Sunshine on Tay !
TAYPORT F.C. 0 GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 0
A bitterly cold wind, glorious sunshine and an equally glorious playing surface was the welcoming scene for this Scottish Junior Cup 5th round tie at The Canniepairt, Tayport. Almost 12 years have come and gone since the Glens beat their hosts in the Junior Cup Final of 1993 and since then Tayport have established themselves as one of the top junior sides in the land, going on to lift the Junior Cup in 1996 and 2003.
Beattie, Boyd, Mallan and McCaig queue up for the set-piece
Conscious of this past history and conscious too that most neutrals considered this the toughest game to call in all of the 5th round ties, it perhaps was no surprise that the first 15 minutes saw both sides sizing up each other and refusing to throw caution against the freezing wind. More like canny park than Canniepairt.
Stevie Mallan was first to threaten for the Glens with a trademark rocket shot from the edge of the box, hit with ferocity but lacking the necessary accuracy to trouble Fitzpatrick in the Tayport goal. Later the goalie would spill a Craig Bingham free-kick but was quicker to react than any of the Glens predators and recovered well.
Stuart Boyd - up against one of the best defences the Glens have met all season
As the half progressed Tayport began to dominate pushing the Glens midfield deeper into their own half. Roberto Morris on the right and Gareth Dailly on the left were seeing far too much of the ball for the liking of the travelling support. Dailly in particular outpaced the Glens defence on a number of occasions, to hit the bye-line before delivering crosses to the back post with great precision. The Glens central defenders Keith Hogg, magnificent throughout the match and John McCaig have seldom had a busier 30 minutes . One of Dailly's crosses did finally beat them both and Tayport's Ward was unlucky to see his 'Gordon McQueen-like header' (Wembley 1977) go beyond Gary Matthews right hand post. Tayport restricted the Glens to only a few half-chances and for long spells the Glens were always third to every ball . Disappointingly, a feature of Tayport's tactics was their willingness to break up play by committing a serious of fouls in and around the half-way line. Nevertheless as the half ended goalless, the Glens left the pitch the more relieved side.
Half-time Tayport 0 Glenafton 0
The second-half started off much more promisingly for the Glens. Morris and Dailly had much less freedom to operate, with the latter in particular getting little change out of Joe Carruth. Unfortunately. Dailly displayed his frustration in a very unprofessional manner, unbefitting of his fine first half performance. Carruth had been fouled and floored on the half-way line and whilst other Tayport players remonstrated with the referee, Dailly blasted the stationary ball directly at Carruth's head with the same accuracy of his aforementioned crossing skills.
Richie Newall and Stevie Mallan shuffle
Stevie Agnew was now penetrating deeper into the Tayport half, no mean feat in itself since the home-side's central pairing had an outstanding match, and he carved out two great openings. One finished with a tumble in the box, which harshly resulted in Aggie getting a ticking-off from the referee, and the other with a self-inflicted stumble just outside the box. Tayport still had their moments, but the Glens grew in confidence as the match drew to a close. And draw to a close it did, with the final score Tayport 0 Glenafton 0.
Both sides deserve great credit for the effort and commitment shown in this tough tussle and there can be few complaints that no side lost out today. The Glens preserved their record of having not conceded a goal in this season's competition, a proud record to take back to Loch Park for the replay, a game which is sure to be another close encounter.