Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

Subtitle

Kilbirnie Ladeside 1 Rutherglen Glencairn 1 (4-2 on penalty kicks)

Sunday 20th July 2014 - James Glen Memorial Trophy Final (Kilbirnie tournament)

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Kilbirnie Ladeside 2

Sean McGuire surges at the Kilbirnie defence in the first half.

The Glens came within a whisker of winning the James Glen Memorial Trophy pre-season tournament, as the final against host Kilbirnie Ladeside was decided by a penalty shoot-out. Unfortunately Glencairn's makeshift side couldn't get the better of the Super Premier League side in the decider, but ultimately it has been a very encouraging weekend for Glencairn's supporters.

Both teams were far from at full strength, and there were no fewer than eleven signed first team squad players missing for Glencairn today, due to a combination of work, holidays and injury, and also a few other potential signings who are training with the club were also unavailable. Consequently, manager Willie Harvey called up five players from the under 21 team to make up the squad for the final, with Ryan Bennett and Josh McCorry starting the game. The final quarter of the match was played with all five u21 players on the pitch, making up half of Glencairn's outfield team.

The match started very evenly, and the only effort of note in the opening quarter of an hour was a scuffed shot by Gavin Ross which was easily saved by Ladeside goalkeeper Kieran Dougan.

The home side had a spell of territorial advantage around the 15 minute mark without creating any clear cut openings as Glencairn defended strongly, with the experience of Willie Galloway and Ross Ballantyne in the full back positions helping out young McCorry alongside the ever reliable Andy Neil in the centre back positions. A dangerous cross into the box almost caught out the defence, but Glens' no.1 JC Hutchison was aware and smothered the ball down low.

Just as Ladeside were having their best spell of the game so far, The Glens took the lead in the 19th minute. Nicky Sullivan's pass was deflected off a defender which sent Gavin Ross through on goal, and he produced a composed finish by rolling the ball under Dougan to make it 1-0.

Gavin Ross Gavin Ross

Kilbirnie were rocked by this and set about getting an equaliser quickly. There was controversy in the 22nd minute when Hutchison raced from his line and brought down home striker Michael Moore just outside the box. A yellow card was the referee's decision, and Ryan Borris fired the free kick into the defensive wall before firing the rebound effort well wide of the target.

Ladeside were level three minutes later, however, with a touch of brilliance. Graham Boyd turned away from McCorry just inside the Glencairn half, and then cut across Neil and Ballantyne before drilling a decisive finish past Hutchison into the postage stamp corner of the net.

Gavin Ross almost grabbed his second goal of the game in the 29th minute as he glanced Keiran Donaghy's free kick towards the corner of the net. but Dougan got down to make an excellent save, tipping the ball round the post for a corner (pictured below).

Kilbirnie Ladeside 1

The Glens were looking dangerous again, and Bennett almost fired Glencairn in front again three minutes later as he darted past three challenges before being denied by an excellent sliding challenge as he shaped to shoot.

The home side almost caught Glencairn sleeping in the 35th minute as the referee awarded Kilbirnie a throw-in which should have gone the other way. While the Glens players protested, Ladeside took the throw quickly, creating space for Darren McLean to shoot, but he sliced his effort wide from 20 yards out.

As everybody was expecting the half time whistle, a cross came into the Glencairn penalty box from the left, and Galloway went down under a challenge from Moore. After consultation with his assistant, the referee showed a straight red card to Moore for violent conduct, and the home side were down to 10 men.

Half time : 1-1

Kilbirnie Ladeside 3

Nicky Sullivan was a composed figure in midfield throughout the match.

Kilbirnie made a half time change to accomodate their one-man disadvantage, with Josh Horne coming on to replace Marc Davidson. Horne was very quickly into the action as he cut in from the right in the 48th minute and pulled a save on the dive out of Hutchison.

A minute later a goal seemed certain for the hosts as the impressive Boyd latched onto a ball over the top of McCorry but, as he rolled the ball past Hutchison, it slipped inches wide of the far post. Ladeside were the team on top now, despite their personnel disadvantage, and McLean tested Hutchison again with an angled drive which the big stopper parried away well.

