GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 3 Shotts Bon Accord 1
Scorers: Whalen 2, Connolly
De ja and vu appeared to have descended over Loch Park in the guise of three corner kicks won by Shotts in quick succession as they threatened to relive their last league visit to New Cumnock and score from such a set piece in the opening two minutes of the match. On that occasion, the early goal proved to be the match winner for the visitors in what ulimately turned out to be a rather dull and dreary encounter. Thankfully for the home side de, ja and vu were all repulsed by Gary Matthews & Co and history did not repeat itself, in more ways than one, for the remaining 88 minutes plus add-ons was a considerably more enthralling affair.
Brimming full of incident, the first half flew in and it barely seemed that any time at all had past between the pre-match banter and the half-time terracing talk. The consensus among the home support (renowned for their impartiality) was that the Glens were worthy of their 1-0 lead, although a 4-3 scoreline may have been a fairer reflection on the chances created.
The goal came in the 16th minute courtesy of an indirect free kick awarded to the Glens inside the Shotts penalty box. Two minutes earlier Kevin Deeney had forced a fine block from keeper Iain Banks, with a close range effort and it was he along with David Gormley that deceived the Shotts wall to play the ball to Stephen Whalen who blasted it beyond the wall and Banks into the net. Later Banks denied Whalen his second when the striker trapped, turned and thundered the ball from 20 yards but the keeper pulled off a remarkable save, one which his famous namesake Gordon Banks would have been proud to lay claim too.
An eventful half for the Glens hit-man saw him barged off the ball in the box but his penalty appeals dismissed, and for once the match officials were spared the vitriolic vocals of the Shotts defence and the subs warming up behind the goals. However, they were soon in fine voice again claiming Whalen was in an offside position when the ball arrived at his feet a few yards from goal, in any case Banks blocked the shot.
The game was very much of the end-to-end variety and Shotts carved out some excellent chances. An equaliser looked on the cards on the 25 minutes when the Shotts forward waltzed his way into the box but his hurried shot, with Andy Gow advancing, went wide of Matthews' post. Simon Eeles then countered immediately for the Glens and outpaced the Shotts defence but there were no takers for his cut-back across the goal mouth. In 33 minutes the Glens goal lived a charmed life and after a number of attempts to force the ball over the line, Matthews claimed it as his own. Stevie Agnew then homed in the visitors goal but Banks forced him wide and again the cut-back across goal failed to find a team-mate.
Half-time: Glens 1 Shotts 0
Within ten minutes of the re-start the Glens effectively killed off what had been a fairly evenly matched and competitive contest with two quality goals. The first came within 90 seconds of the kick-off, when Aggie switched the ball from left to right picking out Kevin Deeney. With his route into the box blocked he rolled the ball back to Chic Connolly and then took up a position on the flank awaiting the return pass - it never came - for from all off the 30 yards Chic thundered the ball goalward, giving Banks even at full stretch no chance; indeed the aforementioned Gordon couldn't have prevented this one hitting the back of the onion bag.
Three minutes later Banks denied Whalen his second with another fine block at the edge of the six yard box. Eeles then caused havoc, switching wings and getting to the bye-line on two occasions and whipping the ball into the box each time but each time the ball was ultimately cleared to saftey. Nevertheless a third goal was not far off. It came in 53 minutes and no surprise that Eeles was the architect, bobbing and weaving past the visitors defence before laying the ball into the path of Whalen who hammered a daisy-cutter beyond the gallant Banks.
With the game over as a contest a period of scrappy play descended upon proceedings but even here there were positives to reflect on, most notably the Glens keeping their cool when tempers were beginning to fray in a few within the Shotts ranks, both on and off the park. However, with 20 minutes of the match remaining Willie Howie had to be replaced by Jamie Doyle after sustaining a cut above the eye, the kind that would give Rickie Hatton sleepless nights.
With 10 minutes (+ added time) remaining Shotts almost got one back after a break down the right flank but although the shot beat Matthews it also beat the far post, it wasn't to be their day. Indeed the Glens still looked more likely to add to their tally and even more so when they introduced fresh legs in the form of Gavin Brown and John Paul Grant for Stephen Whalen and David Gormley; both of whom received a great reception from the home support as they left the park. However, with 2 minutes of normal time remaining Shotts did pull one back following a misunderstanding in the Glens box and Steven McGregor lobbed the ball over Gary Matthews head.
In the few minutes remaining the Glens created more chances than Shotts had in what proved to be a disappointing 45 mins+ for them but Banks kept them at bay and there was no further scoring.
Full time : Glenafton Athletic 3 Shotts Bon Accord 1
The victory gave the Glens their first win in the league this season and maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign with the added bonus of enjoying our first league win over our visitors from lNorth Lanarkshire.
Glenafton Athletic: Matthews; Connolly, McGregor, Gow, Agnew; Deeney, Beattie, Howie (Doyle), Eeles; Whalen (Brown), Gormley (Grant)
Stephen Whalen makes it 1-0 to the Glens
David Gormley and Glens' ba
Kevin Deeney with David Gormely in support
Simon Eeles skins the No. 4 again
Stephen Whalen in control
Chico time !