GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 4 Beith Juniors 2
Scorers: Gormley 2, Grant 2
The wintry conditions overhead and underfoot of early December where far from conducive for serving up the quality of football that both sides delivered in the corresponding league fixture at Bellsdale in late October, or it so it seemed. Those supporters that braved the elements were treated to a contest that once again was full of incident and whereh both teams were determined, despite the circumstances to play passing, attacking football.
It was the home side that started the ball rolling over the slippery surface and with seven minutes carved out three great chances and scored two goals. Stevie Agnew came close to nicking a goal at the back post from a Simon Eeles cross in the opening minutes, but the ball slipped inches past. On 4 minutes Eeles danced past two defenders to break into the Beith box, and in a flash David Gormley picked up the ball and slammed it low and hard into the far corner from the corner of the six yard box. Three minutes later Aggie once again challenged for the ball at the far post from an Eeles cross from the right,but the Beith defender headed it clear to edge of the 18 yard box, where the lurking Gormley instantly stabbed the ball beyond goalkeeper Wight. The linesman flagged for offside against Aggie, but clearly he hadn't blocked the keeper's view or assisted Gormley shot into the net and the goal stood.
Shell-shocked Beith were making heavy weather of making any inroads into the Glens half. Mark Quinn and Aggie were running amok down the left flank feeding Gormley and partner JP Grant, both seemingly oblivious to the greasy surface, and both enjoy harassing the Beith back four. Any time Glens moves did break down Chic Connolly and Jamie Doyle picked up the pieces and another attack was forthcoming.
On the 15 minute mark Beith enjoyed their first period of sustained pressure with a hat-trick of corner-kicks in quick succession. The first was the culmination of a seven or eight slick slick passes whereby the ball was moved down right wing by Kenny McLean , before being switched across the 18 yard box to the left only to be ushered out for the corner by Chris Merrilees. Nothing came of the first two corners but the third was met at the edge of the box and struck sweetly towards goal only for Gary Matthews to make a fine two-handed block .
The Glens continue to create chance and young Gormley looked certain to bag his hat-trick when he burst into the box, but his shoulder charge challenge to stave off the defender was considered illegal. A 25 yard shot from Chic Connolly whizzed over Wight's bar as did a miscleared header from one of his defenders. The keeper then pulled off a good save from an Agnew shot, after he had wrong footed the defender at the edge of the box.
With 5 minutes of the half remaining Beith won a free kick 20 yards out at the corner of the penalty box and although John Spence's effort beat the wall, Matthews again took the sting of the shot with a two-handed save.
Half-time Glens 2 Beith 0
The Beith half-time oranges appeared to do the trick as the visitors took the game to the Glens in the opening 20 minutes of the second half, the space that Aggie and Quinny had enjoyed in the first half, now more difficult to exploit. McLean was now the menace down the Beith right flank and a f ine run ended with a shot from an acute which his the base of the outside of the Glens post. In 62 minutes his striking partner Andy Reid beat Matthews but the offside flag was well up before the ball was struck. Nevertheless the visitors tails were up and veteran and play-maker Martin McGarvey was introduced to proceeding but before he could bring his influence to bear, the Glens went three up, against the run of play. On the hour mark Gormley turned provider on this occasion and manfully shrugged aside challenges as he made his way to the bye-line on the left hand side of the Beith box, and placed the ball perfectly between two Beith defenders, for John Paul Grant to slot the ball beyond Wight from ten yards.
Within three minutes Beith pulled one back when a Spence free kick from the edge of the box beat the wall and Matthews and three minutes later John Craig got on eht end of a cross from the right hand side to head the ball beyond the reach of Matthews. However, any hope of a Beith revival was extinguished within a minute, when Gormley played the ball from just within the Beith half to the feet of JP and without a second thought he turned and lashed the ball from 25 -30 yards over the head of Wight at full stretch and in off the under side of the bar, such was the ferocity of the shot that it nearly burst the net in the way back up. A truly magical moment.
These four goals in a seven minute spell ended the goal-scoring but incredibly Grant had the ball in the net a further three times but all were disallowed for offside; the first certainly was, the second a 'maybe-s aye', but the third we can put down to a lapse in concentration from the linesman. Gormley robbed the ball of the last Beith defender 30 yards out and headed unimpeded for goal with Wight picking his time to come off his line and meet him at the 18 yard line, by this time JP was in attendance but still a clear two paces behind DG, when the youngster rolled it past Wight for JP to run and tap it in for his hat-trick, but again a bright yellow amd orange chequered flag shown like a beacon in a dreich December day.
Glenafton Athletic: Matthews, Merrilees (Deeney), Gow, McGregor, Quinn; Eeles (McMillan), Connolly, Doyle, Agnew; Gormley, Grant
Beith Juniors; Wight,Fulton,Palmer,Kerr,Allison,Craig,Canning,Spence,Reid,J Jack,McLean Subs ymock,Stewart,Fraser,McGarvey,Hobbs
David Gormley turns to celebrate after beating Wight to make it 1-0
Stevie Agenw watches David Gormley's shot from the edge of the box make it 2-02
David Gormley releases JP Grant
Stevie Agnew with Mark Quinn on the overlap again
Simon Eeles can't believe JP's wonder strike to make it 4-2
Gormley 2 Grant 2 - what a pair!
(photo from Bellshill Cup game)