Bellshill Athletic 3 GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 0
The Glens returned to league duty against a Bellshill team that had been tipped by many at the beginning of the season as one of the 'dark horses 'in the league, under the leadership of player-manager Paul McGrillen. However, their early season form, like that of the Glens , had thus far been mixed.
The Glens didn't make it easy for themselves in the opening minutes. A pass back to Gary Matthews saw the goalie having to take the ball out to his right touchline to evade the the attentions of McGrillen before clearing the ball to safety. Minutes later he had to be alert when another pass back, this time high and wide from his left was played to him and he did well to first-time it back up the park. The pressure was relieved, but only momentarily, as the Glens forced a corner-kick but it never got beyond the near post and the danger was over for Bellshill.
On 12 minutes the home side took the lead after some slack defending by the Glens. A long harmless looking ball played from deep inside their own half down the left flank, saw the bounce of the ball beati David Martin and Paddy Flannery nicked in to beat both John McCaig and Matthews to the ball and slot it home.
The Glens were making heavy weather of trying to break forward against the wind. Stevie Agnew was having some joy down the left flank but the final one-two's with supporting players earned no more than throws-ins ; or the occasional free-kick as Aggie was chopped down by defenders, in turn. Disappointingly the Glens set-piece execution was not to a high standard, throughout the game. A Dale Beattie near post header on the 25th minute was the closest the Glens came drawing level.
Fives minute later Bellshill extended thier lead after Matthews was left with no choice to leave his line to face the incoming Sinclair who had the Glens defence for dead as he chased a long through ball. Although the big goalie dispossessed the forward at the edge of the box the ball broke to McDonald who from 25 yards out, lobbed the ball perfectly into the gaping net.
The Glens nearly pulled one back immediately through Chic Connolly but Neil Inglis in the home goal denied him with a fine save from close range. The Glens continued to press but could find no way through and indeed Bellshill served noticed that they were still keen to add to their tally when another long range effort just dipped over the Glens cross bar.
Half-Time Bellshill Athletic 2 Glenafton Athletic 0
The forward partnership of Darren Johnstone and Dale Beattie was replaced by that of Zander Allan and trialist Craig Milliken. However, it was Flannery at the other end that nearly grabbed his second only to be denied by a brilliant point-blank save from Matthews.
The Glens survived that scare and with the wind at their back they had much more of the play inthe second half. Stevie Agnew was now giving the home defence something to think about, and usually they did their thinking with their feet and Aggie would be felled to the deck. On one occasion Bellshill's McKenzie timed his assualt perfectly by hacking Aggie down a yard short of the penalty box, but again the free-kick came to nothing. The next Aggie run saw him break into the box but dispossessed just as he was 'changing feet' to get his shot away, and his next run saw the keeper dive low to save a 20 yard daisy cutter.
Bellshill were in no way spent as an attacking force and they alway looked dangerous on the break, often beginning with some crisp exchange of passing deep in their own half. The pace of veteran McGrillen was still causing concern and with 10 minutes to go he put this to good effect with a lung-bursting run down the left flank and then cutting into the box and slamming the ball low and hard from 15 yards out into the far corner of the net. to give Bellshill a well deserved victory.
Glenafton Athletic: Matthews, Martin, McCaig, Stewart, Mathie; Connolly, Howie, McQuade, Agnew; Johnstone (Allan), Beattie (Milliken)
Paddy Flannery shoots for goal with Davie Stewart in attendance
Dale Beattie's header goes wide
Chic Connolly in control
Willie Howie fights for the ball with DJ in attendance
Zander Allan wins the header
Trialist Milliken with Bellshill's McKenzie
Last Resort - Pim tries to sook the ball under the bar with the Bellshill goalie stranded