Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn 3 Maryhill 2

Saturday 24th March 2018 - McBookie.com West Region Super League Division One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Maryhill 4

Del McNab is greeted by his team mates after scoring the winning goal for Glencairn.

The Glens were made to work hard for this crucial three points against bottom-placed Maryhill, but ultimately edged out their opponents to make it back-to-back wins and retain their place in the promotion play-off spots. It was a match full of talking points, including five goals, a red card, bad misses and good saves, with the result in doubt right to the end of stoppage time.

With manager Willie Harvey on holiday, assistant manager Joe Pryce chose to make three changes to the starting line-up after last week's battling away win at Darvel. One of the changes was enforced with defender Craig Palmer feeling stiffness in his neck, so he was replaced by Andy Neil. The other two changes were in midfield, with playmaker Jamie Hamilton and winger Ryan McArdle promoted from last week's substitutes bench, swapping places with Sean McGuire and Stewart Hall respectively.

Glencairn started positively and were keen to get the ball down and pass the ball at pace, and a fine move up the left was brought to a shuddering halt in the 4th minute as Joe Beckley's  rather blatant foul on Del McNab brought the 'Hill defender an early yellow card. A minute later a quick throw-in by McArdle to Gary Smith was fed into the path of Jordan Leyden who should have shot himself, but instead tried to pass across goal and the ball was cut out for a corner.

A long kick out by Jack Baker caught out the Maryhill defence in the 8th minute and Jay McKay was onto the ball in a flash, but the striker pulled his shot across goal and wide of the far post. The early pressure continued and Maryhill's defence were leading a charmed life in the 10th minute when first of all goalkeeper Ryan Mailey saved from Smith and McArdle's rebound hit the crossbar, followed by Mailey getting off the floor to block McArdle's second rebound shot.

The pressure had to tell, though, and Glencairn took a deserved lead in the 13th minute with a well-worked team goal. The ball was moved quickly across the grass from left to right, and McArdle produced a delicious pin-point cross onto the head of Gary Smith who nodded the ball past Mailey for his 15th goal of the season in only 12 starts.

Gary Smith

The Glens took their foot off the pedal somewhat after this, and the visitors started to have their first threatening spell of the match. Clever footwork on the left flank by Alistair Crawford forced a corner kick which was cleared at the second attempt by the home defence.

Smith should have doubled his and Glencairn's tally in the 23rd minute after a clever dummy by Leyden set the big striker up for a shot right in front of goal, but he blazed the ball over the crossbar with only Mailey to beat. Two minutes later some lovely link play between Smith and McKay ended with McKay through on goal, but Mailey stretched to his left to fingertip the shot round the post, the referee and his assistant being the only people in the ground who didn't see the very obvious save.

Maryhill 1

Ryan McArdle drives forward to set up another first half Glencairn attack.

Maryhill's threat was much more obvious now, though, and Frankie Owens' curling free kick was headed clear from in front of his own goal by Del McNab. 'Hill striker Ciaron Smith was catching the eye with his workrate and excellent hold-up play, and he turned past Rhys Donaldson in the 26th minute before firing a shot on target which Baker did well to parry round the post.

Baker had to produce another fine save two minutes later to deny his former team, stretching up  his left to palm Anthony Marenghi's on-target free kick over the crossbar. Maryhill, who were still looking for their first league win of the season, were clearly encouraged by this spell and grabbed an equaliser in the 33rd minute. This time Anthony Marenghi fired a low free kick from fully 30 yards, and the ball hit the net off the inside of the post with Baker appearing to see it too late to react.

It didn't take long for Glencairn to restore their lead, however. Hamilton turned away from his marker and ran at the heart of the defence before firing in a shot which rattled off the crossbar. The ball rebounded out to Jay McKay who calmly rolled the ball into the corner of the net to put Glencairn 2-1 ahead, his 11th goal of the season.

Jay McKay

Dale Clark of Maryhill became the second player to see yellow for a silly attempted kick, but the visitors didn't let their heads go down and battled right back into the game again in the 43rd minute. Marenghi's well-timed pass released Ciaron Smith in behind Neil, and the defender impeded Smith enough to put him to the floor, the referee immediately blowing for a penalty kick. Neil was shown a yellow card before Reece McGillion stepped up to send Baker the wrong way and bring the sides level again at 2-2.

'Hill were clearly fancying their chances now, and should have taken the lead just before the half time whistle. A cross from the right picked out the free head of Nick Emsley on the 6 yard line, and somehow he managed to miss the target when a goal seemed certain.

