Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn 2 Kilsyth Rangers 1

Saturday 6th September 2014 - Stagecoach West Region Super League Division One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Kilsyth Rangers 1

Steven McClung heads Glencairn into the lead in the 28th minute.

Glencairn maintained their unbeaten start to the season and their perfect start to the league campaign with this hard-fought victory over Kilsyth Rangers. It wasn't the best performance from the team of late, but it was enough to take The Glens up to 2nd place in the league table, level on points and goal difference with leaders Pollok but having scored one less goal.

The starting line-up was unchanged from last week's away win at Largs, and the only change on the substitutes' bench was Gavin Ross coming in to replace the trialist reserve goalkeeper who was unavailable. There was a pre-match scare over captain Ross Ballantyne who pulled up during the warm-up, but he was able to shake off the strain and take his place in the team.

Having kept a clean sheet in their last two matches, it was a surprise to see an early defensive calamity in the Glencairn defence. Mark Russell and goalkeeper JC Hutchison both seemed to leave the ball to each other, allowing Mark Duffy the chance to lob the ball towards goal. The Glens' blushes were saved by an offside flag, but it was an early let-off.

Glencairn had the ball in the net in the 6th minute as Jamie MacLeod's shot squirmed under Kilsyth goalkeeper Michael Duke and Paul Thomson knocked the ball into the net from two yards, but Thomson was flagged for offside and the goal was disallowed. There was an early blow for the visitors when they had to make a change in the 7th minute, Keith Hogg replacing the injured Gary Livingston.

The aerial threat of the home side was obvious when Ballantyne's free kick was headed narrowly wide by Jamie Gilmartin, and The Glens' new striker signing went close with headers another twice in the 13th minute, Duke saving the first effort (pictured below) and the second flashing inches wide.

Kilsyth Rangers 3
 

Jamie Gilmartin pulled an excellent save out of Michael Duke with this header.

Kilsyth were pressing high up the park and not giving Glencairn time to settle on the ball in their own half. MacLeod was dispossesed in the 15th minute which set up a chance for Nicky Prentice to try and lob Hutchison, but the big stopper raced from his line to make a good block. Duffy fired a shot over the bar from 18 yards as Kilsyth continued to threaten the home defence. The Glens' energetic midfield pairing of Sean McGuire and Del Esplin combined well in the 22nd minute, ending with McGuire firing a shot just over the bar from 20 yards.

Glencairn took the lead in the 28th minute as they capitalised on some poor marking in the Kilsyth defence. Esplin lifted a free kick towards the six yard line, where Steven McClung was unmarked, and the striker stooped to glance the ball past Duke for his first goal for The Glens.

Steven McClung Steven McClung

Chris Reid of Kilsyth was the first player into the referee's notebook for swiping the legs away from Gilmartin in the 36th minute. The resulting free kick almost produced a carbon copy goal as Esplin's free kick once again found the head of McClung, but this time the ball flashed wide of the upright.

Glencairn were given a chance to increase their lead in first half stoppage time as Anthony Heffron of Kilsyth saw yellow for fouling McClung. Esplin chipped the free kick over the wall but wide of the post by a yard.

Half time : 1-0 

Both sides were unchanged for the start of the second half, but Kilsyth were on the front foot early after the re-start. Prentice pulled a good save out of Hutchison with a firm diagonal shot, and a minute later Duffy pulled a save out the reliable Glencairn no.1.

The Glens' first change came in the 51st minute as Keiran Donaghy replaced MacLeod on the left of midfield. Glencairn went close a minute later as Gilmartin's long throw from the right was palmed out by Duke into the path of Esplin, whose shot from 18 yards was deflected wide.

Paul Doyle was next into the referee's notebook for Kilsyth for a foul on Gilmartin in the centre of the pitch. The referee awarded an indirect free inside the penalty area in the 54th minute as Duke held a pass back right in front of his goal. Kilsyth lined all eleven players along the goal line, however, making it impossible for Gilmartin to drill his shot past them, and another corner was the end result.

As the hour mark approached Glencairn were pressing hard for the second goal which would give them a comfort zone, and they had another chance when Gilmartin set up Donaghy for a shot from 18 yards which rose just over the crossbar. Duke saved from a low shot by Esplin a minute later, followed by Duffy firing over the crossbar at the other end shortly after that.

A clever dummy by Kevin McBride set up another chance for Kilsyth's main threat Duffy, but Marc Russell got over to make a good challenge and stifle the shot which rose tamely into the grateful hands of Hutchison.

Glencairn got the two-goal lead they wanted at the mid point of the second half. Ballantyne drilled in a low cross from the left, and Jamie Gilmartin showed good touch to kill the ball and strength to hold off his marker, before firing the ball decisively past Duke from 12 yards for his third goal in three games since joining the club.

It seemed at this point that The Glens would go on and score more, and Duke made a save down low to deny Donaghy in the 69th minute. Two minutes later Donaghy skipped to the bye line before drilling the ball across goal, and Esplin slid in at the back post but couldn't direct the ball on target.

Kilsyth made their second change at this point, Steven McPeake replacing injured central defender Paul Doyle. Glencairn responded by introducing Gavin Ross up front for his first match of the season after injury, with McClung the man making way.

The visitors were handed a lifeline in the 75th minute as the referee deemed Mark Bishop's challenge on Duffy to be illegal, and pointed to the penalty spot. It seemed a debatable decision, and the big centre back was shown a yellow card for his protests. Mark Duffy stepped up to drill the ball past the outstretched arm of Hutchison, and Kilsyth were back in the match at 2-1.

Glencairn responded by going to the other end and forcing a series of corner kicks, and Duke almost punched the ball into his own net from one of them, the ball dropping inches wide much to the big stopper's relief.

Bishop almost gifted Kilsyth an equaliser in the 80th minute as he attempted a header back to Hutchison, but instead headed the ball straight to Duffy, but Jordan Dalzell showed great awareness and pace to get over from right back to make a goal-saving block to the shot.

Barry McGowan was next into the referee's book for a late sliding foul on Gilmartin, and that was the big striker's final involvement in the match as he was wrapped up for next week and replaced up front by Thomas Kilmartin.

Kilsyth had another great chance to equalise in the 83rd minute as Prentice ran clear on the left, but Hutchison won the battle of wills and blocked the shot with his legs to keep Glencairn ahead.

Three more Kilsyth players found their way into the referee's book as the match drew towards a conclusion, Keith Hogg, Liam McVey and Nicky Prentice the men to see yellow.

Glencairn ran down the clock well as the match moved into stoppage time and, after three additional minutes the referee blew for time to confirm another vital three points for The Glens.

Willie Harvey was pleased with the result, but was far from impressed with the performance. He commented, "It's hard to grumble with a win, but we didn't play well today. We didn't pass the ball well, and we had to battle for what we got. But it's another three points, which is pleasing, and we move on to Thorniewood next week now and hope to do it all again."

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Dalzell, Ballantyne, Bishop, Russell, McGuire, Thomson, Esplin, Gilmartin (Kilmartin), McClung (Ross), MacLeod (Donaghy). (Subs not used - Neil, Dunnachie.)

Kilsyth Rangers :- Duke, Reid, McVey, Doyle (McPeake), Heffron, Stuart Livingston, Gary Livingston (Hogg), McBride, Duffy, McGowan, Prentice. (Subs not used - Dolan, Smith (gk).)

Man of the match - (chosen by John Sinclair) Mark Bishop.

Mark Bishop Mark Bishop

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