Saturday 25th April 2015 - Stagecoach West Region Super League Division One
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Jordan Dalzell's corner is punched clear by Maybole goalkeeper Scott Johnstone.
Glencairn's promotion hopes hang by a thread after a heavy defeat away to fellow contenders Maybole Juniors. The result leaves The Glens needing to win all four of their remaining league games to have any hope of grabbing a place in the top three, and even that may not be enough.
Willie Harvey made three changes to the starting line-up from Wednesday's dramatic 3-3 draw with Kirkintilloch Rob Roy. Marc Russell came back in at centre back to replace David Dunnachie who was unavailable, and Ross Ballantyne replaced Willie Galloway at right back. Brian Welsh was rested with Dean Muir coming in to take his place in the holding midfield role.
Glencairn were first to threaten in the 2nd minute when Del Esplin intercepted an attempted quick free kick and drove forward before releasing a pass towards Denis McLaughlin, but Maybole no.1 Scott Johnstone raced from his line to clear before the striker could shoot.
That was the only early threat from The Glens. though, as the home side asserted a control on the match, with Glencairn struggling to get forward and create any chances of note. David Cunningham showed his threat with a back header on target which JC Hutchison saved easily, and Glencairn's goalkeeper was also called into the action in the 6th minute to save Chris Allan's curling free kick.
Mark Doolan fired in a shot which was deflected for a corner in the 8th minute as the home side's early pressure continued, and the resulting cross was headed over his own crossbar by McLaughlin. The second cross came in lower, and the Glencairn defence didn't deal with it, allowing David Cunningham the space to fire the ball into the corner of the net and put the home side 1-0 ahead.
It was no more than the home side had deserved up to this point as Glencairn really hadn't got started in the game at all, and Muir put Hutchison in trouble with on over-hit passback in the 19th minute, the big stopper stretching to boot the ball wide for a corner.
Glencairn's frustration was clear in the 21st minute as Ross McNeil tried an over-ambitious shot from a 35-yard free kick, the ball flying off target almost twice as high as the crossbar.
Maybole's control on the match continued, and Scott Dinwoodie fired a shot over the crossbar after a good passing move, before Andy Neil was forced to clear from in front of goal after a dangerous cross by Allan had the Glencairn defence at full stretch once again. Dinwoodie once again tested Hutchison with a shot through a crowd of players, the ball saved on the goal line.
A rare Glencairn attack in the 29th minute saw McLaughlin's cross from the left breaking into the path of Esplin, but the midfielder's shot was pulled a yard wide of the target from 18 yards. The Glens were beginning to show some signs of settling at this stage, and McLaughlin's curled effort flew a yard high and wide of the far post.
Whenever Maybole got forward, though, there appeared to be a discomfort in the Glencairn rearguard. Marc Russell missed the ball in the air but Muir covered in behind him, only to gift the ball straight to Dinwoodie whose shot from 25 yards was straight at Hutchison.
Maybole deservedly doubled their lead in the 42nd minute when David Cunningham rose high above his marker to head a curled free kick into the far corner of the net.
A minute before the interval Hutchison had to race out to make a block from Andy Stevenson after Neil was short with a headed back pass, and Glencairn were fortunate to go into the break only two goals behind.
Half time : 2-0
Jonny Boal and Jordan Dalzell drive forward in a rare first half Glencairn attack.
The Glens made an enforced change at the interval with McNeil complaining of an injury, and he was replaced by Thomas Kilmartin.
The home side continued on the front foot at the start of the second half and Alan Love showed some good skill on the right before firing in an angle shot which Hutchison saved above his head.
Glencairn's fans who had made the journey down into Ayrshire were clinging onto the memory of the previous game's dramatic comeback from three goals behind, and they were given some hope of better things to come in the 48th minute when McLaughlin's cross was misjudged in the air by Johnstone and rebounded from the crossbar to safety.
