchie, the ball landing just over the crossbar onto the roof of the net with the 'keeper looking momentarily concerned.

Hurlford went close a minute later as Morrison turned inside Coleman and tried to squeeze the ball past the outrushing Whyte, but he could only fire into the side netting. There was a real let-off for The Glens in the 35th minute as firstly Coleman did well to intercept Wardrope's dangerous run, but then the ball was recycled by Hurlford and a back post header rebounded from the post.

Glencairn took full advantage of that reprieve by taking the lead a few seconds later. A cross from the right saw Mitchell time his run to beat the offside trap, and he cushioned a header back into the path of Liam Gormley who simply couldn't miss from right in front of goal. It was an historic moment for the striker as he scored Glencairn's first ever goal in senior football.

It could have got better for The Glens as the interval approached, with big shouts for a penalty kick as McKay's shot clearly hit a defensive arm, but the referee deemed it to be unintentional and the arm in a natural position, and it was probably the correct call.

The home side had calls of their own for a spot kick in first half stoppage time as Callan Veitch tumbled as he clicked feet with Jackson Biggar, but once again it seemed accidental and the referee was right to wave play on.

Half time : 0-1

The second half was a different story to the first, though, as Hurlford clearly raised the tempo of their game and Glencairn's recent lack of matches really began to tell on their legs. Wardrope set up Paul McKenzie for a low shot which Whyte saved comfortably in the 47th minute, but only moments later McKenzie made Whyte work much harder with a rising drive which the big stopper palmed over the crossbar at full stretch.

Both goalkeepers were excelling at this stage, and Murchie made a brilliant reaction save to deny Gormley a second goal for Glencairn after Lone's free kick had been headed into the striker's path by Coleman.

The pressure was building on the Glencairn defence, though, and excellent interceptions by Coleman and Mitchell cleared the danger as the red and white shirts started to pour forward.

The pressure had to tell, though, and Michael Wardrope pulled Hurlford level in the 53rd minute as he took possession 22 yards from goal and curled a precise finish over Whyte and into the top corner of the net. It was a top class finish.

There was another big shout for a penalty for Glencairn in the 55th minute as McKay appeared to be caught late after getting his toe to the ball, but once again the referee wasn't interested. The officials weren't giving much in The Glens' favour at this point, and the home side were allowed to play on despite a very obvious offside, with Coleman and Mick O'Byrne both making crucial blocks which spared the assistant referee's blushes.

Hurlford went close again as Jack Whittaker's free kick slipped just over the junction of bar and post, with Whyte once again diving at full stretch. Whyte kept his side level in the 69th minute to deny Josh Rennie after more good work by McKenzie.

Both sides made their first changes with trialist defender Callum Shields replacing Sean McGuire for Glencairn, and Marc McKenzie come on in place of Rennie for United. Shortly afterwards Derek McNab replaced Gormley up front for The Glens.

The pressure continued from Hurlford, though, and they were given the perfect opportunity to take the lead when Morrison was tripped right on the line of the penalty area by Shields, the referee ironically blowing for a spot kick for what had seemed a very similar incident to the one he declined at the other end twenty minutes earlier. Lewis Morrison dusted himself down and placed his shot into the net, despite Whyte getting a hand to the ball as he dived to his left.

It was always going to be a tall order for The Glens to get back into the match now, given the tiring limbs and the home side sniffing their first three-point haul of the season.

Kieran Hannaway replaced McKay up front for Glencairn, but it made little difference with only four minutes left on the clock. Marc McKenzie should have extended Hurlford's lead with three minutes to go, but he placed his shot wide of goal from close range. A minute later Whyte kept his side in with a chance by blocking what seemed a certain goal for Morrison.

Hurlford comfortably ran down the clock as the match moved into stoppage time, with Louie Kerr coming on for the injured Wardrope during the added minutes as well. The Glens never really looked like getting an equaliser after going behind, and the home side comfortably held on to claim their first league win in the WoSFL.

Hurlford United :- Murchie, Hodge, Lidington, McKillen, McKnight, Paul McKenzie, Wardrope (Kerr), Whittaker, Veitch, Morrison, Rennie (Marc McKenzie). (Subs not used - McDonald, Moffat, Bell, Fisher.)

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Whyte, Coleman, McGregor, Tommy Lone, O'Byrne, McGuire (Trialist), Biggar, Mitchell, Gormley (McNab), McKay (Hannaway), Miller. (Subs not used - Hewitt, Kerr, McLellan (gk).)

Man of the match - (chosen by Andy Handlin) Keirin Coleman.

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