Ronnie Lowrie looks on as Craig Bingham opens the scoring
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 Maryhill 1
Scorer : Craig Bingham
It was to be the 'red and white' of the Glens against the 'red and black' of Maryhill today - so both teams changed colour and both played in blue! - the 'hill preferring the lighter shade. By the end of the game however, brown was the colour for both teams as the park had become a mudbath following a day of torrential rain. Under such conditions it is pleasing to report that both goals culminated from some fine football.
The Glens raced to an early lead. Deep in 'hill's half, Craig Flannigan shielded the ball well and found Stevie Agnew on the overlap on the left wing. Aggie cut inside the defender and crossed perefectly to the back post for the incoming Craig Bingham to stoop and head it beyond the 'hill goalie. The Glens were denied another goal-scoring opportunity when Stevie Mallan was flagged offside, although it was the on-side Richie Newall that had collected the through ball leaving him only with the keeper to beat.
Maryhill battled their way back into the game and were soon enjoying much more possession. For a team of many tall players they play good passing football from box-to-box which was best exemplified by their equalising goal. Flowing football which saw the Maryhill right midfielder outfox two Glens players before rolling the ball down the right touchline for his team-mate to hare after, who crossed it in first time for the arriving midfielder, who in turn seemed to have an age to compose himself before volleying past Gary Matthews.
By now slide tackles from both sides were common place as conditions continued to deteriorate and soon a spate of yellow cards brought a splash of colour to a gloomy setting. Maryhill's giant No. 6 was fortunate not to get a card of his own for doing a Lovenkrands, tumbling to the ground like a giant Redwood on a lumberjack's gala day, when clearly the falling rain was heavier than the contact made by the Glens defender.
The half-time whistle was greeted by both teams and the 1-1 scoreline reflected fairly and favourably on their efforts on a miserable November day.
Maryhill Light Blues foil another Glens attack
The Glens were by far the dominant force in the second half with Richie Newall finding much more space in the middle of the park and freedom to find his team-mates at will. The Maryhill penalty box was busier than Braehead the week before Christmas and the Glens were finding it tough to create clear cut chances in such congestion. Finally the Glens perserverance payed off when Mallan was chopped down in the box and a penalty duly awarded. Despite such a heavy and energy sapping pitch, Dale Beattie managed to muster up a thunderous shot, which sadly thundered off the underside of the crossbar. A few attacks later and the stand-side linesman chickened out of awarding the Glens another spot kick when a 'hill defender clearly handled (more like caught) the ball. Ex-Killie player Martin Baker was also fortunate to be only yellow carded when he dived to deliberately handle the ball to prevent a Glens breakaway.
Maryhill had their moments in the second-half without having any sustained period of pressure. The Glens defence dealt admirably with any threats posed, although on two occasions the officials appeared to provide some support through a harsh offside flag and denying a strong shout for a penalty after a ball to hand incident in the Glens box.
The game finished 1-1 and the Glens will feel their second half showing has gone unrewarded whilst Maryhill were rightly delighted with the point. Credit must go to both teams for enduring the conditions and giving their all from start to finish. On a positive note both sets of fans can look forward to the return match and hope for better playing conditions that will allow both teams' footballing abilties to flourish and entertain.
Arthurlie 5 Kilwinning Rangers 1, Pollok 3 Bellshill 0, Renfrew 1 Cumnock 6