Auchinleck Talbot 0 GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2
Scorers: Agnew, McMillan
The Glens introduced new signing Frankie Haggarty, formerly of Renfrew and Pollok , to the starting line-up and David Martin replaced Peter Jordan in the right back position. Talbot still hurting from Scottish cup dethronement kept their prodigal sons Gavin Friels and Derek Anderson on the bench.
It was the home-side that were on top in the early stage of the match with fast and furious breaks down both flanks giving the Glens defence a torrid time, but there were few balls of quality into the box, and John McCaig and Dale Beattie coped admirably. The Glens had their moments too and Chic Connolly and Willie Howie began to win more than their fair share of possession in the middle of the park, whilst new boy Frankie was taking his time to settle and was caught in possession on one or two occasions.
"Against the run of play" is too a harsh a description of the opening goal for the Glens , in the 15th minute, but certainly at this point in the game they had still to match Talbot's over all possession and goal threat. The goal however epitomised the new found determination and belief in the Glens team. Connolly lobbed a long ball (over the boggy patches) down the right flank for the infleuntial Gavin Brown to chase. Talbot's Collins got a head start of him and tried to usher the ball out for the goal kick; but Brown's belief saw him disposess the hapless defender on the bye-line and John McMillan who had followed in support picked up the scraps and played the ball into the six-yard for Stevie Agnew who nicked between defender and the cumebrsome McIntosh in the Talbot goal to knock the ball over the line from a yard out.
The Talbot rallied and a good run down the left wing ended, at last, with a fantastic ball across the goal mouth but there were no takers and the ball was scrambled to safety. Later a Talbot corner from the right was met perfectly and headed goalward but David Martin was on the near post to head the ball partially clear and it was buffetted about the Glens box for what seemed an eternity but eventually it popped out of the crowded box and the chance was gone.
Dale Beattie who had already taken a bad knock suffered another one soon after and he had to be helped from the pitch to be replaced by Graham Mathie, who quickly slotted in and it was business as usual as the Talbot could not find their way beyond the Glens rearguard
The home-side's hopes of hitting back diminished with 15 minutes of the half remaining when Slavin was shown a straight red card for studding Haggarty on the shin, in his forlorn attempt to win a ball that he was never going to win. Haggarty by now had shaken off his nervy start and the Glens were now profiting from his possession and quick thinking in releasing the front men with some excellent through balls.
Half-time Auchinleck Talbot 0 Glenafton 1
With the 10 men of Talbot chasing the equaliser the Glens capitilised and all but dominated the second half. The visitors were finding spaces galore in the Talbot defence with Connolly, Howie and Haggarty spoiled for choice in who to pick out from Agnew, McMillan - who was revelling in his first visit to Beechwood in a Glens' jersey and Brown. Several chances were created one of which was saved well by McIntosh, albeit he couldn't hold on to the ball and another in which Brown looked certain to put the game beyond Talbot but his shot went wide. A long range effort from Haggarty went screaming over the bar whilst a Howie effort came off the bar.
Although the Glens defence was seldom under pressure, with Mathie having an excellent game , it was dealt another blow when McCaig went off injured and he was replaced by centre-forward Darren Johnstone. The Talbot failed to exploit this further unforced change and it was no surprise that when the second goal game did come that it was McIntosh who would be picking the ball out the net, while big Garry had the occasional train of coal hutches going along the tracks to keep him amused.
With 25 minutes remaining Brown picked up the ball deep in Talbot's half and shielded the ball waiting for Aggie's overlap before duly playing it into his path. The Aggie shuffle left the defender bemused and his inch perfect ball into the box saw debutant McMillan slam the ball beyond McIntosh - toffee!
There seemed no way back for Talbot and even the introduction of Friels failed to ignite any serious response. However, the 'Black and Gold' were handed a life-line with 5 minutes to go when a shoulder challenge by Johnstone in the box was adjudged to be worthy of a spot-kick by the referee. Needless to say, in that moment many of the supporters (and probably players) of both sides thought they were about to witness another famous Talbot fightback. One player who banished any such thoughts was Gary Matthews who dived to his right and palmed the ball to safety and secure his fourth conseuctive clean sheet.
Regrettably the game finished with an unsavoury incident. Stevie Agnew had once again outtwitted his marker and his reward was to get hacked down at the corner flag. As Talbot players came to remonstrate with Aggie, young Paul Cassidy a second half substitute attempted to play peace-maker but his actions provoked further response from Talbot players and were construed worthy of a red card. The final whistle blew seconds later and even then the Glens celebrations, in winning at the League Champions and the dethroned Scottish Champions ground was too much for some to bear.
On reflection I am sure the die-hardest of die-hard Talbot fans or the most cynical or (saddest) of Glens fans would be churlish to attribute this well deserved victory to anything other than a fine all round performance by the Glens, all 14 of them.
Well done Gerry, "no points and no goals" - another coupon buster.
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC: Matthews; Martin, Beattie(Mathie), McCaig (Johnstone), Quinn; Connolly, Howie, Haggarty, Agnew; Brown (Cassidy), McMillan
John McMillan picks up the spoils from Gavin Brown's perseverance and Gavin Collins loses out
Photo: Courtesy of John Vass
'Where Aggie Dares', Stevie Agnew makes its 1-0
Chic Connolly and Frankie Haggarty congratulate Stevie Agnew
Photo: Courtesy of John Vass
'You are my sunshine' , John McMillan makes it 2-0
Another clean sheet for Golden Gloves Gary!
Aggie - one of the cheeky boys!!
Frankie Boy 'Where's the herds?' as the say in NC!
Gavin Brown closes in again
Gavin says' Gizza job'!
GLEN AFTON BRINGS AUCHINLECK TO A STOP!