Wednesday 11th October 2017 - Friendly match
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Jamie Hamilton lines up one of a number of second half free kicks for Glencairn.
With last Saturday's league match being rained off and no scheduled match for this weekend, The Glens took the opportunity to play a friendly match against Kilbirnie Ladeside, who currently sit in 2nd place in the West Region Super Premier League table. The match was played on the old-fashioned artificial surface at Glasgow Club Drumoyne.
There were welcome returns to action after injury for strikers Gary Smith and Graham Boyd who took their places in the starting line-up, and Craig Palmer continued his return to full fitness with just under an hour of action on the left side of central defence.
Kilbirnie's threat was obvious from the opening minute as James Finlay cut in from the right and fired a shot narrowly wide of the post from 18 yards. Two minutes later Arnault Bembo was given space to chest the ball down and shoot from 16 yards, Glencairn goalkeeper Jack Baker doing well to palm the ball round the post at full stretch.
Glencairn settled after these early scares, however, and they nearly took the lead in the 5th minute. An overlapping run down the right by Jordan Leyden ended with a cross to the back post which picked out the head of Smith, whose effort beat goalkeeper Joe Wilton but was cleared off the goal line by defender Connor McAllister.
A long searching ball by Palmer in the 8th minute almost sprung Smith through on goal, but the ball zipped off the hard surface and just had enough pace to run through to Wilton. Glencairn captain Tony Fraser had to be sharp to twice block efforts by Gavin Mitchell in the 11th minute, before Smith went close again at the other end, pulling a save out of Wilton with a dipping shot from 25 yards.
Glencairn were giving as good as they were getting from their higher league opponents at this stage, and Leyden tried his luck with a left footed rising shot from 25 yards which flew a yard off target.
The deadlock was broken in the 25th minute as Kilbirnie took the lead, Reece Williamson latching onto a cross from the right and finding space inside the penalty to turn and fire past the helpless Baker.
The Glens tried to respond quickly and Ryan McArdle's corner from the right saw Boyd rise above the defence, but he headed well wide of goal from 8 yards out. Baker made a fine save on the stroke of half time as he beat away a snap shot from 18 yards by Williamson to keep the scoreline at 1-0 at the interval.
Half time : 1-0
Stewart Hall in first half action.
The Glens made three changes at the interval. KP McAllister took over from Baker between the sticks, Connor Brannigan replaced McArdle and took position on the right of midfield with Del McNab moving to the left, and Sean McGuire came on for Leyden in central midfield. Seven minutes into the second half Jamie Hamilton replaced Palmer, with Fraser dropping into the back three and Craig Young now employed in Fraser's midfield holding role.
The lead was doubled in the 56th minute with a touch of good fortune for Ladeside. Striker David Crerand turned Andy Neil on the edge of the penalty area before firing a shot which took a deflection as it flashed past McAllister into the far corner of the net.
Alessandro Savarese replaced Boyd up front immediately after the second goal. Kilbirnie were on top as Glencairn tried to adjust to positional changes, and McAllister did well to palm away a dipping shot from distance by Jon Scullion, before Nathan Cavanagh drilled a low shot inches wide of the far post.
The hour mark saw McNab battling hard to win possession before crossing to the back post where Smith headed just over the bar amongst a crowd of players. That was Smith's final act of the game as he was replaced up front by Jay McKay in the 63rd minute. McKay almost scored with his first touch of the ball as a sweeping move down the right ended with Brannigan's low cross picking out McKay in front of goal, but his rising shot was well held on the line by Wilton.
Glencairn were having a good spell of pressure now, and Ladeside were finding it hard to get the ball out of defence due to The Glens' players pressing high up the pitch. Savarese saw a shot deflected for a corner, before Hamilton's curling free kick was saved by Wilton as the ball flew towards the top left corner of the net.
The pressure continued as Fraser's drilled free kick was blocked away in front of goal, then an incisive run by Hamilton was ended by a crude challenge by Bembo resulting in yet another free kick on the edge of the penalty area. The resulting effort by Hamilton was deflected off the wall and wide for a corner.
The final act of the match in the 90th minute saw yet another free kick on the edge of the penalty area, the ball rolled to the side to McGuire whose rising shot was saved by the impressive Wilton.
Kilbirnie Ladeside :- Wilton, Mitchell, Mackinnon (Juskowiak), McAllister (Scullion), O'Byrne, McCreath, Finlay, Bembo, Crerand (McGill), Kavanagh (Sweeney), Williamson.
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Baker (McAllister), Hall, Palmer (Hamilton), Fraser, Neil, Young, McArdle (Brannigan), Leyden (McGuire), Smith (McKay), Boyd (Savarese), McNab.
Man of the match - (chosen by Colin McNab) Tony Fraser.