Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn 2 Troon 2

Saturday 4th November 2017 - McBookie.com West Region Super League Division One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Troon 3

Tony Fraser made his 200th competitive appearance for Glencairn.

Glencairn moved up two places in the league table with the point gained from this home draw against 4th placed Troon, but the home players and supporters headed home very disappointed that they hadn't secured all three points. Having led for the majority of the match, The Glens had to settle for a draw as the visitors fought back to equalise towards the end of the game.

There was only one change to the starting team after last week's demolition of Glentanar in the Scottish Junior Cup, goalkeeper Jack Baker returning in place of KP McAllister. It was a highly significant day, however, for club captain Tony Fraser, as he led the team out for what would be his 200th competitive appearance for the club. The skies above The Celsius Stadium indicated their approval as the teams emerged from the changing rooms.

Troon 1

The Glens wasted no time in imposing themselves on the match, and just like last week they took the lead with their first attempt on goal in the 2nd minute. Stewart Hall swung over a cross from the right, and Gary Smith rose at the near post to glance a fine header into the far corner of the net.

Gary Smith

Troon tried to respond quickly and Glencairn no.1 Jack Baker did well to dive out to cut out a dangerous cross by Scott McLean in the 7th minute. The warning wasn't heeded, however, and the Ayrshire side were level only a minute later. A deep cross from the right came to McLean at the back post, and his effort was deflected out into the path of Dean Fulton who couldn't miss from right in front of goal.

The all-action start to the game continued as Smith went close again for Glencairn a minute later, fizzing a low shot which skimmed past the post. Smith was a real potent threat early in the game, and he rattled the crossbar with a free kick from 20 yards in the 12th minute.

There was a blow for Glencairn in the 17th minute as in-form midfielder Stewart Hall limped off with a nasty looking ankle injury, and he was replaced on the right flank by Del McNab.

Troon 4 Jay McKay in early first half action.

Troon went close in the 20th minute as Steven McCreadie's cross from the right was met by the head of Scott Chatham in very similar fashion to Glencairn's opening goal, but the midfielder glanced his header across goal and wide of the far post. Play swung to the other end and Smith charged down an attempted clearance by Troon goalkeeper Jamie McGowan, giving Jordan Leyden the chance to shoot from distance, but McGowan did well to scramble back and palm the ball round the post at full stretch.

The Glens continued to pressurise as McNab drilled the ball low across the face of goal, and seconds later Jamie Hamilton pulled a save out of McGowan with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area. McLean was clearly the main danger in a Troon jersey, and he went close with a skidding diagonal shot from 20 yards which flashed narrowly past the left hand post.

McLean went even closer in the 26th minute as his whipped free kick beat the defensive wall and Baker, but rebounded from the face of the upright and bounced to safety for the grateful home defence.

Glencairn re-established their lead right on the half hour mark. Ryan McArdle's corner from the left picked out the head of Jordan Leyden, and he directed the ball precisely down and into the corner of the net to make it 2-1.

Jordan Leyden

Glencairn had their tails up now, and Smith went close again in the 36th minute as he was given time to turn inside the penalty area and try to squeeze in a shot at the near post, but his effort was blocked.

Troon were also forced into an early substitution in the 42nd minute as James Lamont replaced the injured Evan Maley. Baker did well to palm away an awkward angled cross just before half time as the home stopper struggled to cope with the low mid afternoon sunshine in his face. The final chance of the first half saw a hook shot by striker Dale Shirkie fly over the crossbar.

Half time : 2-1

Troon 5

Del McNab runs at the Troon defence in the second half.

Both managers decided not to make any further changes at the interval, but The Glens were soon back on the front foot at the start of the second half. Having hit the woodwork with his earlier effort, Smith went even closer with another free kick in the 49th minute as he forced an excellent save from McGowan, diving to his right to palm the on-target shot over the crossbar.

McLean was still causing headaches for the home defence, and he drifted to the right side this time before cutting infield and pulling his shot wide of the near post from 18 yards. As the hour mark approached Troon started to pressurise quite strongly, and an excellent interception by Craig McGregor denied Chatham inside the penalty area.

Baker produced a quite brilliant save at his near post to deny what seemed a certain goal from Chatham's near post header, tipping the ball onto the post, and McCreadie pulled the rebound effort wide of goal from 16 yards.

Troon's second change just after the hour mark saw Mark Curragh replace Shirkie, who had been almost completely nullified by the back line of McGregor, Rhys Donaldson and Craig Palmer. Curragh was into the action quickly as he was brought down by Donaldson on the edge of the penalty area, and McLean fired his effort from the free kick round the wall but wide.

Alex Grier replaced Palmer in Glencairn's second change, the experienced defender doing well to last over an hour as he continued his return to full match fitness. Smith tried his luck with another free kick in the 68th minute, but this time he over-cooked it slightly and the ball dipped just over the crossbar.

Glencairn's final change saw the energy of Sean McGuire introduced in midfield with Hamilton the man withdrawn. Both goalkeepers were proving to be in good form, and Baker produced another fine save as he dived full length to his left to palm Tony Murphy's rising shot round the post for a corner.

Troon 2

There was no lack of commitment from either side in this finely balanced match.

The 76th minute saw a great chance for Glencairn to give themselves some breathing space, but they were denied by a brilliant save by McGowan. Jay McKay pounced on a defensive slip and used his pace and close control to burst through the central defence, but McGowan's strong left hand was in the way of the final stabbed shot from 10 yards out.

This was to prove to be a highly significant moment, as only two minutes later Troon were back on level terms again. Glencairn were caught short defensively and, although Grier's excellent block almost saved the day, the ball fell into the path of that man Scott McLean, and he fired across Baker and into the net to make it 2-2.

That was McLean's final contribution to the match as he was substituted immediately after the goal having taken a knock in the act of scoring. He was replaced by Adam Forsyth.

Glencairn clearly weren't happy to settle for a point though, and they set about looking to take the lead for the third time as the match moved into its closing stages. McArdle did well on the right and crossed to the back post where McNab couldn't head on target in the 85th minute. Two minutes later McNab cut in from the left and rifled in an angled shot which had McGowan diving across goal, but the ball flew narrowly wide.

As the match moved into stoppage time McKay got free of his marker on the bye line and slipped the ball across the face of goal, but there was nobody in the right place to apply the final touch. The final effort on goal came deep into stoppage time as Troon went close, Chatham's shot being deflected wide by some committed defending by Leyden.

So it was another afternoon of frustration for the black and white support, but they left happy at the performance they had watched from their side against one of the bookies' favourites for one of the four automatic promotion spots.

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

Troon :- McGowan, McCreadie, Brown, Clark, Collins, Chatham, Fulton, Murphy, Shirkie (Curragh), Maley (Lamont), McLean (Forsyth). (Subs not used - Dempster, Caldwell.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Andy Handlin) Craig McGregor.

Craig McGregor

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