Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn 1 Yoker Athletic 1

Saturday 5th September 2015 - West Region Super League Division One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Yoker Athletic 1

Denis McLaughlin and Alan Muir battle for possession with Yoker player Richie Henry.

Glencairn were left frustrated once again as a brilliant but controversial late equaliser meant they had to settle for a point for the second week in a row, after leading for the majority of the match but failing to kill off the opposition in the first home league game of the season. Yoker Athletic came to New Southcroft Park full of confidence after a 5-1 win on the opening day of the league season, but it was The Glens who left disappointed at failing to grab all three points.

There were only two changes to the starting line-up for the home side, both in midfield, with Dean Muir and Graeme Brown replacing the unavailable Brian Welsh and Adam Nisanci. The Glens were somewhat stretched in the midfield department, with Mark Batchelor suspended and Sean McGuire called out to work shortly before kick off, although last season's Player of the Year did make it back in time to take his place on the substitute's bench.

The match took some time to get interesting, with little to talk about in terms of goalmouth incidents in the opening stages and the teams cancelling each other out in midfield. Yoker no.1 Liam Campbell was the first to be tested in the 15th minute as he held a header by Mark Tait on his goal line after the visitors had failed to effectively clear a long throw by Brown.

A minute later, at the other end, John Harvey was allowed to stride forward from defence and clip a pass through to David Crerand who saw his efforts on goal saved twice by JC Hutchison, although the assistant referee's offside flag had already gone up. Alan Cairns was next to try his luck for Yoker as he strode forward from left back and fired over the crossbar.

Crerand threatened again in the 21st minute as he got to the bye line and cut the ball back across the face of goal into the path of former Glencairn midfielder Mark McManus, who scuffed his shot straight at Hutchison.

Things were beginning to open up now, and Campbell saved well from Tait's snap shot from 18 yards in the 23rd minute. The opening goal arrived in the 37th minute as Tait pounced on some poor control by Cairns to steal possession wide on the right. The striker then skipped past Harvey before looking up and cutting the ball back into the path of Denis McLaughlin who had cleverly pulled away from his marker, and he drilled the ball first time decisively past Campbell.

Denis McLaughlin

Glencairn had their tails up now, and some tenacious play and a reverse pass by Brown shortly after the re-start set up Tait for an angled shot which Campbell parried and then smothered. The pressure continued and, a further minute later, McLaughlin skipped past four tackles before firing over the crossbar from 20 yards.

Both sides, to their credit, were looking to play a passing game on the floor as they both tried to take advantage of the good playing surface and the warm sunny conditions. Glencairn's new midfield signing Alan Muir was looking composed and confident as he pulled the strings in the centre of the park alongside his namesake Dean Muir.

Brown and McLaughlin linked on the right just before half time, with Campbell showing good awareness to rush out to block at Brown's feet.

Half time :- 1-0

Yoker Athletic 2

Yoker goalkeeper Liam Campbell snuffs out the danger from Glens striker Mark Tait.

Glencairn started the second half on the front foot, with Tait's persistence and trickery creating a chance for Brown to set up McLaughlin in the 46th minute, but the first half goalscorer pulled his shot wide from a tight angle.

McLaughlin almost doubled his tally in spectacular fashion in the 54th minute as he drilled in an angled shot from 25 yards which Campbell did well to tip round the post at full stretch. The resulting corner was only partially cleared by the Yoker defence, and Brown let fly with a volley which flashed across the face of goal and narrowly wide of the far post.

Yoker hadn't threatened in the second half up till the 56th minute, when Glencairn gave away possession cheaply and one pass released Gary Arbuckle through the middle, but Hutchison stood up to beat away the on-target shot. A minute later Crerand got in the way of a golden chance to score for team mate Jamie Carson after Arbuckle had got the better of Paul Doyle on the left edge of the penalty area.

The game was really opening up now and, back at the other end, Tait's clever reverse pass released Tony Fraser who in turn set up McLaughlin for a shot, the effort being blocked out to Brown whose shot on the turn was saved on the dive by Campbell.

The first substitution arrived on the hour mark, with the now-returned Sean McGuire replacing Brown on the right side of midfield. Alan Muir's curling free kick in the 61st minute flew across the face of goal, with no player in black and white taking the gamble of getting on the end of it.

Yoker's first change came in the 64th minute, with Greg Maitland replacing Cairns. Hutchison had to be switched on in the 70th minute as an attempted headed clearance by Dean Muir skimmed towards his own goal, but the home no.1 saved on the dive down low to his right. Crerand should have done better in the 72nd minute as Carson's cross found Crerand's free head in front of goal, but the glanced effort was well wide of goal.

Glencairn introduced fresh legs up front as firstly Paddy Cullen replaced the hard-working Tait, and then a minute later Chris Zok came on for McLaughlin, giving the visiting defenders some different faces to think about.

A spell of three corners in a row for Yoker saw Glencairn's defence standing strong, with Doyle making an important block to deny Michael Bailey in the 74th minute. Just as it looked like Glencairn's defence were going to keep a second consecutive clean sheet to start the league season, everything changed in the 80th minute.

The referee blew for a foul by Doyle 25 yards from goal when he clearly got a touch on the ball before any contact with the player who ran into his outstretched leg. Yoker made a substitution before the set piece could be taken, bringing on Martin Hardie to replace Andrew Rankin. It was like an American Football team bringing on their specialist field goal kicker, as Martin Hardie stepped up to dramatically fire a dipping and swerving shot over the wall and into the top left corner of the net, his first touch of the ball.

The game was there to be won by both sides now, and Steven Reilly went close as he met a corner with a header, but Andy Neil cleared off the goal line. Neil made another excellent block in the 89th minute to snuff out the danger from Crerand after Yoker had hit on the breakaway.

The final chance fell to Glencairn in the 91st minute, as Fraser cut in from the left past two challenges before firing a right foot shot from 18 yards which was straight at Campbell.

So Glencairn had to settle for another point and, although they remain unbeaten, there was disappointment in the changing room after the game. Willie Harvey commented, "We aren't killing teams off, it was the same last week and, as well as we have defended in the last two games, when you don't tie up the match you run the risk of losing a goal to a bit of brilliance like we saw out there today. We should be sitting on six points, but instead we're on only two, but we'll work on things during the week and we'll be ready for Cumbernauld next Saturday."

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Shaw, Boal, Doyle, Neil, Dean Muir, Brown (McGuire), Alan Muir, McLaughlin (Zok), Tait (Cullen), Fraser. (Sub not used - Mastraszek (gk).)

Yoker Athletic :- Campbell, Carson, Cairns (Maitland), Harvey, Reilly, Henry, Crerand, Rankin (Hardie), Arbuckle, Bailey, McManus. (Subs not used - Chang, Sharkey, Winslow (gk).)

Man of the match - (chosen by James Burke) Mark Tait.

Mark Tait Mark Tait

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