Those hopes were raised even further only two minutes later as Glencairn pulled a goal back with a lovely team goal. Esplin's tenacity in midfield won possession and he fed the ball to McLaughlin, and the striker's first time flick released Sean McGuire into the penalty area. McGuire had the composure to look up and roll the ball across goal, where Thomas Kilmartin was waiting to place a calm first time finish past Johnstone from 12 yards.
The Glens fans' optimism lasted only a minute, though, as they watched their team hand the initiative straight back to Maybole. A ball in behind the defence saw Russell obey a clear shout from Hutchison that it was his ball, but home striker Chris Allan had other thoughts and got to the ball before the goalkeeper and dribbled round him before rolling the ball into the empty net to re-establish Maybole's two-goal lead at 3-1.
The home side continued to threaten from set pieces, and a corner from the left saw Hutchison punch away when Andy Stevenson seemed set to head in at the near post. The hour mark saw the first substitution with Glencairn changing to 4-3-3, midfielder Dean Muir replaced by Kris Irvine who took up a forward position with Kilmartin and McLaughlin.
Glencairn hadn't given up hope of recovering the match, and Kilmartin seemed particularly hungry for goals as his curling free kick in the 63rd minute had to be tipped round the post at full stretch by Johnstone. The resulting corner saw Johnstone punch partially clear and then make a brilliant block to deny McLaughlin's drilled goal-bound volley from 12 yards. It was much better from Glencairn now, and McGuire's volley on the turn in the 67th minute dipped just over the bar with Johnstone scrambling across goal.
The 69th minute, however, summed up how it just wasn't Glencairn's afternoon. Maybole broke upfield and Allan's cross from the left was sliced into his own net on the stretch from in front of goal net by Ross Ballantyne. To be fair to the Glencairn captain, there were two Maybole players lining up behind him to apply a finish, so it was a ball that he had to try and play.
Maybole made an immediate double change after their 4th goal, with strikers Cunningham and Allan withdrawn and replaced by Marc Dyer and George Wallace respectively. Glencairn also made their final change with Esplin withdrawn after receiving a yellow card and a further stern warning, with Brian Welsh the man replacing him in midfield.
Glencairn hadn't given up on the match and there was some hope again for the black and white fans in the 84th minute. Irvine's corner from the right was met on the 6-yard line by the free head of Thomas Kilmartin, and he nodded the ball down and into the net to make it 4-2.
Just as before, though, Maybole's response was emphatic as they went straight back up the field to score again. Glencairn just couldn't clear the lines despite several opportunities, and the ball broke into the path of Andy Stevenson who fired in the home side's fifth goal from 6 yards.
That was the end of the match as a contest at that point, but Maybole weren't finished yet. Just another minute later saw substitute Marc Dyer produce a quite sublime finish with a curled lob over the top of Hutchison and into the top right hand corner of the net.
The home side's final change came in the dying minutes with Aiden Keegan replacing the impressive Dinwoodie, before Maybole added a seventh goal in stoppage time to add to the Glencairn fans' agony. A free kick was rolled in behind Jonny Boal and fired across goal, where Andy Stevenson was waiting to fire into the net from a yard out.
The Glencairn players and management remained in the changing room with the door closed for some time after the match, and manager Willie Harvey emerged afterwards looking shell-shocked at what he had watched. He commented later, "I think I can only give pass marks to two players in the team today, we just didn't turn up. Defensively we were all over the place, and Maybole were sharper than us all over the park. We've had a talk in the changing rooms and we'll go again on Monday night. We have four games left, and we'll see where that takes us to."
Maybole Juniors :- Johnstone, Reid, Doolan, Peacock, Frame, Dinwoodie (Keegan), Cameron, Love, Stevenson, Allan (Wallace), Cunningham (Dyer). (Sub not used - Forde.)
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Ballantyne, Boal, Neil, Russell, Muir (Irvine), Esplin (Welsh), McGuire, McNeil (Kilmartin), McLaughlin, Dalzell. (Subs not used - Galloway, Donaghy.)
Man of the match - (chosen by Jim Keith) Sean McGuire.