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Johnshaven Ath 4 – 1 Glentanar Reflex

Division One (East) at Wairds Park, Johnshaven on Saturday 10th January

Both teams arrived knowing that three points were essential to help avoid a relegation battle for the rest of the season.

It was a cold and blustery day with the recent heavy downpours making the pitch heavy and slippery underfoot. Johnshaven had a full squad to choose from meaning that a couple of players could not be selected. Glentanar travelled with reduced numbers and only had a squad of 14.

Johnshaven won the toss and changed ends to try and take advantage of the strong wind blowing down the pitch. Both teams lined up with 4-4-2 formations.

From the kick-off Johnshaven pressed forward with their wide players pushing up and the two central midfielders, Craig Lownie and Logan Cruickshank, sitting deeper and protecting the back four.

The first few minutes were scrappy with both teams struggling with the wind and pitch conditions. Glentanar’s Mark Rosie found some space down the right hand side and forced his way into the penalty box where he made a good cut-back but there were no takers from the attacking team. Glentanar’s Kyle McKenzie and Ricky Hunter were trying hard to link together but were well marshalled by Dane Dundas and Andrew Maiden in the centre of the Johnshaven defence.

After ten minutes a corner from the right for Johnshaven was played in low where it came to Ross Blease who turned and hit a shot that hit the bar. Following up Craig Lownie and Leon Dundas tried to capitalise but were crowded out.

A couple of minutes later a strong header out of defence by Andrew Maiden found its way to Gavin Buist who played a quick ball to Leon Dundas who coolly lobbed the advancing Glentanar keeper Liam Shearer to open the scoring.

Johnshaven then took a firm grip of the game and continued to press forward forcing a couple of corners in quick succession resulting in Andrew Maiden just failing to score.

Shortly afterwards good hold-up play by Gavin Buist let him lay the ball off to Grant Philip who slotted home with his left foot from just inside the box.

Ross Blease then had another shot that just cleared the bar. Glentanar continued to battle away and were nearly rewarded when Alan Hudson beat a couple of players in the middle of the park but was crowded out by the scrambling defence.

After half an hour Glentanar found some space down their left and with some hesitant play from the Johnshaven defence Alan Hudson found himself in the clear, drove forward into the penalty area and hit a strong left-footed shot which beat Johnshaven keeper John Wands at his near post.

Despite this set-back Johnshaven continued to attack at every opportunity and almost scored from the resulting restart when good link-up play between Ross Blease, Gavin Buist and Leon Dundas ended with a good cross that Grant Philip just failed to convert when his header flashed past the left-hand post.

Welsh, who was having a strong yet composed game at left back for Johnshaven, made a forceful run and was tripped inside the Glentanar area for a penalty. Gavin Buist stepped forward and slammed the ball home.

Shortly after this Glentanar suffered a setback when their goalkeeper, Liam Shearer, seemed to pull a hamstring whilst taking a goal kick and had to be substituted. Mike Deans took over in goal and a reshuffle of positions took place. Gordon Stewart came on to the pitch and most notably Alan Hudson had to be moved to left back.

Johnshaven managed a couple more efforts before half-time with Craig Lownie and Gavin Buist both having chances to increase the score line and both should have done better with their opportunities.

Half-time: 3-1

The second half kicked off with James Reid replacing an injured Ross Blease for Johnshaven.

Early on a good through ball from Grant Philip found Gavin Buist running in on goal but he failed to take full advantage of the one on one and mis-hit his shot past the post.

In the 15th minute David McKay replace the tiring Gavin Buist.

Glentanar pushed forward trying to reduce the deficit and forced a couple of corners. They were unable to create any clear scoring opportunities and found it hard to break down the wall of defiance that was the Johnshaven back line.

Glentanar substituted Alan Hudson who was finding it hard to get into the game after being moved to left back and he was replaced by Steven Buchanan

Just after this Glentanar had another corner that ended with the ball just dropping over the bar after a scramble on the six yard line.

Midway through the half James Reid chested the ball down and hit a first time volley just over the Glentanar bar.

The heavy conditions underfoot meant that a lot of players were starting to tire quite visibly and this led to a period of scrappy play and no real attempts on goal.

With ten minutes to go Johnshaven made their final change with, Ricki Mustard replacing Grant Philip who was suffering from a back strain.

Logan Cruickshank who had been playing on the left of the Johnshaven midfield since James Reid came onto the pitch then had a good opportunity to seal the game. He found space in the box and hit a powerful shot that hit the post full on and rebounded out of the box.

Glentanar made their final substitution with Mathew Hodkinson replacing Ricky Hunter.

Logan Cruickshank then had another shot but failed to hit the target with the ball going over the bar.

Almost on full-time Aaron Welsh advanced into the Glentanar half and after beating the covering midfielder he found himself in space 25 yards from goal. Sizing up the options and looking like he could run no further he unleashed a vicious shot that dipped just under the bar and left the goalkeeper with no chance.

A hard fought game for both sides but Johnshaven were the deserving winners but Glentanar’s effort could not be faulted.

Full-time: 4-1

Johnshaven Athletic: John Wands, Steven Scott, Aaron Welsh, Dane Dundas, Andrew Maiden (T), Craig Lownie, Grant Philip (Rikki Mustard) Logan Cruickshank, Leon Dundas, Gavin Buist (Captain) (David McKay) & Ross Blease (James Reid). Subs Stuart McDonald & Scott Beedie

Glentanar Reflex: Liam Shearer (Gordon Stewart), Ian Milne, Bruce Mason, Michael Westwater, Mike Deans, Martin Tough, Alan Hudson (Steven Buchanan), Andrew Morrison, Kyle McKenzie, Ricky Hunter (Mathew Hodkinson) & Mark Rosie.

Johnshaven Man of the Match: Grant Philip

Glentanar Man of the Match: Martin Tough

Referee: Chris Hudson

Match Reporter: Corin Gunnis