Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Maybole Juniors 1 Rutherglen Glencairn 2

Saturday 17th October 2015 - McBookie.com West Region Super League Division One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Maybole Juniors 2

Paul Doyle (left) goes close for Glencairn with a header in the first half.

The Glens got their first league win of the season with a gritty display away to Maybole Juniors. It was a "sleeves rolled up" performance from Glencairn which pleased the loyal black and white support who had made the effort to travel down the A77, and the fans made their voices heard at the winning goal and at the final whistle when a deserved win was confirmed.

There were four enforced changes to the starting line-up from last week's cup defeat, with the three players taken to hospital in the previous game not available for selection. Sean McGuire returned to the centre of midfield with Alan Muir moved to the left to replace Jonny Boal. Andy Neil returned in central defence to replace David Dunnachie, and Graeme Brown came in at right back in place of Adam Shaw. The other change saw Mark Batchelor returning to the team with Dean Muir unavailable. Denis McLaughlin and Mark Tait retained the strikers roles, but there was also a place on the substitutes' bench for one of the two trialist strikers who had scored in the midweek friendly match.

Both sides took some time to feel each other out in the early stages with little goal threat at either end, until a soft free kick was awarded to Maybole in the 9th miniute and James Cuthbertson headed over the bar from close range. The home side were narrowly edging the game territorially at this point, but The Glens were looking strong and determined in defence, with the experience of Paul Doyle marshalling behind the ever-reliable Neil.

The Glens absorbed the early possession from the home side and gradually worked their way into more threatening positions. Denis McLaughlin tried a shot from 25 yards which was deflected wide for a corner. The home side were playing a very high defensive line, sometimes almost on the halfway line, and they were caught out in the 14th minute when Mark Tait ran from his own half onto a perfectly timed pass, but home goalkeeper Grant Weir made a good block to deny the striker. The resulting corner was met by the head of Paul Doyle and the ball flashed just over the crossbar (pictured at top).

The offside trap was sprung once again in the 15th minute as Glencairn took the lead. Tait did well to retain possession before slipping the ball through to a trademark supporting run by Mark Batchelor, and the midfielder fired the ball past Weir from 14 yards (pictured below).

Maybole Juniors 1 Mark Batchelor 

Mark Batchelor fires Glencairn into the lead.

Maybole tried to respond immediately and, when a corner from the right was punched out by goalkeeper JC Hutchison, Alan Love should have done better than firing well over the bar with a free shot from 20 yard out. There was a real stroke of good fortune for Glencairn in the 20th minute when a cross from the right was headed by Michael Reilly, and the ball rebounded from the inside of the far post and bounced straight back up into Hutchison's grateful arms.

Weir raced from his line to deny another surging run from deep by Batchelor in the 25th minute before Steven Shankland fired tamely into the side netting at the other end to spoil a clever training ground set piece move by the home side.

McGuire forced his way to the edge of the penalty area in the 29th minute before setting up Tait in space in the penalty area, but the striker chose to try to set up McLaughlin instead of shooting himself, and defender John Frame blocked the ball in front of goal.

Maybole continued to flirt  defensively with the assistant referee's offside flag, and Tait almost got clear on two occasions as half time approached, only to be denied by narrow but correct offside decisions. McLaughlin fed Adam Nisanci in the 40th minute, and he got to the bye line before crossing low across goal, but the home defence managed to scrambled the ball clear.

Half time 0-1

 Maybole Juniors 3 

Denis McLaughlin was involved in many of Glencairn's first half attacks.

The good work of the first half by Glencairn was undone by a sloppy start to the second half as Maybole equalised in the 47th minute. Aidan Connor skipped past a few tackles on the edge of the penalty area before slipping the ball into the penalty area, and the ball was crossed to the back post where Andy Stevenson slid in to convert from close range. There were claims for offside by the Glencairn defenders, but they were waved away and the goal was awarded.

Glencairn didn't let their heads go down, however, and continued to believe in their ability to win the match. Batchelor once again surged forward from midfield and linked with Tait before firing in a low shot under pressure from a defensive tackle, Weir saving in front of his goal.

Tait pulled a save out of Weir with a shot from 18 yards in the 61st minute, and the whole ground were applauding some delightful football in the 64th minute. The move started with a pass from Nisanci to Muir, and his cross picked out McLaughlin at the back post. The striker met the cross with a sweet volley which hit the target, but Weir dived to his left to palm the ball round the post.

The Glens were the side creating the clearer opportunities now, and Muir's corner caught out Weir and almost dropped into the net at the back post, missing the target by a few inches.

Maybole made the first substitution with Marc Camerson replacing Gordon Whittaker, and The Glens made a double change in the 70th minute. Trialist no.12 came on up front to replace Tait, and injured Eadie was replaced at left back by Tony Fraser.

The trialist introduced a fresh threat to the home defence, and he was heavily involved in the move which led to Glencairn regaining the lead in the 76th minute. McLaughlin took possession on the edge of the penalty area, and he lifted a lovely cross onto the head of Trialist no.12. The diving header was parried away by Weir, but first to react to the loose ball was Graeme Brown who drilled the ball past Weir at his near post to put Glencairn 2-1 ahead.

Graeme Brown Graeme Brown

Glencairn now had a lead to hold onto again, and Maybole almost immediately changed to three at the back as Roddy Paterson replaced defender Ross Goodwin. Paterson had a big chance to equalise in the 80th minute, but he chose to try to pass instead of shooting at the end of a lovely passing move, and the chance was spurned.

Muir's free kick from the left in the 84th minute was just slightly over-cooked as Nisanci tried to get on the end of it, volleying wide on the stretch at the back post. Maybole swept quickly to the other end, and Michael Reilly had time to pick his spot for a shot, but his effort was cleared off the line as the Glencairn defence continued to stand strong.

The Glens' final change came in the 90th minute as they tried to run down the clock, Paul O'Connor replacing Muir. The referee added on over five minutes of stoppage time as Maybole threw the kitchen sink at their visitors.

There were nervous faces all around the Glencairn contingent as the home side were awarded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area in the 94th minute. The initial shot was blocked by the defensive wall and, as the rebound cross came in, the offside flag went up against Stevenson, to the relief of the black and white faithful as the loose ball was fired into the net. There was still time for one more chance for Maybole as Brown didn't effectlvely clear, but Paterson fired his shot well over the bar when he really should have hit the target from 12 yards out.

That was the last chance, and the cheers that went up from the Glencairn support at the final whistle in the 6th minute of stoppage time were ones of relief as well as delight, as a vital three points were secured.

Maybole Juniors :- Weir, Goodwin (Paterson), Whittaker (Cameron), Doolan, Frame, Love, Cuthbertson, Stevenson, Shankland, Reilly, Connor. (Sub not used - Thomson.)

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Brown, Eadie (Fraser), Doyle, Neil, McGuire, Nisanci, Batchelor, McLaughlin, Tait (Trialist), Alan Muir (O'Connor). (Subs not used - McCarry, Kerr (gk).)

Man of the match - (chosen by Kenny Paul) Andy Neil.

Andy Neil Andy Neil

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