Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club


Rutherglen Glencairn 3 Larkhall Thistle 4

Wednesday 23rd September 2015 - Friendly match

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Larkhall Thistle

Paddy Cullen fires his first half penalty kick wide of the target.

The Glens threw away a two-goal half time lead as they slipped to a 4-3 friendly defeat to Larkhall Thistle. It's fair to say that very few people who had watched the first half, which included two missed penalty kicks for Glencairn and a string of missed chances, would have predicted the final score at the interval, but it was the visitors who finished strongly to win the match after a lacklustre second half performance by the hosts.

Willie Harvey made eight changes to the starting line-up from the weekend's league match, as he gave valuable pitch time to several players who have been on the fringe of the team in recent weeks, and also a couple of trialists. Andy Neil, Paul Doyle and Adam Nisanci were the only players to keep their starting places.

Larkhall started brightly, and Glencairn's defence had to be on their toes to keep out the threat posed particularly by wide man Liam Thomson who was sending in some testing deliveries from the right wing, one in particular which flashed across goal with nobody there to apply a finish.

The visitors were gifted the opportunity to take the lead in the 15th minute when Glencairn's Trialist no.7 brought down Matthew Clarke on the edge of the penalty area, and Garry McStay stepped up to calmly send goalkeeper Robert Kerr the wrong way from the penalty spot.

This seemed to awaken Glencairn from their lethargy, and they hit back at Larkhall with three goals in a five-minute spell to take control of the proceedings. Mark McCarry fired in the equaliser in the 18th minute when he capitalised on an error by Thistle goalkeeper David Thomson to fire an angled shot into the empty net.

Mark McCarry Mark McCarry

Two minutes later The Glens were in front when Thomson could only parry Chris Zok's shot on the turn into the path of Glencairn's Trialist no.7, who fired the rebound under Thomson from ten yards out.

The spell of pressure and goals continued when Paul O'Connor's corner from the right was met on the half volley by Paul Doyle, and the ball flashed past Thomson and into the net at the near post to make it 3-1 to The Glens.

Paul Doyle Paul Doyle 

It seemed at this stage that Glencairn could score any number of goals in the match, as O'Connor went close again before Trialist no.7 rounded Thomson but was blocked out by a late sliding challenge. The Glens were awarded a penalty kick on the half hour mark when former Glencairn defender Neil Schoneville was penalised for a tackle on Trialist no.7, but Paddy Cullen scuffed his shot wide of the target (pictured at top).

Larkhall gave a reminder of their threat in the 37th minute when Schoneville headed narrowly wide from a corner. A minute later, however, the referee pointed to the penalty spot for Glencairn again when Zok was upended on the edge of the box. Zok grabbed the ball this time, but he couldn't score either, hitting a weak shot which Thomson blocked away with his legs.

The pressure continued from The Glens, with Trialist no.7 seeing a close range header blocked on the line, then Zok's glancing header was palmed away by Thomson on the goal line and the rebound attempt was deflected into the side netting.

Half time : 3-1

There were two changes for Glencairn at the interval, with left back Jonny Boal replacing Neil (Brian Eadie moving to central defence), and Trialist no.18 replaced Trialist no.7.

Nisanci was first to go close in the second half when he fired over the bar from 20 yards, and then at the other end Doyle had to make an excellent block to deny Brian Jack, the ball bouncing fortunately up into the arms of goalkeeper Kerr.

Glencairn made another double change in the 55th minute with midfielders Sean McGuire and Mark Batchelor replacing O'Connor and Nisanci in the centre of the pitch, and shortly afterwards strikers Denis McLaughlin and Mark Tait replaced Cullen and McCarry. McGuire almost made an instant impact as he linked with Cullen just inside the penalty area and flashed his first touch of the ball across goal and narrowly wide of the far post.

The game should have been out of sight for The Glens long before the hour mark, but Thistle brought themselves right back into contention in the 62nd minute with a well worked goal by two substitutes. Josh Payne's run took him past several players before he fed the ball into the path of Ryan Innes, who produced an impressive drilled finish from 20 yards to make it 3-2.

Glencairn almost responded straight away with Graeme Brown getting to the bye line and cutting back into the path of McLaughlin who fired over the bar from 12 yards when he really should have burst the net. Batchelor's shot from 20 yards was well smothered by Thomson with Zok breathing down his throat ready to pounce on any slip.

Adam Shaw replaced Brown at right back in The Glens' final change. Thistle levelled the match in the 74th minute when a corner from the left was headed into the net at the near post by Garry McStay, and a match which was a bit of a "no contest" in the first half was suddenly there to be won by both sides.

The momentum was very much with Thistle now, though, and Glencairn couldn't recover their first half ability to create chances, although Tait did go close with a run and shot from distance which dipped a couple of inches over the crossbar.

Somebody was going to grab a winner, and it came as no surprise that it came from Larkhall, given the change in the flow of the game. The decisive goal arrived with five minutes left on the clock. Once again it came from a cross which was this time met by the head of Ryan Innes from close range to win the match at 4-3.

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Kerr, Brown (Shaw), Eadie, Neil (Boal), Doyle, O'Connor (Batchelor), Trialist (Trialist), Nisanci (McGuire), Zok, Cullen (McLaughlin), McCarry (Tait).

Larkhall Thistle :- David Thomson, Doyle, Burns, Marshall, Schoneville, Kelly, Liam Thomson, Jack, McStay, Clarke, McKeever. (Subs - Reynolds, Nicol, Innes, Reid, Gracie, Payne, Brown, Colquhoun (gk).)

Man of the match - (chosen by Tony Fraser) Mark McCarry.


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