Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn 2 Irvine Meadow 2

Sunday 25th January 2015 - Friendly match

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Irvine Meadow 1

Denis McLaughlin was in fine form throughout the match.

Glencairn's players shook off their weary legs from the previous day's controversial narrow defeat away to Greenock Juniors and prepared themselves for a potentially difficult friendly match against current West Region Super Premier League leaders Irvine Meadow under the roof of the Toryglen Regional Football Centre.

As it turned out, The Glens gave as good as they got against the current "best in the west", and at the end of the match the team were disappointed not to have been able to hold onto what was a thoroughly deserved half time lead. Glencairn welcomed back winger Kris Irvine who has had been working a lot lately, and Willie Galloway also returned at right back having missed the trip to Greenock.

After a fairly even opening to the match, The Glens took the lead in the 12th minute with a beautifully-worked goal. Thomas Kilmartin fed Irvine on the right, and his cross was glanced precisely into the corner of the net by Denis McLaughlin, scoring against his former club.

Denis McLaughlin Denis McLaughlin

Glencairn were playing with a lot of confidence and didn't seem to be any way in awe of their higher league opponents. Keiran Donaghy linked well on the edge of the area with McLaughlin and fired in a shot under pressure which was smothered by Meadow no.1 Graeme Shepherd.

Meadow's first shot on target came in the 18th minute as Gary McCann dribbled across the face of the penalty area and then fired in a left foot shot which JC Hutchison saved comfortably. Three minutes later, at the other end, McLaughlin and Kilmartin linked well to set up Sean McGuire for an angled shot which Shepherd saved at full stretch to his right.

Meadow were next to go close when Willie Sawyers' cross was only half cleared by Galloway into the path of Scott Davidson who fired well over the crossbar. The mid point of the first half saw The Glens go close another twice, firstly McLaughlin's shot from 20 yards being saved by Shepherd, and then McGuire heading wide from Irvine's cross in a similar move to the first goal.

Kilmartin and McLaughlin linked well again in the 37th minute and McLaughlin fired wide of the near post instead of squaring for Irvine who would have had a tap-in. Glencairn continued to trouble Meadow in forward areas, and McGuire was denied again after more clever build-up play involving the two strikers.

The lead was desrvedly doubled after 39 minutes when Thomas Kilmartin won possession and raced through on goal, shaped to pass to Irvine, but then shot himself, beating Shepherd at his near post to make it 2-0. 

Thomas Kilmartin Thomas Kilmartin

A minute later it was almost a third goal for Glencairn as a cross-field pass released Irvine and he tried to chip Shepherd, but didn't get enough height on the ball and the goalkeeper stretched to grab the ball above his head.

The final action of the first half saw Meadow striker Sawyers outmuscle Andy Neil, and the defender brought the striker down right on the edge of the penalty area. Mark Thomson took the set piece but blasted the ball high over the crossbar from 19 yards.

Half time : 2-0

Irvine Meadow 2

Sean McGuire surges forward for Glencairn in the first half.

Both teams made several changes at the interval, and the rigours of two games in successive days seemed to start to tell on the Glencairn players' legs at the start of the second half. Meadow almost pulled a goal back in the 47th minute as Josh Flood fed Mick Hughes, but Hutchison made a good block. The Glens were still dangerous, though, and Irvine's cross from the right picked out Ross McNeil and his back-heel set up McLaughlin for a shot which Shepherd saved diving to his right.

Meadow pulled a goal back in the 52nd minute as a diagonal ball saw Gary McCann get in behind Graeme Brown, with a suspicion of offside, but he didn't hesitate and fired decisively past Hutchison to make it 2-1.

McLaughlin was still at the heart of most of Glencairn's threatening moves, and he set up McNeil in the 58th minute for a shot which Shepherd blocked with his foot. Del Esplin almost gifted Meadow an equaliser in the 62nd minute as he passed the ball straight to Hughes, but Esplin reacted quickly to make an excellent goal-saving tackle before Hughes could get a shot away.

Hutchison made an excellent save to keep Glencairn in front in the 63rd minute as McCann once again found space to get away from the defence, but this time the big stopper deflected the ball over the bar with his foot. A minute later saw a deep cross from the left headed over the bar by Reece Pearson as Meadow pressed for an equaliser.

Glencairn's tired legs were now obvious, and Davidson curled a shot just past the post before Pearson fired a deflected shot just wide in the 69th minute. The resulting corner was not fully cleared, and Hughes' angled shot was saved at the near post by Hutchison.

McLaughlin got a fortunate break of the ball in the 72nd minute after a surging run by Esplin, but pulled his shot a yard wide of the far post. Two minutes later the scores were level as Glencairn conceded possession cheaply on the edge of their own penalty area and the ball was squared for Ryan Deas to fire past the helpless Hutchison.

More excellent link play by McLaughlin released Keiran Donaghy on the left in the 79th minute and suddenly there was a "two on two" situation. Donaghy skipped past his marker but fired straight at Shepherd. Four minutes later Donaghy tried his luck again with a curled effort, but he didn't get his angles right and the ball dropped a couple of yards wide of the target.

Glencairn's players claimed for a penalty kick when McNeil went down under a strong challenge in the 84th minute, but the referee wasn't interested. After that both teams seemed happy with what they had got out of the exercise, and the referee called for time right on the 90th minute.

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Galloway, Boal (Brown), Neil (Bishop), Russell, Stokes, Irvine, McGuire (Esplin), McLaughlin, Kilmartin (McNeil), Donaghy.

Irvine Meadow :- Shepherd, McLennan, Halliday, Staunton, Twaddle, Thomson, Gary McCann, McParland, Sawyers, Davidson, Flood. (Subs - Deas, Hughes, Hall, Sideserf, Keenan, McGuiness, Pearson, Stuart McCann.)

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

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