Glencairn weren't creating much at this point, but a long kick out by Hutchison was well taken down by Ross, which created space for the striker to curl an effort from 20 yards which flew a yard high and wide.

Galloway was still feeling the effects of the blow to his face in the earlier incident with Moore, and had to be substituted just before the hour mark as he felt groggy. His replacement was under 21 player Steven Brown for his 1st team debut, who slipped into left back with Ballantyne moving right. Kilbirnie were also forced into a change, as substitute Horne pulled up with a hamstring injury, and was replaced by Phil Barclay.

Boyd was the man really catching the eye for the home side with his quick feet and good awareness, and he set up Chris Wilson for a shot across goal which the home support thought was going in but slipped half a yard wide of the far post. The Glens were riding their luck a little at this stage, although still defending well, with young McCorry making an excellent block to deny Ryan Borris.

The changes continued to come, with Glencairn introducing u21 striker Chris Mallon to replace Thomas Kilmartin, while Ladeside brought on Troy McKellar to replace McLean. Shortly after that Glencairn made their final change, once again an u21 player coming on, winger Craig Dallas replacing Donaghy wide on the left.

Boyd's trickery set up a chance for Liam McGuiness to shoot on the edge of the penalty area in the 69th minute, but he rushed his shot under pressure and sliced it high and out of the ground.

The final two changes of the game came with 14 minutes remaining, a double change for Kilbirnie with Andrew Blair and Mark Bristow replacing Liam McGuiness and Scott Gair.

As the game moved towards a conclusion, The Glens looked the more likely side to grab a winner. First of all Nicky Sullivan pulled a save out of Dougan with a curled free kick, and then Sullivan set up Mallon in the 82nd minute and the young striker rolled the ball into the net, only to be denied by the assistant referee's offside flag.

Dougan was in the right place at the right time for Ladeside in the 87th minute as Ballantyne's looping cross picked out Gavin Ross at the back post, but his on-target header was saved by the home stopper.

The crowd held its breath in the 91st minute as Kilbirnie were awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area, Boyd convincing the referee that his unnecesary tumble was a foul. Wilson fired in the shot which rattled off the crossbar with Hutchison well beaten, but justice was done as the free kick should never have been awarded in the first place.

The referee's whistle brought an end to the play, and a penalty shoot-out was to decide who whether the trophy would remain in Kilbirnie or return to Rutherglen once again. Wilson was first up for Kilbirnie, but Hutchison dived to his left to parry the shot to give The Glens an early advantage. Ross Ballantyne sent Dougan the wrong way to put Glencairn 1-0 ahead. Kieran McAnespie brought Ladeside level, before Dougan saved from Gavin Ross to keep the scores level at 1-1.

Chris Malone put Ladeside ahead, but young Josh McCorry fired confidently past Dougan to make it 2-2. Ryan Borris edged Kilbirnie back in front, and the hosts were on the edge of victory when Dougan saved from young Chris Mallon. The scene was set for Graham Boyd to step up for the deciding kick, and he fired high past Hutchison to win the cup for Kilbirnie.

Glencairn manager Willie Harvey was very pleased with the weekend overall. "Considering the players we were missing and the number of young boys we had out today, it's gone very well. I think the under 21s will do well this season, and it's good to see the young lads willing to take the chance to impress when the opportunity arises."

Kilbirnie Ladeside :- Dougan, Davidson (Horne (Barclay)), Wilson, McAnespie, Gair (Bristow), McGuiness (Blair), Borris, McLean (McKellar), Moore, Boyd, Malone. (Subs not used - McMahon, Jones (gk).)

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Galloway (Brown), Ballantyne, Neil, McCorry, McGuire, Bennett, Sullivan, Ross, Kilmartin (Mallon), Donaghy (Dallas). (Subs not used - Torrance, Fraser (gk).)

Man of the match - (chosen by Ronnie Harvey) Nicky Sullivan.

Nicky Sullivan Nicky Sullivan

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