Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Renfrew 3 Rutherglen Glencairn 1

Saturday 19th August 2017 - McBookie.com West Region Super League Division One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Renfrew 2

Jamie Hamilton probes for an opening in the first half.

It was a poor start to the league season for Glencairn as they tumbled to a 3-1 defeat away to Renfrew at New Western Park. Despite a very positive opening half hour and taking the lead, defensive deficiencies came back to haunt The Glens as the home side came back to claim all three points.

Willie Harvey made three changes to the team after Wednesday's game against Cambuslang Rangers. Gary Smith returned up front to partner Jay McKay, and Stewart Hall was preferred on the right of midfield to Del McNab. The final change was an enforced one as Andy Neil felt a twinge in his knee during the warm up, so he was left out as a precaution. This meant that club captain Tony Fraser had to drop in to Neil's centre back position, with Njabulo Ndlovu coming in to the midfield anchor role. Renfrew's starting XI contained former Glencairn striker Jamie Docherty and former Glencairn under 21 midfielder David Quinn, with two other former Glencairn men on the bench in defender Graeme Brown and under 21 midfielder Conor McGuiness.

The match started quietly with both teams battling for midfield possession and very little to talk about in terns of action in either penalty area. The match burst into life in the 7th minute, though, as The Glens took the lead with the first real chance of the match. Jamie Hamilton released Jay McKay on the right flank, and he swung over a perfect low cross for Gary Smith who didn't need to break stride as he fired past home no.1 Danny McLeay.

Gary Smith

It seemed as if The Glens were going to build on this positive start, and Smith linked with McKay again in the 9th minute, Smith's return pass just a little too heavy for McKay to latch onto. 'Frew responded with a cross from Gregor Wylie which picked out the head of Quinn at the back post, but he nodded narrowly wide of the far post, the referee bizarrely awarding a corner kick. The corner wasn't effectively cleared and the ball broke through for defender Thomas Miller who scuffed his shot in front of goal, to the relief of the Glencairn defence.

Smith almost doubled his tally in the 12th minute as he curled a free kick inches wide of the post (pictured below). Instead of Glencairn being two goals ahead, a minute later it was 1-1 as yet again the opposition were given a complete gift. A harmless looking long ball went straight to defender Craig McGregor, who tried to head the ball back to goalkeeper Jack Baker. However, McGregor succeeded only in nodding the ball straight to Jamie Docherty, who had time to control the ball, weigh up his options and then roll the ball past Baker for the equaliser.

Glencairn almost responded immediately as McKay blocked an attempted kick out by McLeay and controlled the ball as it dropped out of the air, but he then fired the ball into the side netting from a tight angle when better options were available. It was all action now after the quiet start, and Baker had to tip a dipping shot by Wylie over the bar only moments later.

Spectators on both sides were applauding some outstanding football in the 19th minute. Ryan McArdle's cross from the left picked out Smith who controlled the ball on his chest with his back to goal, and then unleashed an acrobatic overhead kick which was flying into the roof of the net until McLeay palmed it over the crossbar above his head. Two minutes later McLeay produced another brilliant save as he scrambled across to beat away McKay's back post header after an accurate cross by McArdle.

There was a disappointing dive just inside the penalty area by Quinn in the 28th minute as he tried to earn Renfrew a penalty, but the referee wasn't fooled and waved play on. The half hour mark saw Glencairn go close again as McArdle's cross from the right was met by the head of Hall, the ball looping up and just missing the junction of bar and post.

Renfrew should have gone in front in the 35th minute as Wylie volleyed over the crossbar from in front of goal after a cross had been deflected into his path. Five minutes later there was an even better chance for Renfrew as Dominic Innes was allowed to run through on goal despite looking well offside, but he fired high over the bar from right in front of goal when it seemed impossible to miss the target.

The home side were having a good spell now, and there were appeals for a penalty when Paddy O'Keefe went down under a challenge by Rhys Donaldson, but once again the referee shook his head. Moments later more defensive indecision resulted in Quinn firing in a shot on the turn which was blocked for another corner by the head of McGregor.

Half time : 1-1

Renfrew 1Gary Smith fires in a free kick which drops narrowly wide of the target.

There were no changes in personnel on either side for the start of the second half, but The Glens' fans were about to be left wondering where the side that had created so many chances in the opening half hour had gone. The bouncy pitch at New Western Park was causing players some issues with judgement on control, and Docherty had an early second half chance as he fired in an angled shot which Baker palmed away on the dive to his left.

Smith continued to be Glencairn's biggest threat, and he tried made McLeay work again with a free kick which curled over the wall, the home stopper palming the ball over the crossbar.  The Glens' defensive fragility was shown again in the 55th minute as a corner from the right was allowed to come right onto the head of Innes in front of goal, but he headed straight at Baker.

Hamilton was next to try his luck for Glencairn as he took advantage of a quickly taken free kick to fire in a shot from 25 yards, but McLeay was once again a match to the effort and saved above his head. Renfrew went straight back to the other end and a ball over the top of the defence was met on the drop by Docherty, but he volleyed well over.

The disjointed nature of Glencairn's second half play was summed up by the start of the move which led to Renfrew taking the lead. Ndlovu was caught in possession and Glencairn failed to get the ball back before Quinn's cross from the left was met by Jamie Docherty's glancing header at the near post to beat Baker and make it 2-1.

Glencairn made an immediate substitution with Del McNab a straight replacement for Hall on the right flank. Renfrew made a double change at the same time, Graeme Brown and Darren Jones replacing Fraser Barbour and David Quinn respectively.

The 68th minute saw Glencairn go 3-4-3 as Graham Boyd replaced Ndlovu, and the substitutions continued in the 72nd minute as Conor McGuiness replace O'Keefe in 'Frew's final change.

Boyd's flick in the 73rd minute released McKay on the left and he tried to tee up McNab at the back post, but the cross came behind McNab and the chance was spurned. Two minutes later Boyd found himself racing onto a through pass, but the alert McLeay raced out to block at Boyd's feet. Glencairn's final substitution came with ten minutes to go as Fraser Team replaced McKay.

Renfrew ended any doubts about the destination of the points in the 85th minute, and the nature of the goal came as no surprise to anybody watching Glencairn this season so far. A simple free kick cross from the left found its way to the free head of Jamie Docherty, and he nodded past Baker to complete his hat trick and rub further salt into his old club's wounds.

The game was over as a contest at that point, but Glencairn had one final chance to pull a goal back as Smith fired in another free kick, this time firing just over the crossbar.

It was some time after the game before anybody emerged from the Glencairn dressing room as the management held a prolonged post mortem on the afternoon's events. It's safe to say that there is some work to be done, but after only one league game the players are now under no illusions about how difficult securing one of the coveted four promotion spots is going to be.

Renfrew :- McLeay, Barbour (Brown), Gordon, Healy, Miller, MacLennan, Wylie, O'Keefe (McGuiness), Innes, Docherty, Quinn (Jones). (Subs not used - Cochrane, Burgess.)

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Baker, McGregor, Ndlovu (Boyd), Fraser, Donaldson, McGuire, Hall (McNab), Hamilton, Smith, McArdle, McKay (Team). (Subs not used - Grier, Bennett, McAllister (gk).)

Man of the match - (chosen by Tam Bennett) Gary Smith.

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