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Auchinleck 0, Glenafton 2: Match Report

GLENAFTON lifted the Ardagh Glass Ayrshire League Cup for the first time since 2005 with victory over Auchinleck Talbot.

The New Cumnock side fully deserved their famous win with goals coming from Cameron Marlow and Alain Kinney in each half of Sunday afternoon’s final at Portland Park in Troon.

And the taste of success was all the more sweeter for the Loch Park side after experiencing the heartache of losing the Scottish Junior Cup final against Hurlford only four months ago.

The game started at a great tempo on a fabulous Portland Park playing surface and the clash certainly lived up to its billing.

Talbot’s David Gormley found space inside the Glenafton box with two minutes on the clock but Jamie McGeoghegan was alert to block the strikers effort.

Glenfton’s first moment of note was in five minutes when Adam Strachan found space on the left to cut inside and unleash a powerful shot which was blocked by the Talbot defence and the ball broke kindly for Jamie McKernon but he dragged his shot wide.

McKernon had another try from distance in seven minutes when the midfielder tried his luck from 35 yards with a rasping drive but his shot was well held by Talbot keeper Andy Leishman.

Glenafton increasingly came into the game and went close to breaking the deadlock in 11 minutes when Michael Wardrope stung the hands of Leishman from the edge of the box but the opening goal was coming and it arrived in 16 minutes.

Strachan started a move which led to good link up play between Aaron Connolly and Kinney which split the Talbot defence allowing Marlow to burst into the left side of the box and the midfielder struck a well placed shot across the face of Leishman and into the far corner of the net.

The Super League champions had a great chance to level matters just before the half hour mark when full-back Ally Park delivered a dangerous cross into the penalty box for Graham Wilson who’s net-bound header was superbly stopped by Glenafton keeper Brian McGarrity.

But Glenafton had an even better chance to extend their lead 33 minutes when a defensive error allowed Connolly to break free and feed the ball out to Strachan on the left.

Strachan took his time to return the ball to Connolly in front of goal but the striker somehow smashed the ball off the bar from 6 yards when he should have scored and with Leishman rooted to the spot.

Tommy Bryce’s men again started the second half brightly and Kinney was presented with a gilt-edged chance in 48 minutes when he got onto the end of Michael Wardrope’s low cross but striker flicked the ball over the bar from point-blank range.

However the same striker didn’t make the same mistake five minutes later when he bagged the decisive second goal which took the game beyond Talbot.

Full-back Daniel Orsi played a great ball over the top of the Talbot defence for Kinney in the inside right position and the striker produced a neat finish by sliding the ball under the advancing Leishman to put the Glens fans in dreamland.

Glenafton continued to push forward looking to put the game well beyond Talbot and Kinney went close again in 72 minutes when he was released by Marlow before thumping an effort towards goal but Leishman produced an outstanding save by tipping the ball over the bar.

Talbot boss Tommy Sloan introduced the experienced trio of Kier Milliken, Colin Spence and James Latta in the latter stages to try to rescue the game.

And Milliken thought he had won his team a penalty in 74 minutes when he went down under a challenge from McGeoghegan but the protests fell on deaf ears and Milliken was booked for simulation.

Spence could have given Talbot some hope with ten minutes remaining when his team were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the Glenafton box after Latta was fouled but Spence’s curling effort was well held by McGarrity.

But Glenafton continued to push forward in the closing stages and worked some good openings but couldn’t capitalise add to their tally.

However the damage had been done earlier in the game and Bryce’s men stood firm to claim the first silverware of the season and add further misery to Talbot who crashed out of the William Hill Scottish Cup against Edinburgh City last week.

Glenafton goal hero Kinney said: “This victory has been coming for Glenafton for some time. We’ve been playing some good football this season and it was only a matter of time before we won a trophy and the lads deserve it. It’s also great to win the trophy against our local rivals Auchinleck who have been team to beat in Ayrshire for a number of season’s. So this victory shows how far we’ve come in the last year or so to beat a team like Talbot so comfortably”.

Stuart Coleman

 

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