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Friday, June 8th 2007

9:35 PM

Kilwinning Rangers vs. Glenafton Athletic Super League Play-off 2nd Leg

Kilwinning Rangers 0 GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1

(Aggregate 0-2)


Scorer: Patrick


On another glorious Ayrshire evening the scene was set to bring the ‘league campaign’ to a close in this 2nd leg of the Super League play-off. Few would argue that the Buffs could consider themselves unfortunate to have left Loch Park on Monday night without a share of the spoils, but instead it was the Glens who kicked off with the slightest of advantages - a goal ahead on aggregate.


It was the home side that were quickest out of the traps and before the Glens could settle they had won three headers in the Glens penalty box, but failed to find the target with twoof them  and forced Gary Matthews to palm the ball over the bar from the other. A nasty clash of heads involving Buffs Brian Johnston and Glens’ John McCaig brought the aerial battles to a temporary cessation.


Having survived this opening salvo McCaig and the equally commanding figure of Darren Johnstone stood firm and the Glens began to press the game and it was now the Buff’s goalie Ross that had to be on his toes as a number of efforts rained in on his goal; none of which however required his intervention as they whizzed past posts or over the bar. Gavin Brown had a decent shout for a penalty kick as he was bundled to the ground but the referee was for none of it; getting throw-in decisions right was proving challenging enough for the official. Brown’s powerful style of play was proving to be a handful, and time and again he won balls in the air or on the ground that he appeared little chance to do so; with his striking partner Alan Patrick taking a leaf out of his book albeit with a less robust style. Frankie Haggarty and Stevie Agnew (ably abetted by the overlapping runs of Davie Martin and Mark Quinn) were finding space on the flanks the latter having a see-saw tussle with Buffs’ Nikki Smith throughout the match.


The Buffs continued to look dangerous on the break but any high balls played into the box were being readily mopped up by a Glens’ defence growing in confidence. However, half-way through the half Matthews came to the rescue with a stunning save.  A lightning quick break down the right wing to the bye-line saw the ball cut buck with perfect precision and the Buffs striker repaid the compliment with a deft glancing strike to Matthews far post, but Golden Gloves broke a few Kilwinning hearts again as he stretched to his right, grabbed the ball like a lizard snatching its dinner and clutched the ball tightly to his chest.


The Glens had to wait to the close of the half before carving out as good a chance when Aggie showed Smith a clean pair of heels and broke into the Buffs box, with more time on his hands that he thought, Aggie shot early and Ross denied him with a fine save.


Half-time Kilwinning Rangers 0 Glenafton Athletic 0


In the opening half, Willie Howie and Dale Beattie had just shaded the midfield battles, in the second half they won the war and thereby planted the seeds of the Glens ultimate success. The timing of Beattie’s tackles were now of a Rolex quality, while Howie’s trademark, 360 degree turns before releasing the ball had the Buffs in a spin.  However, it was Aggie that would prove to be the architect of what proved to be the only goal of the game, on the hour mark. Released into space in the left, Smith had little chance of catching him, and Aggie then cut into the penalty box and reached the edge of the six yard box before playing across for the incoming Patrick to knock it beyond defender Mullin and keeper Ross.


The Glens jubilation was in stark contrast to the pain etched on the faces of the Buffs’ players and that gruelling back-log of fixtures which they had overcome in such a dramatic way to reach the play-offs now seemed like a millstone round not only their necks but their legs too. To their credit the Buffs dug in and resolutely prevented the Glens from adding to their tally, as time and again the visitors’ forwards (including the fresh legs of late substitutions) exploited the gaps in the back as the Buffs forlornly went in search of the 2 goals required to take the game to a penalty shoot-out. They too met a determined defence, and Martin, McCaig, Johnstone, Quinn and the Big G were not for yielding.


The final whistle was met with the right blend of relief and celebrations in what has been a difficult and challenging season for the Glens. Life in the Super League Premier Division is by definition a considerably greater challenge than competing in the all Ayrshire league and to be one of only four clubs to be an ever-present in that league since its inception five seasons ago, is in itself an achievement that should not be underestimated.



 Come Awa’ the Afton !


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


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2 Read what others say.

Posted by bj:

report is exactly what i would have said
you have done well young man ..keep it up
Saturday, June 9th 2007 @ 1:26 AM

Posted by Ayrshire SEO:

Hopefully the Buffs will fight back to there rightfull place in the top division next season
Tuesday, July 10th 2007 @ 9:22 AM

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