Saturday 29th November 2014 - Stagecoach West Region Super League Division One
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Willie Galloway strides forward from right back to launch a Glencairn attack.
The Glens moved up to fourth place in the league table with this hard-fought win, Glencairn's first win over Maybole Juniors for five years. The result leaves The Glens level on points and goal difference with Cumbernauld United who are in the promotion play-off position in 3rd place, with United ahead of Glencairn only because they have scored more goals.
There were two changes to the starting line-up from last week's defeat to Cumbernauld, with David Dunnachie replacing Mark Bishop in central defence, and new signing Jonathan Boal coming in at left back in place of winger Kris Irvine. Willie Galloway reverted to his natural right back berth, with Jordan Dalzell pushed forward into the right midfield role to replace Irvine.
Maybole arrived at New Southcroft Park with a caretaker management team, with long-standing manager Peter Leonard and his backroom team having resigned last weekend. However, it didn't seem to affect the team much as they were very much on the front foot in the opening minutes, their 3-4-3 formation seeing striker Kenny Parris being the target with willing runners around him.
Despite the visitors' territorial advantage in the early stages, it was The Glens who created the first clear cut chance of the match in the 5th minute. A cross from the left was flicked on by Thomas Kilmartin to Ross McNeil and, although the striker's shot was blocked, the ball fell kindly for Dalzell, who scuffed his shot from 8 yards straight at the grateful Maybole goalkeeper Scott Johnston on his goal line.
Maybole continued to play with a lot of energy, and midfielder Robert Forde was pulling the strings. A clever diagonal pass by Forde in the 8th minute saw Mark Armour get in behind Galloway and slide the ball past Glencairn goalkeeper JC Hutchison, only to see the ball roll across the face of goal and wide of the far post. A few seconds later Galloway did well to block a drilled shot by Scott Dinwoodie which looked to be goal-bound.
Hutchison had to be on his toes in the 12th minute to race from his line to deny Parris as he burst through on goal. Three minutes later Armour tried an audacious hook volley on the turn but fired well over the bar from 12 yards, but the momentum was continuing with the away side.
Gradually, though, The Glens began to settle into the game, and Keiran Donaghy's cross in the 17th minute looked like it was heading straight onto the head of Kilmartin until Maybole defender John Frame stretched his neck muscles to head flick the ball away for a corner. Four minutes later McNeil went close as he cut inside his marker and curled a shot half a yard over the bar.
There was a blow for The Glens on the half hour mark as influential midfielder Del Esplin had to leave the field feeling unwell. He was replaced by Jamie MacLeod who went to the left wing, with Donaghy switching to the right and Dalzell moving into the centre beside Sean McGuire.
Jamie MacLeod in first half action.
Boal surged forward from left back in search of a debut goal in the 31st minute, and he drilled a shot from 20 yards which was a few inches too high as it fizzed past Johnston. Four minutes later, at the other end, Dinwoodie had another chance to fire in a shot from the same position as earlier, but this time he scuffed his shot six yards wide of the target as Glencairn players closed him down.
Hutchison produced a great save in the 40th minute to keep the scoreline blank as Parris latched onto a lobbed ball over the defence and tried to lob the Glencairn no.1, the big stopper getting a hand to parry the effort and then reacting well to smother the loose ball before any rebound attempt could be made.
Glencairn almost took the lead on the stroke of half time as Boal worked his way to the bye line and crossed from the left. Kilmartin got in front of his marker to glance a header, but the ball flashed across the face of goal and wide.
Half time : 0-0
There were no further personnel changes at the interval, but the second half started the same as the first with Maybole pressing, and Dinwoodie fired a shot on the turn wide in the 46th minute.
The deadlock was broken in the 54th minute, however, and in an unexpected fashion as The Glens were awarded a free kick wide on the right. Keiran Donaghy produced a precise delivery towards the 6 yard line and, despite several players rising to challenge for the ball, it missed everybody including goalkeeper Johnston and dropped into the net at the back post to give Glencairn a 1-0 lead.
