Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn 0 Irvine Meadow 2

Wednesday 23rd July 2014 - Friendly match

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Irvine Meadow

There were more signed Glencairn players in this group on the terracing than there were on the pitch for this game.

A highly experimental Glencairn team took on last season's Super Premier League runners up in a pre-season friendly match at The Clyde Gateway Stadium.

With only three officially signed players in Glencairn's starting XI, plus a mixture of trialists and under 21s, it turned into a useful evening for manager Willie Harvey as he had a look at a number of options, while resting those in the established squad who were carrying minor knocks. Meadow fielded a strong side, with all but two of their 15-man squad being currently signed players.

It was 10 minutes into the game before any incident of note, a long ball catching out the home defence and allowing Paul Maxwell space to bring the ball down, but Kevin Bell saved down low to his right as Maxwell tried to squeeze the ball past him. Shortly afterwards Mark Sideserf lifted a cross from the left and Meadow's Trialist no.7 looped a header just wide of the target.

Glencairn's first chance saw a long ball by Nicky Sullivan almost release Trialist no.10, but Irvine goalkeeper Steven Hall raced out to smother the danger at the striker's feet.

Bell reacted well to palm away Mark McLennan's corner from the left which almost went straight into the net, before Meadow took the lead at the mid point of the first half. A long diagonal ball saw Meadow's Trialist no.7 beat Ross Ballantyne for pace, and he held off the defender before swinging in a low cross. The ball broke off a defender into the path of Paul Maxwell, who fired past Bell from 8 yards out.

Glencairn weren't creating much in the way of clear cut chances, but Trialist no.9 intercepted a quickly taken free kick and tried to catch out Steven Hall with a quick shot, but his curled effort flew a yard high and wide.

Great tenacity by Sean McGuire in the 32nd minute saw him win a battle for possession with Michael Keenan, and he rolled the ball into the path of Sullivan who fired across goal and just wide of the far post.

Meadow got another good break of the ball in front of goal in the 37th minute when the ball fell kindly in front of Chris Hall, but this time Bell saved from the striker's scuffed shot. The 41st minute saw the first substitution of the game, with Maxwell limping off to be replaced by Willie Sawyers, emphasising the riches that Meadow have in the striking roles this season.

Half time : 0-1

The Glens were forced into a change at the interval, with defender Andy Neil feeling a slight knock. No risks are necessary at this time of the season, so Neil was withdrawn and replaced by 17-year-old Josh McCorry.

Meadow doubled their lead in the 50th minute, with Glencairn's defenders claiming loudly for offside. Jordan Murch cut across the face of the penalty area and slipped a pass through to Meadow's Trialist no.7, and he fired decisively past Bell from 10 yards.

The Meadow management team of former Glencairn duo Stevie Rankin and Murdie McKinnon decided to use the rest of their substitutes at this stage, with a triple change in the 52nd minute seeing Ryan Deas, Willie McLachlan and Grant Evans replacing Robert Halliday, Mark McLennan and Mark Staunton.

Kevin Bell produced an excellent save in the 65th minute to deny his former Renfrew team mate Sawyers, getting down low to save after Sawyers' strength had created a shooting opportunity. Five minutes later Chris Hall's volley on the turn flashed inches wide of the post when most in the crowd were expecting the net to bulge.

Glens brought on under 21 goalkeeper Laith Al Naeme to replace Bell in the 70th minute, and his first contribution was to make an excellent stop and hold to deny an angled effort by Deas.

Under 21 striker Chris Mallon had been asked to play a role wide on the right in the first half, but he moved more centrally in the second half and set up a chance for Sullivan to shoot, which ended up in front of the 8.15pm Virgin Express to London.

Another good move involving Mallon and Sullivan ended with a chance for Trialist no.9 to shoot at the back post, but his effort was blocked. With 13 minutes remaining, Mallon was given a deserved rest and was replaced up front by Thomas Kilmartin.

A beautiful passing move between Ross Ballantyne and Nicky Sullivan in the 78th minute ended with Ballantyne curling a shot just wide of the target, but it would have been a terrific goal had it been on target.

Al Naeme held a firm free kick by Keenan in the 81st minute, and at the other end a few minutes later McCorry fired a shot straight at Steven Hall. Chris Hall had the final effort of note in the 88th minute, but lifted his shot over the crossbar.

In the end Willie Harvey was reasonably pleased with the evening. "I thought it was a decent exercise for us, to be honest. We got to look at a couple of strikers, and also we saw how some of our young lads would cope if we have to call on them during the season. I would imagine the team for next week's match against Fauldhouse will be back to our more recognisable players."

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Bell (Al Naeme), Galloway, Ballantyne, Neil (McCorry), Dunnachie, McLean, Mallon (Kilmartin), McGuire, Trialist, Trialist, Sullivan. (Subs not used - Bennett, Hollis.)

Irvine Meadow :- Steven Hall, McLennan (McLachlan), Sideserf, Staunton (Evans), Buchanan, Keenan, Trialist, Murch, Maxwell (Sawyers), Chris Hall, Halliday (Deas).

Man of the match - (chosen by Peter Ferguson) Chris Mallon.

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