Arthurlie 2 GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1
Scorer : Patrick
Following Gerry Collins' midweek resignation coaches Andy Dunlop and Davy Kennedy took charge of team affairs. With striker Gavin Brown unavailable for selection, the Glens gave Alan Patrick, former East Stirling and Cambuslang Rangers striker a place in the starting eleven, while Dale Beattie made an unexpected return to the side in place of the suspended Willie Howie. The Glens facing their seventh game in fifteeen days could take some heart from their last performance at Dunterlie, during this hectic run of fixtures, when they ran out 3-1 winners in the West of Scotland Cup Quarter-Final.
The Glens were first to come out the traps and the home-side were struggling to come to terms with Stevie Agnew's trickery and intelligent use of the ball, particularly in the link-up play with new-man Patrick and Ryan Scobie. Chic Connolly too was enjoying some success down the right flank and it was from here in the 11th minute that he saw off a challenge and played the ball into the box, where Patrick beat Hughes to the ball and slotted it beyond Evans from eight yards out.
Although the battling Beattie ensured that the Glens were winning the majority of the midfield battles the home side were having some success. McFadden curled a shot beyond Gary Matthew's right hand post, although the goalie appeared to have it covered. Brian Wardle's powerful header shaved the same post and on this occasion Matthews looked to be beaten; Wardle's aerial superiority was causing the Glens problems at both ends of the pitch.
In the 28th minute the Glens were denied a stone-wall (of the reinforced concrete variety) penalty and the chance to double their lead. Scobie, having his best game in a Glens' shirt, was shielding the ball close to the bye-line, deep in the 'Lie box when Hughes took matters into his own hands (yes, both of them) and nearly wrenched Scobie's arm from his socket in order to disposses the stunned striker. Astonishingly, the referee, who had a clear view of the incident waved away the loud appeals for a penalty kick made in unison by the Glens players, dug-out and supporters (and even a few 'Lie fans had their heads in their hands). The official was not having his finest hour and if he ever thinks of packing it in, then on this performance he would make an ideal understudy to Rowan Atkinson in his role as Mr. Bean. On asking his assistant about the penalty incident he quipped to me 'not a penalty, he only pulled him with both his hands', he had less to say when asked why he chose not to share his observations with the referee.
Ten minutes from the break the match was all square after Paul Hilland scored from a corner-kick played in from the left, not with a powerful header, but having the space and time to compose himself he tapped the ball home from three yards out.
Half-time Arthurlie 1 Glenafton Athletic
The home side took the lead within a few minutes of the re-start when the Glens gave away possession cheaply in their own penalty box and John Bradford penalised the slackness with another composed finish, giving Matthews no chance.
The Glens had the big keeper to thank for a number of excellent saves and whilst the deficit remained at only one goal, their play merited the view that they were still very much in the game. Having said that Wardle and Hilland were outstanding in the centre of the 'Lie defence and keeper Evans showed a safe pair of hands on more than one occasion when the crosses did elude the aforementioned central defenders; how he prevented the ball crossing the line at the near post from a Glens corner remains a mystery.
The game ended in defeat but on a positive note this was the type of performance, against an Arthurlie side vastly improved since the West of Scotland Cup game, that the Glens will need to avoid the play-off place when they meet Petershill next Friday.
Glenafton Athletic: Matthews; Martin, Kennedy, Johnstone, Quinn; Connolly, Kane (Park), Beattie, Agnew; Scobie (Miller), Patrick
Alan Patrick slams home the opening goal
Goal hero, Alan Patrick
Ryan Scobie shields the ball from Shieldsy
Stevie Agnew, 'Moving On' again
Ryan Scobie , with his arm now another foot long!
Even John thinks it's a goal!
Brian Miller goes head-to-head with Paul Hilland