Maybole tried to respond quickly and Dunnachie was harshly booked for handball on the edge of the penalty area before the resulting free kick was fired high and wide.
The match was really hotting up now, and Glencairn had a golden chance to put themselves on "easy street" on the hour mark. MacLeod's burst into the penalty area was ended with a block by Johnston, but the ball broke free to Kilmartin who rolled the ball into the path of McNeil. The striker seemed certain to score, but defender Mark Doolan got back onto the goal line to block the shot with his arm. The referee immediately blew for a penalty kick and produced a red card for Doolan.
It took almost two minutes for the spot kick to be taken, however, as the referee seemed to want to get involved in an unnecessary debate with some Maybole players. When the kick was eventually taken, McNeil's effort was parried away by Johnston down low to his left.
Ross McNeil sees his penalty kick saved by Maybole goalkeeper Scott Johnston.
Despite playing with only ten men now, Maybole's morale had been boosted by the penalty save, and the Glencairn supporters were left wishing that McNeil's initial shot had hit the net instead of Doolan, and their side would have had the comfort of a two-goal lead. Maybole made a change with David Cunningham coming on to replace Armour as they adjusted their shape to suit their one-man disadvantage.
The warning signs were there for Glencairn that the game was far from won, and Hutchison came to the rescue again in the 65th minute. Andy Neil was short with a pass back, allowing Dinwoodie to pounce and shoot, but Hutchison reacted brilliantly to parry the ball round the post. The warnings weren't heeded, however, and only a minute later a lapse in concentration allowed Robert Paterson space to fire a dipping shot over Hutchison and into the net to make it 1-1.
Glencairn went on the front foot to try to regain the lead as quickly as possible, Johnston denying McNeil in the 70th minute, and four minutes later Kilmartin showed clever feet to get to the bye line and cross for McNeil who volleyed just wide at the near post.
Willie Harvey decided an extra push for the winner was required as Denis McLaughlin was introduced up front and Donaghy withdrawn as The Glens went with three strikers and MacLeod tucked in behind them. McLaughlin almost had an instant impact on the game as he was set up for a shot by Kilmartin, but he fired over the bar from 18 yards.
The change paid off in the 77th minute as Glencairn regained the lead. Galloway pushed forward from right back and got to the bye line before swinging in a cross. The ball was flicked on at the near post into the path of Ross McNeil whose first effort was blocked, but he reacted quickly to stab the ball over the line from close range for his 6th goal in four matches since signing.
Four minutes later The Glens made the game safe as they took a two-goal lead. A ball over the top saw Thomas Kilmartin beat the offside trap, and he rounded Johnston before rolling in his 4th goal of the season.
Maybole's resistance had finally been broken and there was no way back into the match for them now. The rest of the match was played out with little in the way of major incident, and The Glens fans went home happy with the fourth win out of six home matches played in the league this season so far.
Willie Harvey wasn't entirely happy at full time, although he was clearly pleased to have the points tucked away. He commented, "It's good to be climbing back up into a challenging position again. I was disppointed that we didn't keep a clean sheet, particularly against ten men. But I was happy with how we played in the second half in particular, and Jonny Boal looked as if he has been in the team all season."
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Galloway, Boal, Neil, Dunnachie, McGuire, Dalzell, Esplin (MacLeod), McNeil (Gilmartin), Kilmartin, Donaghy (McLaughlin). (Subs not used - Hollis, Al Naeme (gk).)
Maybole Juniors :- Johnston, Reid, Doolan, Frame, Cargill, Forde, Dinwoodie, Cameron, Parris, Paterson, Armour (Cunningham). (Subs not used - Dyer, Peacock, Stevenson, Barclay (gk).)
Man of the match - (chosen by Alison Carruthers) Thomas Kilmartin.