GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2 Maryhill 1
Scorer: Agnew 2
A minute's silence in memory of Mick Morran, the legendary Glens' physio who passed away on the 13th March, aged 89 years old, was held before the kick-off.
The Glens were forced to shuffle the pack as a consequence of cup-tied players, suspensions and injuries. Davy Kennedy paired up with centre-forward Darren Johnstone at the centre of defence and new signing John Kane from Partick Thistle made his debut in the midfield.
A glorious sunny day and perfectly rolled pitch provided a great stage for this re-match of last season's West of Cup Final and a chance for each team to put the challenges they face in the league to one side, at least for 90 minutes, and perhaps a penalty shoot-out if required.
There was little to seperate the sides in the opening 15 minutes which was typical cup 'end-to-end' stuff but lacking any goal-mouth chances to get overly excited about. On the quarter-hour mark the visitors nearly broke the deadlock but Gary Matthews managed to smother the ball in the six yard box at the second attempt. The Glens best chances were coming from set-pieces, typically free-kicks from the left hand-side, won as a consequence of a series of fouls on Stevie Agnew, who was giving the 'Hill defence a torrid time. Gavin Brown headed just wide from one of the free kicks in the 17th minute and then Agnew nearly capitalised on a fumble from former Glens's goalie Kevin Montgomery, but the keeper did well to recover and the chance was gone.
Maryhill looked to have taken the lead in the 25th minute after fine play down the right wing saw the cross into the box met with a skillful volley which beat Matthews but agonisingly for the visitors the ball bounced off the top of the crossbar. However, ten minutes later their efforts were rewarded. The Glens had won yet another corner-kick on the left and once again the 'Hill defence came out on top. The ball broke clear of the danger area and a clinical counter-attack was launched with another burst down the right wing and this time the ball was played to the back post and knocked back for a simple tap in by Derek Anderson, to give the visitors the a deserved lead. The Glens however hit back in controversial circumstances in the last minute of the half. Wiillie Howie's grit and determination saw him shrug off a number of tackles before playing a delightful ball beyond Kevin O'Neill and Co. for Stevie Agnew to beat the offside trap, but there was a strong suspicion of an arm being used to control the ball before he headed goalward. Montogomery did well to stifle the attack momentarily but Aggie kept his composure and rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home.
Half-time : Glenafton Athletic 1 Maryhill 1
The Glens put in a much more assured performance in the second half and new boy John Kane had found his feet and he was seeing much more of the ball and his clever passes were often the start of another Glens attack. Willie Howie was controlling the middle of the park and Aggie and Chic Connolly were putting the flanks to good use. The Glens now looked favourites to break the deadlock and Gavin Brown almost did just that when he rose head and shoulders above everyone in the 'Hill box but his header flashed high and wide beyond the goal. Maryhill were still carving out some decent chances and the Glens had Matthews to thank for keeping the scores level with a great save at his near post.
The Glens grabbed the winner ten minutes from time. David Martin, who had had an outstanding matched released Peter Jordan on the overlap down the right wing. Jordan did brilliantly to outfox the defender and get the ball to the bye-line and cut inside before knocking the ball back to the edge of the penalty box for Stevie Agnew to drill the ball home, low and hard through a ruck of players.
The last 10 minutes proved to be the most productive in terms of chances created with 'Hill firing in some long range shots which fizzed over Matthews' bar. The big goalie also did well to do just enough to take the ball from the feet of the 'Hill forward 15 yards out. In the time the forward needed to regain control of the ball and get his shot away allowed Darren Johnstone to take up his position on the goal-line and kick the ball clear. The Glens had a good penalty shout turned down when Brown appeared to be fouled in the box and a less convinicing shout later on when Connolly's run into the box was brought to an abrupt end.
Full time : Glenafton Athletic 2 Maryhill 1
Glenafton Athletic : Matthews; Martin, Kennedy, Johnstone, Quinn; Connolly, Cassidy (Jordan), Kane, Howie, Kane, Agnew; Brown. Subs Weightman, Mathie, Miller, Stewart
Maryhill: Montgomery; Benton, Schi, O'Neil, Wilson; Crossey, K. Anderson, Smith, D. Anderson, McKeown. Subs Robertson, McGraw, McClean, Soave.
A minute's silence for Mick
John Kane, on his Glens' debut
Willie Howie beats the 'hill defence to set up Stevie Agnew
Stevie makes it 1-1
Some close attention for Gavin Brown
Paul Cassidy on Kevin O'Neil's heels
Willie Howie in control
Stevie Agnew on the ball
Peter Jordan has a great view of Aggie's (out of picture) shot heading home
The Holders Huddle