Saturday 3rd October 2015 - West Region Super League Division One
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Mark Tait is denied by Thistle goalkeeper Ross Lundy.
The Glens slumped five places down the league table to 2nd bottom after a heavy home defeat to Largs Thistle who kept up their 100% start to the league season.
Glencairn manager Willie Harvey made three changes to the starting XI from the last league game two weeks previously. Full backs Adam Shaw and Jonny Boal were replaced by Graeme Brown and Brian Eadie respectively, and striker Paddy Cullen was preferred up front to Denis McLaughlin. There was a place on the substitutes' bench for Adam Muir as he made his return to the squad after a few weeks out injured.
The match was fairly even in the opening stages with little to talk about in terms of goalmouth incidents until the 7th minute, when Thistle passed up a clear chance to take the lead. Glens defender Andy Neil was caught in possession by striker Alan Frizzell who ran through on goal with only JC Hutchison to beat, but his shot slipped inches wide of the post to Neil's relief.
The Glens' first effort on goal came in the 12th minute when Sean McGuire battled his way across the edge of the penalty area, and Tony Fraser fired in a shot which Thistle no.1 Ross Lundy saved in front of goal. Persistent play by Eadie on the edge of the penalty area in the 19th minute ended with a good cross which Cullen glanced wide of the far post.
Largs almost opened the scoring at the mid point of the first half when a diagonal pass by Larry McMahon released Gary Phillips on the left, and his cross was headed just off target by Frizzell at the near post, under good defensive pressure by Neil.
The first goal arrived in the 24th minute, as the visitors pressed high up the park and forced Glencairn to concede possession cheaply. James Marks fired in a cross from the bye line, and the ball bounced kindly into the path of Larry McMahon who fired a decisive angled finish into the roof of the net to give Thistle a deserved 1-0 lead.
Marks almost doubled Largs' lead on the half hour mark as his dipping shot beat Hutchison but rebounded from the outside of the far post. Glencairn had a good chance to equalise in the 35th minute as Tait worked his way to the bye line and cut the ball back into the path of McGuire, but the midfielder's shot on the stretch was saved on the goal line by Lundy.
The Glens paid the price for that miss only two minutes later as Thistle grabbed their second goal. A corner from the right found the head of Marks at the back post. It seemed like Neil was going to clear on the goal line, but the ball rebounded off Nicky Jamieson from close range and flew into the net.
Mark Tait headed over from Brown's cross as Glencairn tried to get back into the match before the interval, and Lundy saved on the stretch from McGuire's attempted chipped finish in first half stoppage time.
Half time : 0-2
Glencairn made two changes at the interval, with McLaughlin replacing Cullen up front, and Alan Muir replacing Eadie as the team's shape changed to a back three, with Paul Doyle sweeping behind Brown and Neil.
The visitors wasted no time in getting into their stride in the second half, and the match should have been out of sight in the 47th minute. Hutchison made a good parry to beat away Phillips' shot, but the ball rebounded to McMahon who blasted over when he should have burst the net.
Neil went close to bringing Glencairn back into the match in the 49th minute as he got his head to a cross from the left, but the ball flashed narrowly wide from the 12 yard header.
Hutchison kept Glencairn in the game again in the 58th minute as he blocked Graham Muir's shot after more good work by McMahon. A minute later, at the other end, Lundy made a great block to deny what looked like a certain goal for Tait (pictured at top).
Largs continued to pass up chances to score a third goal as Marks dispossessed Neil but chose to take a touch too many, allowing the defender to get back to block. Hutchison was keeping the contest alive for his team as he denied Marks again in the 63rd minute after the striker was gifted the ball from a poor pass back by Alan Muir.
A goal back for Glencairn would have set up an interesting final quarter, and Tait almost grabbed it as he slid in on Fraser's cross, but he couldn't direct the ball on target as he stretched full length and the ball ran wide of goal.
Thistle got the third goal and killed the game as a contest in the 65th minute. Once again McMahon was the creator as he burst into the box on the right and squared for Alan Frizzell, who held off a couple of challenges before turning and firing into the net at the near post.
Largs' first change came at the mid point of the second half, with Jamie McDonald replacing Gary Fleming who was on a yellow card. Glencairn responded with their final change, striker Mark McCarry replacing midfielder McGuire as they tried what they could to rescue the match. With 16 minutes remaining, Thistle made their final changes with Matthew Santos and Sean Pierce coming on for Graham Muir and Marks.
Glencairn's day was summed up in the 76th minute as Tait was denied again by Lundy when clean through, and McLaughlin's rebound effort was palmed by Lundy and then headed off the line by McMahon. A couple of minutes later Lundy made another double save, blocking Fraser's free kick and then getting up to deny Tait's rebound effort.
McLaughlin was next to try his luck as he got on the end of Fraser's cross, but his shot was blocked for a corner by a resolute Thistle defence which was being well marshalled by the experience of player/manager Bryan Slavin at sweeper. McCarry fired over from 16 yards in the 80th minute when he should have hit the target.
Fraser tried his luck with another free kick from 20 yards in the 85th minute, but Lundy was once again a match to the shot.
Thistle rubbed salt into Glencairn's wounds in stoppage time as they made it 4-0, the ball being crossed from the right and leaving Matthew Santos with the easy task of scoring at the back post past a helpless Hutchison.
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Brown, Eadie (Alan Muir), Doyle, Neil, Dean Muir, McGuire (McCarry), Batchelor, Tait, Cullen (McLaughlin), Fraser. (Subs not used - Nisanci, Kerr (gk).)
Largs Thistle :- Lundy, McMahon, Slavin, Gilbride, Jamieson, Fleming (McDonald), Muir (Santos), Thomson, Marks (Pierce), Frizzell, Phillips. (Subs not used - McClure, Matthews (gk).)
Man of the match - (chosen by Peter Ferguson) JC Hutchison.