GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 3 IRVINE MEADOW XI 1
Scorers: Feroz, Zok (2)
The Glens leapfrogged Meadow and Pollok (who were on Junior Cup duty) to go top of the league with a well deserved victory over the XI from Irvine. With the wind at their backs the Glens raced to a two goal lead within seven minutes of the kick-off. The first came just short of 4 minutes when Meadow's keeper Michael Wardrope came off his line to clear the ball upfield only for it to be chested down by Craig Feroz some 25 yards out from goal, and before defender Chris McGowan could challenge for the ball, Feroz stretched out his right foot to loft the ball some 25 yards into the ether and over the head of back-tracking Wardrop and into the back of the net. The visitors almost got back on level terms straight from the re-start when new signing Andy McLaren bustled his way into the Glens' box, but his low hard shot was smothered well by Chris Fahey at the cost of a corner-kick.
Meadow continued to push and on 7 minutes won another corner which back-fired in dramatic fashion. A weakly taken kick was easily partially cleared at the near post, the ball falling to former Glens favourite Chic Connolly on the right flank but his attempt to launch the ball back into the danger-area saw the ball cannon off the in rushing Dougie Ramsay and fall at the feet of Feroz deep in the Glens midfield, who then lofted the ball deep into the Meadow's half for lone striker Chris Zok to gather and head for the penalty box and before Stevie Farrel could get within touching distance he unleashed an unstoppable left-foot thunder bolt from 20 yards out across the goal and into the pokey, leaving Wardrop rooted to his goal-line.
This two goal cushioned spurred on the home side and the former Cumnock partnership of Farrel and McGowan were having a torrid time in trying to pin Feroz and Zok down. The young striker was unfortunate not his account when his header from a Paul McMullan cross skimmed off the top of the bar. Minutes later a well worked short corner kick allowed Jamie Doyle to whip the the ball across the goal mouth but with Wardrop beaten David Hamilton came to the rescue and headed the ball off the line, denying Gordon Moffat who had ghosted in at the back post. It could have been 4-0 with 11 minutes on the clock.
The visitors did manage to muster an occasional attack and target man McLaren was very much ploughing a lone furrow for Meadow but got little change out of the towering Glens defence as he held the ball up waiting on others to join in attack. No trademark Chic Connolly runs to the bye-line as he was very much restricted to the right back position with the roll of blasting the ball up the park as soon as he reached the half way line.
On 25 minutes an excellent combination of headers from Zok and Doyle in the Meadow box, saw the latter's header from the penalty spot beat the outstretched arms of Wardrop but just wide of the keeper's right hand post. As the half drifted on the spectre of missed chances paid a visit when on 38 minutes Meadow won a corner kick on the left which was delivered to the back post for Stephen Swift to rise like a lark and head home.
Unnerved by this set-back the Glens continued loiter with intent in the Meadow box with the best chance falling to Zok, but his shot from 15 yards was saved and held well by Wardrop.
Half-time Glens 2 Meadow 1
With the wind at the back and the knowledge that the one goal deficit could have been substantially greater the Meadow started the second half in confident mood and soon had the Glens pegged back. Willie Howie and Dougie Ramsay's ball- winning in the middle of the park was now all about attack prevention rather than initiation and the rolling up of sleeves was the order of the next 30 minutes or so.
Gareth Turner was first to threaten when with three minutes of the half gone a fine diagonal ball found him deep in the Glens box 8 yards from goal but Chris Merrilees did enough to distract him and he pushed his shot wide of Fahey's post. McLaren then released Brian McGinty into acres of space but the out of sorts striker lacked any sense of urgency and Gow closed in and blocked his effort at goal. Minutes later Fahey had to be alert to beat the incoming McLaren to a long punt from Connolly and snatch the ball to safety.
With 10 minutes gone Andy Gow suffered a serious head injury after a clash of heads and was replaced by Mark Quinn, who took up the left-back position with Merrilees joining McGregor in the centre of defence.
The Glens rarely threatened as an attacking force at this stage and Fahey saved well from Swift . Mid-way through the half the visitors' pressure appeared to have been rewarded when McGowan rose to powerfully header a Turner cross beyond the reach of the Glens goalie, but it went agonisingly wide.
The storm had been weathered and the Glens began to press forward and none more so that the irrepressible Feroz who engineered the Glens third goal. Howie won the ball in the middle of the park, and laid it off to Quinn deep in his own half in the left flank, who then launched the ball up the wing over the head of Connolly and into the path of Feroz, who picked himself after a trip by the chasing Chic and left Farrell in no man's land with a neat cut-back into the box where McMullan guided the ball over the head of McGowan to the far end of the six yard box for Zok to rifle home an exquisite volley. Honestly, it was like watching Brazil!
There was still 20 minutes to go but the stuffing had been knocked out of the Meadow and the Glens carved them open time and again. Chris Cameron, on for Jamie Doyle, broke down a Meadow attack and Howie picked up the pieces and set Feroz free, who powered his way to the bye-line, but neither Zok mor McMullan could get on the end of his cay-back. The forlorn McLaren was foiled by Fahey again and Merrilees picked up the loose ball and played a great ball up the park to Ferooz who stormed into the box but Wardrop did well to block his shot and then Connolly prevented Zok from knocking home the rebound. Another long clearance found Feroz who turned the bewildered Farrell outside-in and inside-out ,just outside the box, before firring his shot beyond Wardrop but also beyond the far post.
The game went deep into added on time but when the whistle finally went the Meadow fans seemed relieved that the game was over without further goals beign conceded.
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC : Fahey; Moffat, Gow (Quinn), McGregor, Merrilees; Doyle (Cameron), Howie, Ramsay, McMullan; Feroz, Zok (Anderson)
IRVINE MEADOW XI : Wardrop; Connolly, Farrell, McGowan, Swift; Turner, Crilly, Hamilton, Strain; McGinty, McLaren. Subs Bradford, Hyslop, Ryan, McBride, McClauchlin.
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