IRVINE MEADOW XI 2 GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 2
Scorers: Grant 2
The Meadow playing surface must surely be one of the finest in Junior football and on the opening league game of the new season it looked in perfect condition. Why the Meadow XI don’t make more use of it must be a source of frustration not only to the groundstaff but to the home support; preferring on the day the long-ball game to a passing one.
Although the Medda started the game at a furious pace, the tactic of launching long balls for men in blue to chase down the flanks delivered little else than a series of corner-kicks , which Gary McGuigan, Andy Gow and Steven McGregor mopped up with relative ease. Having soaked up the early pressure the Glens began to play some sweet flowing football on this green baize, building from the back and engaging the midfield as they pushed forward through Simon Eeles and Stevie Agnew on the flanks; aided and abetted by the excellent holding play of Stephen Whalen, who appeared to be relishing his return to Meadow Park. It was Kevin Deeney with a surging run through the middle that created the Glens first chance of note, but his run ended in the box with a timely tackle. John Paul Grant was then unlucky not get on the end of a Eeles free-kick, won after an Essler special, as the ball broke to the back post. The half ended goal-less a fair reflection on the balance of play and the chances created
Half-time Meadow 0 Glens 0
The Glens had a loud shout for hand-ball in the box turned down after a great run by Aggie. However, with 54 minutes gone the Glens got their noses in front when the ball broke to JP and as Wingate and Mason closed in he took matters into his own hands and battered the ball beyond the advancing Strain. Essler, who had been booked for a foul on Eeles in the first half was fortunate not to get another yellow card for a rash tackle on the same player. Having said that his attitude of not giving up lost causes saw him beat Gary Matthews to a 50-50 ball and nick an equaliser for the home side on 71 minutes.
With five minutes to go JP then got the better of Wingate again and nicked the ball off him and picked his spot to give the Glens what seemed to be the winner. It was not to be however and in the dying minutes the Meadow made a corner-kick count at last and Gareth Turner was on hand to head home from close-out. Willie Howie, then received a second yellow card. Red cards were also furnished after the final whistle to McGinty and Jaconelli of Meadow and Steven McGregor.
Full time Meadow 2 Glens 2
Glenafton Athletic : Matthews; McGuigan, Gow, McGregor, Quinn; Eeles, Deeney, Howie, Agnew; Whalen, Grant
Simon Eeles leaving Paul Hilland in his wake
Gary McGuigan getting the better of Andy Essler again
Meadow on the move
Steven McGregor in control
John Paul Grant - another brace