Half time : 2-2

Maryhill 3

Jamie Hamilton in early second half action.

Both sides stuck with the same players for the start of the second half, but Glencairn were sent out with a clear message from the management of the importance of coming back in with three points. They set about the task early as McNab's run down the left ended with him setting up Leyden for a shot which was sliced wide of goal in the 49th minute. A minute later a ball in behind the defence released the pace of McKay, but Mailey reached out to palm the shot round the post once again, the referee this time getting the award of a corner correct.

The pressure was building on the Maryhill defence again, and Leyden linked well with McKay who spun away from his marker twice before pulling his shot a yard wide of the target in the 51st minute. The momentum produced a result for Glencairn as they moved back in front again after 54 minutes. McKay slipped a pass to Del McNab on the left edge of the penalty area, and he placed his shot into the far corner of the net despite Mailey getting a hand to the ball.

 Del McNab Maryhill 2

Both teams made their first changes on the hour mark. Craig McGregor replaced Neil in defence for Glencairn, while Dean McKay replaced Clark for the visitors.

There was a feeling amongst the home support that, were their team to get a two-goal lead, then they would go on to win the game by a few goals. They continued to be wasteful in front of goal, however, with McKay firing just off target after fine link play between him and Smith.

Liam Gormley replaced McKay up front at the mid point of the second half, and five minutes later Glencairn played their final card as Stewart Hall replaced McArdle on the right flank.

The game was still far from won for Glencairn, and Maryhill started to get encouragement again as the match moved into the final 20 minutes. Owens and Marenghi linked well on the edge of the penalty area, and a fine interception by Donaldson cleared the danger.

Leyden was probably the pick of the midfield players for Glencairn on the day, and he tried his luck with a volley in the 75th minute which was deflected wide for another corner. The resulting cross found its way to the back post where Hall tried to force the ball over the line with his head, but Mailey smothered the ball amongst a crowd of players in front of the goal line.

Hamilton was shown a yellow card for a tug on an opponent as Maryhill threatened to break upfield. The frustration at not killing the game off was growing on the terracing, and that was exacerbated in the 78th minute as Hamilton set up Smith who only had Mailey to beat, but the 'Hill no.1 made another good block to keep his side in contention.

Mailey did well again two minutes later as he saved Hall's angled shot after a rare burst upfield by Donaldson. Somewhat surprisingly Maryhill took off Ciaron Smith with 10 minutes left on the clock, as the striker had been their most likely goal threat. He was replaced by Ryan Tiffney.

Any tactical plan that Maryhill manager John Hughes had for that substitution was blown apart only a minute later as 'Hill's first goal scorer Anthony Marenghi was shown a straight red card for abusive language towards the referee after not being awarded a free kick, Marenghi's shout being clearly heard all around the stadium. Maryhill's final change saw Martin McNicol replace 2nd goal scorer McGillion at left back a further minute later.

It seemed that the red card had stubbed out any remaining threat from the visitors, but they were gifted a golden opportunity to grab a point as the match moved into the first minute of stoppage time. Glens' no.1 Baker was adjudged to have handled the ball on his goal line before releasing it and then picking it up again, prompting the referee to award an indirect free kick to Maryhill on the 6 yard line, just inches wide of the left hand post.

The result of the game hinged on this moment, with Glencairn packing all eleven players onto the goal line. With everybody expecting a tap to the side and a firm shot, Maryhill cleverly rolled the ball ten yards to the right to set up a shot for goal, but Hamilton was aware enough to throw himself in front of the ball to make a game-winning block to what looked like a certain goal, and the ball rebounded to safety to the relief of the nervous black and white supporters.

Glencairn took play to the other end with Smith pulling a save out of Mailey with a low shot in the 93rd minute. But Hamilton's block had proved to be the crucial moment for The Glens and the referee blew for full time after three minutes of added time to secure a very important win.

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Baker, Kerr, Neil (McGregor), Donaldson, Fraser, Leyden, McArdle (Hall), Hamilton, Smith, McNab, McKay (Gormley). (Subs not used - McCall, McGuire.)

Maryhill :- Mailey, Beckley, McGillion (McNicol), McFarlane, Banks, Crawford, Clark (McKay), Marenghi, Smith (Tiffney), Owens, Emsley. (Subs not used - Rose, Bannerman, McQueen, McAllister (gk.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Bobby Sinclair) Jay McKay.

Jay McKay

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