Johnstone Burgh 2 GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1
Scorer : Bingham
Keanie Park for the keen at heart
The driving horizontal rain welcomed two teams that enjoyed contrasting fortunes in last week's league fixtures. The Burgh still on a high after beating league leaders and champions elect Pollok 2-0; the Glens going down at home 3-0 to potential relegation candidates Kilwinning Rangers, in what by all accounts was a most uninspiring performance.
Contrasting fortunes and contrasting styles of play ultimately produced a very competitive and entertaining match, highlighted with two spectacular goals by Burgh's Sherry ( too fast for the camera even if I had wanted to take a photo!) Despite the conditions the Glens persevered with their passing game and Stevie Agnew, Craig Bingham and Richie Newall were seeing plenty of the ball in attacking midfield roles. However, it was Brian Miller on the right that was catching the eye with fine close control and dangerous crosses into the Burgh box. Burgh meanwhile always looked dangerous on the break with a couple of proverbial speed merchants, always giving options to those that chose to punt the ball up the park.
Kevin McBride looks on as Richie Newall is held back
It was the Glens that were enjoying the majority of the possession in the opening spell. A series of five corners in quick succession failed to provide a breakthrough; the first producing a fine save from the Burgh goalie from a Craig Bingham shot from the edge of the box; the next two, both deadly in-swingers from Millar that were scrambled behind by the Burgh defenders; the fourth a short corner from Millar to Agnew who found Newall inside the 6 yard box who forced the keeper into making another fine save; the fifth headed well clear and Burgh again turning defence into attack in the blink of an eye.
It was such a break that nearly resulted in the opening goal for the home side and on this occasion rather than try to penetrate the Glens defence, the Burgh forward hit a thunderous shot that cannoned so hard off the outside of the post that the ball went out for a throw in. The Glens too went close at the other end when Agnew got onto the end of a Millar cross, but his header was well saved.
Five minutes from the break and Burgh got the breakthrough. Another Glens attack had been nullified and a Burgh defender won the ball on the touchline deep in his own half, and cleared it upfield, the bounce of the ball eluding McBride and falling kindly for the Burgh forward who played it brilliantly into the path of Sherry who struck a ferrocious shot from all off 25 yards beyond the reach of Montgomery and into the net. Half-time Burgh 1 Glens 0 .
Craig Bingham , head and shoulders above the rest
Glens celebrate as the Burgh post-mortem begins
The Glens could count themselves unfortunate to be behind at half-time based on the possession that they had enjoyed in that half, but corner-kicks don't win games - or so it seemed.
As the sun broke through the low grey clouds the Glens pressure finally paid off. Another vicious in-swinging corner from the foot of Millar deceived the Burgh goalie only to be miraculously headed clear on the goal line by the Burgh central defender and another corner won as scant reward. This too was delivered with great conviction and Craig Bingham sprung up, as if aided by some trampoline concealed in the six-yard box, between defender and goalie to head home. The men in all-white were back in the game and the Burgh were now for the first time looking rattled. Millar and Agnew were finding more space and with Stevie Mallan onto replace the bandaged Davie Stewart, the Glens were intent in seeking out the three points. More corners ensued but with no end product. With ten minutes remaining the Glens were hit with a sucker punch, and what a sucker punch. The live-wire Sherry breaking from the right wing headed goalward and with no Burgh player in support unleashed a thunderbolt of a shot, again from the 25 yard range, which the outstretched Montgomery had little chance of reaching let alone stopping.
The Glens didn't give up and with several minutes added on (following the dismissal of one of the Burgh officials) the home fans were fearing a late equaliser, but their goalie saved the day when he parried out a great shot from Agnew, and Millar hit the rebound against the post, only to be ajudged off-side.
An entertaining and very competitive game and the Glens can certainly feel aggrieved at taking nothing from the game and it will be of little consolation to lose out to such spectacular goals.
Auchinleck 0 Larkhall 0, Maryhill 0 Pollok 1