TROON TOURNAMENT / JOE MELDRUM TROPHY
Troon, our hosts kindly agreed to allow the Joe Meldrum Trophy to be competed for in their pre-season Troon Tournament. Three games, each of 30 minutes each way would be played and the winners decided on league points and if necessary on goal difference.
Match 1: Troon 2 Hurlford United 1
The hosts Troon got off to a winning start with a narrow victory over Chris Kelly's Hurlford side. An entertaining first half ended goal-less with both sides evenly matched. The home-side edged in front early in the second half but Hurlford hit-back with a deserved equaliser to restore parity. The game appeared to be heading for a draw which was perhaps a fairer refelction on the efforts of both sides before sneaked a winner to take the three points.
Match 2: Hurlford United 1 Glenafton Athletic 1
Former Glens player Tony Murphy lined up against his old side of which only Gary Matthews, Willie Howie and Stevie Agnew from his time at Loch Park, featured in the starting eleven. It was this new look Glens side that took the lead in 3 minutes , when Frankie Haggarty who had drifted over from his right flank berth to pick the ball up on the left and deep in the Hurlford half, hammered an unstoppable shot home. The Glens then threatened to tear Hurlford apart with fast attacking football and the Blair Park side seldom got beyond the half way line. However, the Glens couldn't turn this superiority into further goals and Hurlford's improved organisation at the back allowed the midfield to get more into the game. Murphy and veteran Billy Findlay were seeing much more of the ball and Hurlford's endeavours were rewarded in the last action of the half with a tap-in from close range after a good work down the left wing and in inch perfect cut-back into the danger area.
Buoyed their comeback Hurlford started the stronger in the second half and Matthews had to be alert on a number of occasions. The Glens then appeared to find a new lease of life and Darren Johnstone and Chic Connolly both came close to restoring the Glens lead; big DJ also had a strong appeal for a penalty kick denied after he was pushed off the ball in the Hurlford box. But there was to be no further scoring and the Glens now need to beat Troon in the final game to secure the Joe Meldrum Trophy.
Glenafton: Matthews; Connolly, Gow, McGregor, Agnew; Haggarty, Deeney, Howie, Eeles (Quinn) ; Johnstone, Whalen.
Match 3 Troon 3 Glenafton Athletic 5
Scorers : McMillan, Miller, Brown
The Glens fielded an entirely different starting eleven, including Mark Quinn who had come on in the second half of the first match. A different side but almost a mirror image of the first game inasmuch that the Glens got off to a blistering start only to find themselves back to all square at the interval.
John McMillan, in his first start of the pre-season poked in the opener from 6 yards and then Brian Miller finished off a good run down the left to slip the ball beyond the advancing goalkeeper to make it 2-0 with ten minutes gone. Three minutes later Gavin Brown had the ball in the net but was adjudged to be off side.
The hosts rallied and won a free kick on the edge of the Glens' box but this failed to threaten Kennedy in the Glens' goal. Soon after, in the 25th minute they appeared to have won another free kick in a similar position but after consultation with the railway side linesman, a spot kick was awarded and Kennedy was sent the wrong way. Two minutes later Troon were level after a long high ball through the middle eluded the Glens defence and the Troon forward run on to head the ball over the advancing Kennedy and into the net.
Ten minutes into the second half and the Glens had restored their two goal advantage. The first came through, five minutes into the half when McMillan blasted a 25 yard free kick into the keeper's top right hand corner, with the net surely stopping the ball from landing at Irvine!. Gavin Brown made it 4-2 five minutes later when his persistence saw him nick the ball off the toe of the Troon defender and poke the ball home from a few yards out.
Troon refused to lie down and with 16 minutes of the half gone they reduced the deficit to one, when a fine run was finished off with a clinical shot that gave Kennedy no chance. However, with 5 minutes remaining McMillan completed a fine hat-trick after he burst into the Hurlford box from the right flank and his team-mates waited for the cut-back he slammed the ball home from the acutest of angles to beat the keeper at his near post.
Glenafton: Kennedy, Stewart, Beattie (Haggarty), McCaig, Quinn; Hastie, Grant, Gormley, Miller; McMillan, Brown
Match Photos :
Glens Pl2 W1 D1 L0 F6 A4 Pts 4
Troon Pl2 W1 D0 L1 F5 A6 Pts 3
Hurlford Pl2 W0 D1 L1 F2 A3 Pts 1