Wednesday 29th July 2015 - Pre-season friendly match
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Adam Nisanci pushes Glencairn forward in the second half.
After the decision had been made to cancel the scheduled home friendly match against Fauldhouse United to protect the pitch at New Southcroft Park ahead of the new season after the recent wet weather, Glencairn were grateful to two former employees for the late offer of a replacement friendly match for Wednesday night. Irvine Meadow, managed by former Glencairn assistant manager Stevie Rankin and former player Murdie McKinnon, came to the rescue with their booking at Lochinch Park, and it turned out to be an excellent exercise for both sides.
Both sides took the opportunity to look at a couple of trialists, while The Glens were without Andy Neil, Adam Shaw, Tony Fraser, Mark Tait and Denis McLaughlin due a mixture of injury and work commitments. Shaw and Fraser were named as substitutes but were left out of the match after pre-match fitness checks. The good news, though, was the first 90 minutes for club captain Brian Eadie since his comeback from his horrendous ankle injury over a year ago.
The Glens seemed keen to impose themselves on the match against their Super Premier League opponents, and Meadow goalkeeper Thompson had to react sharply to beat away a driven effort by Paddy Cullen in the 4th minute.
Glencairn were in front in the 8th minute when Mark McCarry's cute pass saw Mark Batchelor beat the offside trap, and he lobbed Thompson from eight yards to put The Glens 1-0 ahead.
Meadow's first shot on target came in the 12th minute when Trialist no.9 bundled his way towards goal and the ball fell for Chris Hall, whose attempted chip was saved comfortably by Glens' no.1 JC Hutchison.
The lead was nearly doubled in the 21st minute when Adam Nisanci's cross from the right saw defender Marc Twaddle slip, leaving Chris Zok with a diving header on the six yard line, but he couldn't get enough power on his effort and Thompson clawed the ball away to safety.
Paul Doyle made a superb block to deny what looked like a certain equaliser for Trialist no.8 in the 22nd minute, and Hall had the ball in the net in the 26th minute but was correctly whistled for offside.
Meadow upped the tempo at the half hour mark and Glencairn had to defend strongly, Hutchison saving from Hall and Doyle doing well to block the rebound effort from Trialist no.8, who also fired narrowly over the bar a minute later.
Mark McCarry had an effort blocked at the other end in the 38th minute, before Meadow got back on level terms just before half time. Gary McCann skipped away from Jonny Boal on the right and cut inside Eadie, before rolling the ball to Chris Hall, who produced a precise finish into the top left hand corner.
Cullen limped off with a calf niggle immediately after the equaliser and was replaced by Sean McGuire, with Mark McCarry moving up front alongside Zok. Hutchison got an important few fingers to the ball to deny a back post header by Hall in the 45th minute, ensuring the score was level at the interval.
Half time : 1-1
Jonny Boal in first half action against winger Gary McCann.
Glencairn made a further change at the interval with midfielder Trialist no.15 replacing Jonny Boal, and Eadie moved to left back with Trialist no.6 moving from midfield to central defence.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first with The Glens being positive, and they got their reward as they regained the lead in the 49th minute. A corner from the left wasn't properly cleared, and Sean McGuire took possession on the edge of the box before incredibly working his way past six challenges before slipping the ball past Thompson from 10 yards out.
Batchelor fired over the bar a minute later as Glencairn pressed again, before Liam Finnigan fired narrowly over on the turn at the other end after 54 minutes. Two minutes later strong play by Trialist no.9 for Meadow ended with Hutchison saving at his near post.
Meadow were level in the 63rd minute as McCann once again created on the right, and his cross was turned into the net from close range by Ross McPherson. The same player went close again just after the restart as he curled a free kick just over the crossbar.
Glencairn noticeably tired as the match moved into its final quarter, with only three substitutes available to be used, but they defended doggedly in the hope of holding out for a draw. Dean Muir replaced Nisanci in midfield in Glencairn's final change.
Meadow almost went in front in the 78th minute when McPherson's diagonal run set up Finnigan, who cut inside and fired over the crossbar. Muir tried his luck at the other end two minutes later, turning away from his marker before firing over the crossbar from 18 yards.
Hutchison had to palm a cross by McCann away from under his crossbar in the 82nd minute, before Glencairn broke upfield again. Zok tried to emulate his spectacular goal from Sunday as he fired in a shot from 30 yards, but this time the ball dipped just over the crossbar.
Hutchison saved again with his legs as Meadow threatened in the 86th minute, but the black and white resistance was finally broken in the 88th minute. McPherson skipped clear in the penalty area and was clearly tripped from behind by Doyle, and the referee pointed to the spot. Ross McPherson fired decisively past Hutchison to score the winner.
Irvine Meadow :- Thompson, Girvan, Wilson, Buchanan, Twaddle, Murch, McCann, Trialist, Trialist, Hall, Finnigan. (Subs - Bolton, Darroch, McPherson, Trialist.)
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Brown, Boal (Trialist), Doyle, Eadie, Trialist, Nisanci (Muir), Batchelor, Zok, McCarry, Cullen (McGuire). (Subs not used - Shaw, Fraser.)
Man of the match - (chosen by Alan Thomson) Paul Doyle.