Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

Subtitle

Vale of Clyde 2 Rutherglen Glencairn 3

Wednesday 19th August 2015 - Euroscot Central Sectional League Cup Group 4

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Vale of Clyde

Glencairn put the pressure on the Vale defence in the first half.

Glencairn ensured that they will go into the final round of group matches in the Euroscot Engineering Central Sectional League Cup with a chance of qualifying for the quarter finals, after twice coming from behind to beat Vale of Clyde at Fullarton Park. The match was full of incident, the second half in particular, with five goals in total, a controversial penalty kick, a brawl and three red cards.

The policy of rotating the squad throughout these group games continued with the start of the league season now just over a week away, and Willie Harvey made six changes to the team that had defeated East Kilbride Thistle two days previously, with all three goal scorers from that game left out of the starting XI.

Vale went into the match knowing that a victory would see them win the section with a game to spare, while for The Glens it was not quite "win or bust" in terms of their qualification hopes, but three points would certainly be a major boost in that respect.

The Glens seemed somewhat flat footed and lacking in creation in the opening stages, with Vale on the front foot early on. Connor Stevenson's free kick from the right in the 4th minute picked out the free head of Thomas Buckley, who nodded over the crossbar unchallenged from right in front of goal. Glencairn's response was some good link play between strikers Chris Zok and Mark Tait, with the latter slicing his shot well wide from 16 yards out.

Haydn Cochrane fired over from 25 yards for Vale in the 9th minute, and Kevin Hamill tried an audacious overhead kick in the 22nd minute which also flew well over the crossbar, but the home side were clearly the more fluent in the opening quarter of the match.

Former Glens striker Gavin Ross tried his luck with a run and shot in the 23rd minute which rolled a yard wide of the post with goalkeeper Robert Kerr untroubled. Chances for The Glens were few and far between at this stage, but a pass by Dean Muir almost released Tait in behind the defence, with a combination of Buckley and home no.1 Jon Connolly snuffing out the threat.

Vale continued to threaten, though, and a brilliant defensive header by Graeme Brown denied Ross as he looked set to get on the end of Stevenson's curling cross in the 29th minute. Five minutes later Ross threatened again as a breakaway ended with the big striker firing across the face of goal and wide of the far post.

The opening goal that Vale had been threatening and deserved arrived in the 34th minute. James McKinstry worked his way into the penalty area on the right, and his square ball across goal was turned into the net at the back post by Kevin Hamill to make it 1-0 to the home side.

Vale looked to press home their advantage and, four minutes later, a corner from the right was flicked into the path of Ryan Connolly who fired high and wide from 10 yards out. The referee's notebook hadn't been used up to this point, but just before the interval Buckley of Vale and Adam Shaw of Glencairn saw yellow for intentional handball and a foul respectively.

Half time :- 1-0

Neither side made any personnel changes at half time, but whatever was said in the Glencairn dressing room seemed to have the desired effect, as the visitors were now a different side.

The scores were level in the 49th minute with a well worked equaliser. Adam Nisanci linked with Brown on the right, and his cross to the back post picked out Mark Tait, who placed a precise header back across Connolly into the far corner of the net for a goal on his competitive debut.

Mark Tait Mark Tait

Those who say that these Sectional League Cup games are just an extension of pre-season and are not overly competitive would have gone home thinking again, as tensions started to rise on the Fullarton Park pitch. Ryan Connolly was shown yellow for blocking an attempted Glencairn quick free kick, and in the 51st minute the visiting players and bench were furious when Vale were awarded a penalty kick.

Glencairn conceded possession cheaply and didn't recover before Ross skipped into the penalty area and went down as David Dunnachie challenged him. The general opinion of those close to the incident were that Ross tripped over his own feet, but the referee was of a different mind and awarded the spot kick. Gavin Ross stepped up himself and the former Glens man fired a somewhat fortuitous mis-hit shot which bounced up past Kerr to put Vale back in front at 2-1.

 Gavin Ross

This knocked Glencairn back into their shell again for a spell, and Nisanci was withdrawn and replaced by the energy of Mark Batchelor just before the hour mark. A misunderstanding between Muir and Dunnachie almost caused defensive disaster for Glencairn in the 62nd minute, but they were let off by a tame finish by Ross which was an easy save for Kerr.

Dunnachie and Batchelor were next into the referee's notebook, both for minor fouls, but there was no let-up in the competitive nature of the game. Glencairn changed to a 4-3-3 formation as Shaw was withdrawn and replaced by influential striker Denis McLaughlin. Muir's dinked pass over the defence picked out the overlapping run of Brown, but his shot was deflected wide.

The resulting corner in the 68th minute wasn't effectively cleared by Vale and was fed back out to Tony Fraser. The normally deadly left-footer swung over a brilliant right-footed cross this time, right into the path of David Dunnachie, and the big central defender smashed the ball into the roof of the net on the half volley to bring Glencairn level again at 2-2.

David Dunnachie David Dunnachie

The black and white travelling support had barely stopped celebrating the equaliser when they were jumping for joy again only a minute later. Once again Fraser was the architect, this time swinging over a trademark left foot cross right onto the head of Tait, and he cushioned the ball back into the path of Mark Batchelor who produced a decisive first time finish from six yards.

Mark Batchelor Mark Batchelor

The home side and support were stunned at the quick 1-2 and going from leading to losing inside only two minutes. Glencairn made their final change with midfielder Paul O'Connor replacing Brian Eadie, with Fraser dropping into the left back role. Vale also made a change with James Milne replacing Marcus Stewart. David Cane tried to bring Vale level again with a nice piece of skill on the edge of the penalty area, but he pulled his volley on the turn wide of the target from 18 yards.

Tensions finally boiled over in the 76th minute when Ross dived into a dangerous challenge, and players from both sides reacted angrily resulting with pushing, shoving and arms flying. In the midst of the melee, a Vale player was punched in the face by one of his team mates, such was the random nature of what was happening. Once the referee had restored order after some serious whistleing , straight red cards were produced for Ross and Buckley of Vale and Batchelor of Glencairn, and it was now 9 v 10 going into the closing stages.

Glencairn clearly now had the points in their grasp, and Tait tried to increase the advantage as he cut in from the left and fired in a shot on the stretch which Jon Connolly saved diving to his right. Vale made a double change to try and change their fortunes again, Anton Franchetti replacing Ryan Connolly and Ross Hamilton coming on for McKinstry.

McLaughlin's clever pass in the 85th minute released Tait on the left, but Connolly blocked away the near post shot.  Vale were only to have one more serious effort on goal, though, Hamilton firing well over the bar from the edge of the penalty area in the 88th minute, and Glencairn saw out the win without any further defensive concerns.

Vale of Clyde :- Jon Connolly, McKinstry (Hamilton), Cane, Currie, Buckley, Hamill, Stewart (Milne), Stevenson, Ross, Cochrane, Ryan Connolly (Franchetti). (Sub not used - Watt.)

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Kerr, Brown, Eadie (O'Connor), Doyle, Dunnachie, Nisanci (Batchelor), Shaw (McLaughlin), Muir, Zok, Tait, Fraser. (Subs not used - Cullen, Hutchison (gk).)

Man of the match - (chosen by Alex Forbes) Mark Tait.

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