GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 MUSSELBURGH ATHLETIC 0
The Glens welcomed Musselburgh Athletic of the East Premier League and their supporters to Loch Park in the first meeting between the two clubs.
On the way to the 5th Round of the Citylink Scottish Junior Cup, for the second consecutive season the Burgh had already claimed the scalps of West Region Super League First Division front-runners Rob Roy and Vale of Clyde and had also knocked out Kelty Hearts, last season's beaten finalists. The Glens too had seen off stiff opposition most notably in the form of West Premier League side Bellshill and East Super League cracks Whitburn and so the scene was set for an enthralling tie.
Sadly the game didn't live up to the billing and there were few real chances of note throughout the 90 minutes. Indeed the Glens only clear chance of the opening half came in 30 minutes, when Frankie Haggarty at last got some joy down the right flank left his marker for dead and floated the ball into the six yard box, only to see keeper McPherson punch the ball from the head of JP Grant and the loose ball fall to Stevie Agnew but his effort was cleared off the line by Sweeny at the far post, as McPherson scurried in vain across the goal-mouth.
No such real panic in the Glens goal-mouth but it certainly saw more of the first half action than that of McPherson's. Paul Tansey was enjoying the wide expanses of Loch Park and time and again his midfield would release him with well timed passes for him to hare down the left flank and fling crosses deep into the Glens box . Time and again mopped up by the Glens defence, albeit at the expense of a number of corners, which lacked any real potency in terms of goal threat. Occasionally Tansey would take the more direct route to goal but only to be stifled by a resolute defence witnessed by the of shots on target.
Nevertheless in terms of endeavour and fluency of play the visitors probably just edged the first half.
Half-time Glenafton 0 Musselburgh 0
The home side brought on Chris Merrilees at right back and pushed Chic Connolly forward into midfield to replace Frankie Haggarty and striker JP Grant was replaced by Gavin Brown. The changes brought with them a much needed sense of urgency to the Glens play. M cPherson held a long range effort from Gormley on the line and then did well to race from the same line to clutch a long high ball aimed for Agnew darting into the box. Merrilees had to be alert to snuff out Tansey who continued to pose the greatest threat in the visitors ranks.
The Glens were now winning the majority of the midfield battles. One was a battle too far for Burgh's Mark Quinn who picked up a second yellow card after needlessly scything down David Gormley at the touchline on the half-way line. The 10 men close ranks and the game threatened to be a mirror image of the first with few goal mouth chances. Currie came close for the visitors curling a shot toward Matthews goal from the edge of the box, but a deflection took the ball away from its target. Sweeney then came to the rescue again when he brought a great run by Brown to a halt with a well timed tackle in the box, with keeper McPherson already commited to the Glens striker's shot.
The game seemed destined to end in stalemate but instead with 5 minutes to go it was checkmate. Merrilees tight on the right touch line just inside the Burgh half picked out Connolly on the edge of the penalty box and as Chic tried to break forward the ball broke off the Burgh defender and fell to Gormley. Despite his best efforts there was no way through and the ball was partially cleared only to be gratefully received by Mark Casey, who 'keepy-uppied' the ball up ala 'Baxter at Wembley' style before unleashing a hard and low ferocious shot which McPherson did well to get down to meet at the base of this right hand post, but the ball bobbled free and young Gormely was first to react and fired it home past the helpless goalie from six yards.
Minutes later any hopes of a late fightback by Burgh were extinguished when King was shown a red card (this time for real, as the referee had already flashed red instead of a yellow for an earlier incident) and the visitors were down to 9 men. Simon Eeles, who had replaced Stevie Agnew, then combined well with Brown and only indecision between shooting or passing prevented the Glens from making it 2-0 at the death.
Although the replay which seemed on the cards did not transpire hopefully the Glens and Musselburgh will meet again in the 'Scottish' some time in the future at Olive Bank and we wish them well in their push for promotion this season.
Full-time : Glenafton Athletic 1 Musselburgh 0
Glenafton Athletic: Matthews; Connolly, Gow, McGregor, Quinn; Haggarty (Merrliees), Doyle, Casey, Agnew (Eeles); Grant (Brown), Gormley
Musselburgh Ahtletic : McPherson, Sweeney, Quinn, Mitchell, Bain, Murray, Murphy, Currie, Barnes, King, Tansey. Subs: CJ Osazowa, McManus, Hawkins, Porteous, Polowj
Ronnie McPherson saves from JP Grant
Mark Casey's juggling skills would be put to good use later in the match.
David Gormley in control
David Gormley with Chic Connolly and JT joining in the celabrations