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Monday, June 4th 2007

9:10 PM

Glenafton Athletic vs. Kilwinning Rangers Super League Play-off 1st Leg


Scorer: Haggarty


A superb strike by  Frankie Haggarty on the 27th minute was enough to give the Glens the narrowest of leads to take into the second leg at Abbey Park on Wednesday evening. A free kick played deep into the Buffs box was cleared back out of the danger area only to find Haggarty lurking with intent on the outskirts of the box where he met the ball sweetly and hammered it home, giving Kilwinning goalie Keith Ross no chance.

To suggest that the goal came against the run of play would be unfair, however in terms of the number of chances created up until this time; the Buffs were surely ahead on points. Former Glens forward Brian Johnston was proving to be a handful, in more ways than one, with his industrious running and his niggling tackles. However, a combination of fine goalkeeping by Gary Matthews, poor finishing and a helping of misfortune in front of goal saw the Buffs drawing blank. By way of example of each of these categories - Matthews had to be alert to save from an overhead kick from 8 yards out; he blocked another close range effort and although he couldn't hold it, John Kane was on hand to clear the ball of the line; whereas a free-kick won on the edge of the box failed t threaten Matthews at all.

The Glens too had chances - Darren Johnstone came close with a header but Ross saved well; Haggarty had a surging run into the box and appeared to be impeded as he made his way to the goal-line but to his credit he maintained control of the ball, bit there were no takers for his cut-back; a Gavin Brown run into the box saw him get his shot away before Paul Mullin's challenge but he lofted the ball over Ross and the bar.

On the stroke of half-time the visitors looked certain to be rewarded for their endeavours when the Buffs forward was through one-on-one with Matthews and stroked the ball with the precision and pace required to deliver the equaliser only to see Matthews at the last second dive full stretch to his left and finger-tip the ball round he post.


Half time : Glenafton Athletic 1 Kilwinning Rangers 0


The second half was almost a mirror image of the first in terms of the chances created, although it was a scrappier affair punctuated by frequent stoppages for free kicks. The Buffs again created more of the chances but again drew a blank thanks to timely interventions by Matthews; another goal-line clearance by Kane and a number of free-kicks from the 20 yard range that came to nothing.


The Glens set-pieces, on the whole, were equally ineffective with their corner-kicks often being the source of another Kilwinning attack as the broke up the park at pace. Stevie Agnew tested Ross from 8 yards out but the goalie palmed it over the bar; he also did well to turn a Gavin Brown effort round the post. In the dying minutes the Glens were unfortunate not to double their lead when Brown was set free, but the tracking defender did well to push him wide of his desired flight path, forcing him to shoot at goal from a narrower angle than he had wished for and although the shot beat Ross, the ball went wide.


Full time Glenafton Athletic 1 Kilwinning Rangers 0


Glenafton Athletic: Matthews; Martin, Kane, Johnstone, Quinn; Haggarty, Beattie, Howie, Agnew; Brown, Trialist (Trialist).


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