Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club


Kilsyth Rangers 2 Rutherglen Glencairn 1

Saturday 14th February 2015 - Stagecoach West Region Super League Division One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Kilsyth Rangers 3

Ross McNeil (out of picture, left) sees his free kick saved by Kilsyth no.1 Michael Duke.

Glencairn's ambitions of promotion took another blow as they went down to their third defeat in four consecutive away league matches, although they can count themselves unfortunate not to have taken something from this game.

Thomas Kilmartin was restored to the starting XI up front at the expense of Denis McLaughlin, and there were also changes on either side of midfield with Kris Irvine and Keiran Donaghy replacing the injured Ross Ballantyne and Jonny Boal respectively.

The match couldn't have started any worse for the visitors as Kilsyth took the lead with less than a minute on the clock. A corner kick was conceded cheaply and, when Liam McVey swung in the cross, goalkeeper JC Hutchison misjudged the ball in the air and punched it against his own crossbar, leaving Paul Doyle the easy task of heading the rebound into the empty net from four yards out after only 47 seconds.

Effectively giving their opponents a goal of a start, Glencairn now had a mountain to climb, and it was almost worse in the 6th minute when Mark Bishop's attempted header back to Hutchison flew over the goalkeeper but fortunately wide of the target for another corner. The Glens really hadn't got started at all, and Nicky Prentice went close with a shot on the turn after 10 minutes.

The first sign that Glencairn were starting to threaten came in the 13th minute when Del Esplin released Kilmartin on the left, but the striker was stopped by a clearly incorrect offside flag. Four minutes later Donaghy passed up a terrific chance for The Glens when he fired straight at Kilsyth goalkeeper Michael Duke after being picked out by a defence-splitting pass by Esplin.

The pace of Kilsyth front men Joe Barclay and Paul McBride was causing the Glencairn defence some problems and, when Marc Russell misjudged the ball in the air, McBride had the chance to run clear, but the Glencairn defender got back to make an excellent recovery tackle. A similar move in the 24th minute saw McBride in on goal again, but he took a touch too many and Bishop got back onto the goal line to block the eventual shot.

Glencairn have made a habit of missing clear cut chances in recent matches, and another sitter was passed up on the half-hour mark when Irvine's cross from the right picked out the free head of Bishop, but the big defender completely missed the target from close range.

The Glens were temporarily down to ten men unnecessarily in the 32nd minute when the referee wasn't interested in dealing with a late tackle on Donaghy as he crossed the ball. The tackle left Donaghy lying in a heap off the pitch and unable to continue in the match, but the referee appeared not to care about Donaghy's condition and took no action against the defender. 

Donaghy was replaced by Jordan Dalzell, with Irvine switching from the right wing to the left. There was another blow just a minute later when defender Graeme Brown was forced off by injury, with Willie Galloway taking his place at right back.

Andy Neil courted controversy just before half time when he pulled Barclay back on the edge of the penalty area. Some referees would have shown a red card, but a yellow was the decision on this occasion. The free kick was rolled to the side and driven in by Prentice, with Hutchison doing just enough to see the ball round the post for another Kilsyth corner.

Half time : 1-0

Kilsyth Rangers 4

Marc Russell wins an early second half aerial dual.

Glencairn's supporters were somewhat relieved to have got into the break only a goal behind, but the second half was to prove to be quite a contrast to the first. The Glens looked purposeful from the restart and forced an early corner which Bishop headed wide at full stretch. At the other end, just a minute later, McVey's corner from the right was also headed wide by Duffy.

The biggest talking point of the match arrived in the 49th minute when Glencairn were denied an equalising goal. Ross McNeil's cross from the left picked out Dalzell who cushioned the ball into the path of Esplin in the centre. As the ever-present midfielder turned the ball into the net, however, the assistant referee's flag went up for offside against Esplin. It was an extremely tight call to make, and not one which Esplin, Dalzell or the travelling supporters agreed with.

The anger of the travelling support was turned to cheers only two minutes later, however, as Glencairn got the equaliser that their early second half play had merited. A poor kick out by Duke went straight to Thomas Kilmartin, who took a good first touch, outpaced his marker and then struck the ball early before Duke could get into position, with the ball hitting the net via the inside of the far post.

 Thomas Kilmartin Thomas Kilmartin

Suddenly it was anybody's game, and Kilsyth could have regained the lead only a minute later when Barclay found space in the penalty area, but pressure from Neil was enough to force the shot into the side netting.

The 56th minute almost saw Glencairn go in front from a terrific piece of skill by McNeil. A long kick out by Hutchison seemed to be going right through to Duke, only for McNeil to control the ball as it dropped out of the sky and then back-flick the ball over Duke, the ball just dropping over the crossbar and landing on the roof of the net. It was very unlucky, and the effort rightly brought applause from both sets of supporters.

The game was now on a knife-edge, and Hutchison did well to parry away a volley from 20 yards by Paul McBride. Kilsyth made a double change in the 68th minute, taking off the experience of Liam McVey and Steven McPeake and replacing them with the fresh legs of Michael McGhee and Phil Dolan respectively.

Hutchison raced from his line to block at the feet of Barclay after the home striker's pace had seen him beat the offside trap in the 71st minute. Glencairn made their final change a minute later, with Denis McLaughlin replacing Kilmartin who appeared to have taken a slight knock.

Duke saved a driven free kick by McNeil in the 75th minute (pictured at top). With nine minutes left on the clock, Esplin's cross from the right was headed out only as far as Irvine who stabbed a shot wide of the target from 18 yards out.

The decisive moment in the match arrived in the 83rd minute. Good skill by Prentice saw him skip away from Galloway and McGuire before slipping a perfect pass through to Paul McBride who had timed his run to beat the offside trap, before rounding Hutchison and rolling the ball on target. Neil got back onto the line but could only help the ball on its way into the net.

Glencairn huffed and puffed while Kilsyth ran down the clock, and McLaughlin fired over the bar from the angle of the penalty area as The Glens desperately searched for another equaliser. But it wasn't to be, and Glencairn slipped down to 9th place in the league table.

Kilsyth Rangers :- Duke, Reid, McVey (McGhee), Doyle, Hughes, McPeake (Dolan), Waters, McGowan, Barclay, P. McBride, Prentice. (Subs not used - Livingston, K. McBride, Smith (gk).)

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Brown (Galloway), Neil, Bishop, Russell, McGuire, Irvine, Esplin, McNeil, Kilmartin (McLaughlin), Donaghy (Dalzell). (Subs not used - Ballantyne, Pryce.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Stuart Esplin) Thomas Kilmartin.


Latest Glencairn news via Twitter