Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn 4 Vale of Clyde 0

Saturday 23rd August 2014 - Euroscot Engineering Central Sectional Lge Cup Group 4

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Thomas Kilmartin Del Esplin

Glencairn's first and last goalscorers Thomas Kilmartin and Del Esplin.

Glencairn rounded off their Central Sectional League Cup campaign with a comfortable win which assured them of second place in the group and an undefeated record, topped only by section winners Blantyre Victoria. It was a huge confidence boost for the players and supporters ahead of the start of the league campaign next Saturday.

After a pre-season filled with injury worries, there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel for Glencairn with the return to competitive action today of influential central defender Mark Bishop, with a few other players hopefully also set to make themselves available for selection over the next few weeks. Bishop was joined in central defence by a trialist, and there was also a trialist selected up front alongside Thomas Kilmartin. Dean Muir was left on the bench as he is nursing a slight strain, with no unnecessary risks taken ahead of the start of the league.

The visitors were first to threaten, with a surging run by Haydn Cochrane at the heart of the home defence, and he was brought tumbling to the turf on the edge of the penalty area, but the set piece came to nothing for Vale.

Glencairn responded with Trialist no.9 going close in the 10th minute with a looping header from Kris Irvine's cross, the ball hitting the top of the crossbar before dropping to safety. Bishop showed good recovery skills when Vale striker Joel Kasubandi raced through on goal, the big defender stretching his leg to make a crucial but perfect tackle to deny the striker.

The Glens almost took the lead in the 20th minute as Irvine's free kick was headed on towards Kilmartin who nodded the ball back across the balance of Vale no.1 Jon Connolly, but somehow the ball didn't fall kindly for Trialist no.5 who couldn't force the ball over the line from six yards (pictured below).

Vale of Clyde 1

Thomas Kilmartin almost gives Glencairn the lead.

The opening goal was only delayed by three minutes, as Glencairn took a deserved lead at the mid point of the first half. Trialist no.9 flicked the ball on into the path of Irvine, who got in front of his marker and forced the ball into the path of Thomas Kilmartin, who drilled the ball low past Connolly from 20 yards out.

This seemed to give Glencairn a lot of confidence, and the lead was almost doubled in the 26th minute when Del Esplin picked out Ross Ballantyne on the left, and his cross was met by a bullet header by Kilmartin which flashed narrowly wide of the target.

It was no surprise, therefore, when The Glens made it 2-0 in the 28th minute, as Keiran Donaghy swung over a corner from the left, and the impressive Trialist no.9 met the ball sweetly on the volley from 8 yards and hooked it into the net before before Connolly could move.

The pressure continued as Kilmartin's cross caused enough concern in the Vale defence for Connolly to fumble the ball and then recover. It was almost constant Glencairn pressure at this point, and they made it count in the 33rd minute with a third goal, Trialist no.9 firing a left foot shot from 20 yards which found its way past Connolly at the post to make it 3-0.

Vale almost capitalised on a bit of indecision in the Glencairn rearguard in the 38th minute, Kasubandi nipping in between Jordan Dalzell and goalkeeper JC Hutchison, but the big stopper recovered the situation with a good block to the striker's shot.

Half time : 3-0

Neither side changed their line-up at the interval, and it looked like The Glens were going to continue their pressure when Trialist no.9 launched a missile of a throw-in in the 50th minute, and Connolly was under pressure to scramble it away for a corner.

Vale had to score an early goal in the second half to give themselves any chance of a comeback in the match, and they worked themselves into a good position in the 51st minute with Haydn Cochrane firing a shot from 20 yards which Hutchison did well to palm away. Seven minutes later Hutchison came to the rescue again when a long diagonal pass over Ballantyne released Lee Pettigrew through on goal, although he looked to be a yard offside. Hutchison stood up and won the battle of wills, blocking the initial shot and also getting his body in the way of the rebound.

The visitors' hopes of a comeback seemed to die with that very incident, as striker Kasubandi limped off injured. His replacement was former Glencairn striker John Connelly. Glencairn also made a change with Kilmartin rested and replaced by striker Steven McClung.

Glencairn made the game safe in the 62nd minute with a clinical 4th goal, McClung cleverly laying the ball off into the path of a supporting run by Del Esplin, and the midfielder drilled the ball precisely across Connolly and into the far corner of the net. The Glens made an immediate change, with Sean McGuire replaced in central midfield by Paul Thomson.

Vale midfielder Conor Stevenson swung in a dangerous free kick in the 68th minute which flashed across the face of goal, and two minutes later at the other end there was a penalty claim for Glencairn when McClung went down under a challenge from Lee Morrison, but the referee wasn't interested and waved play on.

Both sides made a change in the 73rd minute, with Glencairn wrapping up Trialist no.9 and replacing him with Jamie MacLeod, while Vale brought on Andrew Cockerill to replace right back James McKinstry.

A goal seemed certain in the 84th minute when MacLeod's whipped cross from the left picked out Irvine at the back post, but somehow Connolly got across to block with his foot. Another pacy free kick from the left at the other end by Stevenson in the 86th minute was palmed away to safety by Hutchison. The resulting corner saw a couple of close range headers for Vale blocked by defenders, with Irvine also heading off the goal line. Hutchison was injured in the incident but carried on after a spell of treatment, although looking uncomfortable.

It just wasn't Vale's afternoon, and that was summed up in the 90th minute when Pettigrew was released on the left side of the penalty area, but he saw his firm shot rebound from the outside of the post. The frustration boiled over in the 91st minute as Conor Stevenson was shown a second yellow card and the inevitable red card after catching MacLeod late on the halfway line.

The Glens now move on to the league campaign, but will be pleased with their first clean sheet of the season, and the prospect of more players returning from injury to bolster the squad.

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Dalzell, Ballantyne, Bishop, Trialist, Esplin, Irvine, McGuire (Thomson), Trialist (MacLeod), Kilmartin (McClung), Donaghy. (Subs not used - Muir, Dunnachie.)

Vale of Clyde :- Connolly, McKinstry (Cockerill), McNamee, Currie, Morrison, Cochrane, Pettigrew, Stevenson, Kasubandi (Connelly), McGeechan, Franchetti. (Subs not used - Buckley, Hepburn.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Allan Maxwell) Trialist no.9.

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