Rossvale 3 Rutherglen Glencairn 1
Tuesday 22nd December 2020 - PDM Buildbase WoSFL Premier Division
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Glencairn's unpredictable form continued as they slipped to defeat away to Rossvale in the final game of 2020. Having produced a much-improved performance in the previous match away at Troon, there's was only one change to the starting line-up as Jay McKay replaced suspended striker Derek McNab.
It looked initially that the improvement was going to continue as The Glens started the match on the front foot, and McKay almost set up Dale Simeon inside the opening sixty seconds, Conor Bradley blocking at the near post for an early corner kick. The resulting cross by Simeon was misjudged by goalkeeper Craig Gordon, but the ball flashed across the face of goal with nobody able to get a touch to turn it towards goal.
The Glens made their early pressure count as they took the lead with the next attack in the 3rd minute. Tam Miller's low cross from the left fell to the feet of Dale Simeon who slipped past his marker, took a touch around another defender and then reversed the ball back across Gordon and into the net off the inside of the post. It was Simeon's first goal since his return to the club, and his 47th overall for the club in only 61 starting appearances.
Rossvale responded with a low angled shot from 20 yards which was well held down low on his goal line by Scott McLellan, before Glencairn sprung to the other end and threatened again. McKay got free of his marker on the right edge of the penalty area and his square ball across goal was aimed for the in-rushing Harry Mitchell, but Robbie Torrance matched the run and made a vital interception before Mitchell could pounce.
Simeon's corner from the left in the 11th minute picked out the run of Mick O'Byrne, but his glancing header flew a couple of yards wide of the far post. Kyle Prior tried a volley for Rossvale which flew well off target, and at this stage Glencairn looked good value for the narrow lead they had.
The game changed around the 20-minute mark, though, and the hosts asserted an authority on possession and territory which was to turn the game on its head. There was an initial let-off for Glencairn as a penalty kick awarded for O'Byrne's foul on former Glencairn u21s striker Paul Brennan was over-ruled by the assistant referee's offside flag against the striker.
Rossvale got a lucky break themselves a minute later as Mitchell pressurised Gordon from a passback and got a block to his attempted kick-out, but the ball broke kindly for the hosts to spare the goalie's blushes.
There was a hint of what was about to come, though, in the 24th minute as Brennan raced down the right and squared across the face of goal, just out of the reach of Mikey McWilliams who was stretching to convert. A minute later Rossvale were level as the Glencairn defence appeared to simultaneously disappear, leaving Lee Roulston with a free header right in front of goal which he simply couldn't miss, and he didn't.
Three minutes later the hosts had turned the game round completely as they took the lead. A swift passing move ended with an angled shot from 20 yards by Lee Roulston which found its way past McLellan and into the far corner of the net.
Roulston should have completed a 6-minute hat-trick as he found space and time inside the penalty area in the 31st minute, but he lacked composure and snatched at the effort somewhat, pulling his shot from 12 yards wide of the far post when a goal seemed certain.
It had been a very poor 20 minutes or so for The Glens, but they showed signs towards half time of recovery again as firstly Drew Wingate fired a shot wide of goal from 20 yards, and then McKay's cross from the right was just too high for Simeon to convert in front of goal. The threat of Roulston was still obvious, though, and he fired another effort narrowly wide of the near post in stoppage time moments before the half time whistle.
Half time : 2-1
The Glens' players were given a roasting at the interval from first team coach Tony Fraser, in charge of the dugout area for the evening due to the suspension of manager Willie Harvey and the unavailability of assistant manager Joe Pryce.
It's fair to say that Fraser got the response he wanted as Glencairn were a much-improved side in the second half. Simeon's corner from the right in the 54th minute was flicked on at the near post into the path of O'Byrne, who controlled the ball on his chest before volleying the ball well over the crossbar. A few minutes later good link play between Simeon and McKay almost turned the key of the home defence, only for an extended defensive leg to turn the ball into the grateful arms of Gordon as McKay seemed set to pounce.
Brennan went close for Rossvale on the hour mark as he got his foot to a cross at the near post but couldn't turn it on target, but it was the first real threat from the home side since the interval.
Glencairn re-shaped by bringing on Scott Schoneville to replace Wingate who was treading a tightrope with a yellow card hanging over him. Mitchell tucked in to a more central position to attempt to feed McKay and Simeon in the forward areas. Liam Gormley then replaced the tiring McKay at the mid point of the second half.
Things suddenly got harder for The Glens, though, as firstly Jackson Biggar was shown an unnecessary yellow for an inocuous foul, and then in the 70th minute he was shown a second yellow card and the inevitable red for dissent to the referee. It was now a huge uphill task for Glencairn to get anything out of the match, but to their credit they continued to be the more threatening side in the second half despite the one-man disadvantage.
The frustration of the Glencairn dugout area was obvious, and Fraser was next to be sent to stand on the sidelines as he was shown a red card for alleged comments made to the assistant referee.
Simeon was the creator again in the 73rd minute as he turned inside his marker on the right and fed Mitchell who drilled an angled shot from 20 yards which rose just over the crossbar. Glencairn's final change saw midfielder Tommy Lone withdrawn and replaced by right sided midfielder Craig Quinn, making his Glencairn debut on loan from Petershill, and filling the gap vacated by Biggar's red card.
As the match moved into the final stages Glencairn committed further forward looking for an equaliser, inevitably leaving gaps for Rossvale to expose on the breakaway. Brennan thought he had wrapped up the points on the end of one such break, but Craig McGregor got back onto the goal line to make a headed block and keep The Glens in with a chance of recovering something.
Roulston had another opportunity to complete his hat-trick as he caught McLellan in possession, but his attempt to roll the ball into the empty net was just off target as the ball slipped across goal and wide of the far post, and there was still hope for Glencairn.
There was always hope that Glencairn would get one more big chance, and with two minutes left Simeon's corner from the right was met by the head of Mitchell at the back post, but he couldn't direct the ball away from Gordon who gratefully clutched the ball into his chest on the goal line.
The game was finally put to bed by Rossvale in the first minute of stoppage time as the ball was cut back from the bye line into the path of trialist Jonathan Kavanagh who had time to pick his spot in the net to make it 3-1.
Rossvale :- Gordon, Bradley, McGrath, Urquhart, Prior, Roulston, McWilliams, Bradley, Rodger, Brennan, Torrance. (Subs - McDowall, Kavanagh, Higgins, Alexander, McLean, Baird, Welsh.)
Rutherglen Glencairn :- McLellan, Biggar, Miller, McGregor, O'Byrne, Coleman, Tommy Lone (Quinn), Wingate (Schoneville), McKay (Gormley), Simeon, Mitchell. (Subs not used - McGuire, Maxwell, McIntosh, Whyte (gk),)
Man of the match - (chosen by Alan Thomson) Dale Simeon.