Saturday 19th March 2016 - McBookie.com West Region Super League Division One
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Alan Muir battles for midfield possession.
Glencairn are still looking for their first win at home in the league this season after six attempts as Kilsyth Rangers left The Celsius Stadium with all three points courtesy of a brilliant goal early in the match. The result leaves The Glens still at the top of the relegation zone, but results elsewhere meant that there is still every reason for optimism for avoiding the drop, with twelve matches still to be played.
With manager Willie Harvey on holiday, assistant manager Joe Pryce and coach Allan Colquhoun chose to name an unchanged starting line-up after week's away win at Yoker, with Tony Fraser coming onto the substitutes' bench after injury to replace the injured Mark Tait.
The Glens had started matches well in recent weeks, and they went on the front foot once early once again. David Dunnachie's long throw in the second minute was flicked on by Mark Batchelor, and Mark Duffy was in the act of hooking his leg to volley as the ball was knocked off his toe by a Kilsyth defender.
The visitors exerted a period of pressure after this and had Glencairn pinned inside their own half for a few minutes, but they failed to seriously threaten to open up the home defence. There was a similar move at the other end in the 8th minute, however, as Dunnachie's long throw was aimed for Batchelor once again, but this time a defender's head deflected the ball towards his own goal and Kilsyth no.1 Chris Prior had to reach back over his head to save.
Kilsyth took the lead in the 11th minute, and it was a strike which literally came out of nowhere. Paul McBride took possession just inside the Glencairn half, and he turned and ran at the defence before unleashing a rocket of a shot from 30 yards which fizzed past the outstretched arms of Glencairn goalkeeper JC Hutchison and into the corner of the net.
Glencairn's went close to an equaliser in the 20th minute when Duffy fed the ball to Del McNab on the edge of the penalty area, and his shot on the turn was goalbound until Prior reached up to tip it over the crossbar. The resulting corner was flicked on by Brian Eadie, and Ryan Docherty headed over on the stretch at the back post.
Hutchison had to be on his toes to deal with a header back from Docherty after a long kick out by Prior almost caught out the home defence. Another long ball ball from Prior saw Eadie not clearing effectively, and Hutchison parried away Gary Livingstone's angled shot.
Half time : 0-1
Tony Fraser came on just after half time, and was soon into the action.
Both sides were unchanged for the start of the second half, but there was a big blow for Glencairn a minute into the second half as defender Andy Neil went down with a knee injury and was unable to continue, with Tony Fraser replacing him at left back in a straight swap.
Fraser was involved immediately, as his cross was helped by Batchelor into the path of Sean McGuire, and the midfielder's snap shot was blocked away by the legs of Prior in front of goal.
Kilsyth were temporarily down to ten men as Kevin McBride was forced off with injury, and Glencairn almost capitalised as McGuire burst into the penalty area on the right, but his attempt to square for Duffy was cut out by Prior. Grant Hamilton came on a few seconds later to replace Kevin McBride, restoring the visitors to their full eleven.
Paul McBride threatened to repeat his wonder goal just before the hour mark as he nicked the ball off Fraser and made a diagonal run towards the penalty area, but he pulled his shot harmlessly wide of the far post.
Glencairn's players were yelling for a penalty kick for handball when McNab challenged for a cross in the air, but the referee wasn't interested. Glencairn's second change came at the mid point of the second half and saw a change of shape, with striker Paddy Cullen replacing midfielder Danny Salah.
Duffy fired high and wide in the 70th minute after doing well to create space for himself on the edge of the penalty area, and a few minutes later Prior did well to punch clear from under his crossbar in a crowd of players, as Muir's curling corner looked inviting for attacking headers.
Damon Welsh replaced experienced striker Joe Barclay for Kilsyth, before Glencairn made their final change with Peter Copland replacing McGuire in midfield.
The referee ignored more penalty appeals by Glencairn in the 81st minute when defender Jordan Smith climbed all over the back of Duffy, preventing him jumping for a cross. Two minutes later Duffy linked well with McNab on the edge of the penalty area, but the big striker pulled his shot half a yard wide of the far post, to the frustration of the home supporters who thought an equaliser was on the cards when the shot slipped past Prior.
Glencairn continued to press forward and Kilsyth had been showing very little threat, but they were gifted a chance to double their lead when Docherty passed straight to Gary Kelly in the 83rd minute, but Kelly rushed his mis-hit shot and Hutchison saved comfortably.
Cullen tried a spectacular finish in the 86th minute after being set up for a shot by Copland, but his dipping shot didn't come down quickly enough and flew well over the crossbar. Glencairn threw more players forward, meaning they were likely to be caught at the back, and Gary Livingstone pounced on an error by Muir in the 89th minute, but slipped as he ran through on goal, saving the home midfielder's blushes.
Livingstone was replaced in the 90th minute by Keith Hogg as Kilsyth ran down the clock. The referee added on four minutes of stoppage time, and Glencairn went close as Docherty burst past two challenges and fired in a shot which Prior did well to save at his near post.
That was the last close thing and the referee blew for full time, sending the visitors home happy with three points, and the home support thinking "if only" yet again.
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Dunnachie, Neil (Fraser), Docherty, Eadie, Alan Muir, McNab, McGuire (Copland), Duffy, Batchelor, Salah (Cullen). (Subs not used - McCorry, Caughey.)
Kilsyth Rangers :- Prior, O'Neil, Kevin McBride (Hamilton), Doyle, Smith, McGee, Livingstone (Hogg), Kelly, Barclay (Welsh), Paul McBride, Pearson. (Sub not used - Prentice.)
Man of the match - (chosen by Tam Symon) Alan Muir.