Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn 1 Kilwinning Rangers 4

Saturday 28th May 2016 - McBookie.com West Region Super League Division One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Kilwinning Rangers 1

Sean McGuire in typically tenacious action early in the first half.

Glencairn's league season was wrapped up with a home defeat to a highly motivated Kilwinning Rangers side, who came to The Celsius Stadium needing a win to keep up their hopes of automatic promotion. Only a ten-goal winning margin for The Glens stood in the way of a guaranteed place in the top three for The Buffs, meaning a play-off place was as good as theirs at least prior to kick off.

With their hard work of securing their league status having already been done last week, The Glens' match squad was showing the effects of playing thirteen games in the past six weeks, with two u21 players starting and another two u21 players on a substitutes' bench which consisted of only three fit players plus two other players who were named but not stripped.

Prior to kick off, the club paid its respects to popular junior football supporter Marcus Whitelaw with a minute's silence and the club flag at half mast. Marcus had tragically died a couple of weeks previously, with over 600 people attending his funeral the day before the match.

Minute's silence for Marcus Whitelaw Flag at hakf mast for Marcus Whitelaw

After an even start to the match with nothing to talk about in terms of goalmouth incident, Kilwinning took the lead in the 6th minute with the first serious attempt on goal by either side. A crossfield pass picked out the run of striker Ross Stewart, and he cut inside Josh McCorry before firing an accurate finish past JC Hutchison to make it 1-0 to The Buffs.

Perhaps that made the visitors feel it was going to be an easy afternoon for them, but they were made to think again just a couple of minutes later as The Glens equalised, also with their first real effort at goal. Tony Fraser's corner from the left was met by a front post run by top goal scorer Mark Batchelor, and his glancing header beat goalkeeper Adam Strain as it hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced over the line. It was Batchelor's tenth goal of a productive season for the midfielder.

Mark Batchelor Mark Batchelor

The early pattern of the match continued, with little happening other than goals ! Kilwinning regained the lead in the 13th minute with a controversial goal. Dean Agnew's cross from the left was controlled well in the middle by Ben Lewis, and he fired in a shot which was deflected into the path of Ricky Hanvey who looked to be well offside, but the flag stayed down and the midfielder fired into the net. Fraser was shown a yellow card for his protest to the assistant referee, but most observers at that end of the ground were claiming it was clearly offside.

A dangerous whipped free kick by Fraser almost picked out the head of David Dunnachie in the 20th minute, but Jamie Anderson did just enough to make sure the big Glens defender couldn't get his head on the ball. There was a blow for Glencairn as the squad was weakened further as Alan Muir limped off with a hamstring strain, and he was replaced by Paddy Cullen as The Glens were forced to change to a 4-4-2 formation. Kilwinning also made a change at the same time, with Barry Fleeting replacing left back Boyd.

Kilwinning Rangers 2

Danny Salah in first half action.

The pace and trickery of Dean Agnew was now creating openings for The Buffs, and he turned away from his marker in the 22nd minute before firing across the face of goal and wide. An awkward bounce of the ball denied Sean McGuire the chance to shoot after a good passing move by Glencairn up the left flank.

Agnew continued to threaten and his dipping shot from 22 yards was carefully watched by Hutchison and saved on the goal line. Hutchison denied Agnew again in the 27th minute with a full length dive to his left to parry away a curling goal-bound shot. Hanvey then fired a low skimming free kick narrowly wide of the target from 20 yards.

Batchelor had a great chance to equalise again just after the half hour mark as one of his trademark supporting runs from midfield was picked out by Duffy's pass, but the ball bobbled just as he fired his shot, and the ball rose high over the crossbar and out onto the railway line.

Buffs defender Tommy Maitland tried to match Batchelor at the other end a few minutes later as his wild volley flew a couple of yards over the changing room building and out into the car park. Hutchison had to be aware on the stroke of half time as Agnew's shot was deflected off Danny Salah and looped up into the air, but the Glencairn no.1 reached back to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Half time : 1-2

Kilwinning Rangers 3

Ryan Docherty heads clear for Glencairn just before half time.

Glencairn were forced into using their other two substitutions at the interval, with full backs McCorry and Brian Eadie unable to continue, and replaced by Peter Copland and Mark McHendry respectively. McHendry slotted into right back for his first team debut, while Fraser moved to left back. Copland was employed on the right of midfield, with Salah moving over to the left.

The visitors were happy not to chase the game too much as they protected their one-goal lead, and there was somewhat of a stalemate in the opening stages of the second half, with Ryan Docherty solid as ever in defence for Glencairn. Salah's corner in the 58th minute saw Dunnachie head back across goal with nobody on the end of it, and a couple of minutes later Salah's clipped cross almost picked out the run of Cullen, defender Isaac Kerr doing just enough to knock the ball away from the lurking striker.

A weak free kick effort by Lewis was fired straight into the wall when the travelling support had expected a lot better, but the Buffs fans were shouting again a few minutes later. Stewart went down inside the penalty area under a strong tackle by McGuire and there were loud shouts for a penalty kick, but the referee correctly waved away the appeals as McGuire had very clearly played the ball cleanly.

As the heat of the sunny afternoon increased, Glencairn visibly tired as the match went on, and it was no surprise that Kilwinning ended the match stronger. The lead was increased to 3-1 in the 70th minute as Glencairn failed to clear a bouncing ball, and Ross Stewart swivelled to fire into the net off the inside of the post with Hutchison wrong-footed.

There was a hint of a chance for The Glens when Duffy was released on the left in the 72nd minute, but a defender's block took all of the pace out of the shot, and Strain saved easily. Kilwinning made it 4-1 in the 74th minute, as Dean Agnew got a reward for his fine work during the game by pouncing on some slackness and firing into the roof of the net.

That was Agnew's final contribution to the game as he was immediately replaced by Kyle Cumming. Batchelor continued to threaten for Glencairn, and he went close again with a diagonal shot which had Strain diving at full stretch, but the ball slipped narrowly wide of goal. McHendry should have scored a debut goal for Glencairn in the 82nd minute as he was picked out by Fraser for a free header, but he mis-directed his effort well wide from 8 yards.

Chris McGowan replaced Stewart in Kilwinning's final change as the match drew to a close, but the points had already been safely secured by this point, and word had filtered through that Cumnock Juniors were also winning, so there was to be no promotion party for The Buffs this afternoon at least.

The referee blew for full time after only a couple of added minutes, and The Glens now have to wait to see the result in midweek of Cumnock Juniors v Cumbernauld United to determine if they maintain their record of always finishing in the top half of the table in this highly competitive league.

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, McCorry (Copland), Eadie (McHendry), Docherty, Dunnachie, Alan Muir (Cullen), Salah, McGuire, Duffy, Batchelor, Fraser. (Subs not used - Neil, Brown.)

Kilwinning Rangers :- Strain, Coleman, Boyd (Fleeting), Kerr, Maitland, Hanvey, Agnew (Cumming), Anderson, Stewart (McGowan), Lewis, Boylan. (Subs not used - Burns, Cashmore.)

Man of the match - (chosen by George Ferguson) Ryan Docherty.

Ryan Docherty Ryan Docherty

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