Fight for top spot
Glens and Lang lead league cup group
It is all to play for in group four of the Exsel Group Central Sectional League Cup after The Glens defeated Vale of Clyde in the first home match of the season.
Willie Harvey made four changes to the starting line-up from last week’s draw with Cambuslang Rangers. The squad included seven players who were making their first home appearances at The Celsius Stadium.
Glencairn went close early in the match as Jay McKay charged down an attempted clearance by Vale defender Dean Currie and lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Mathew Lynch but saw his effort rebound from the far post. There was a blow for the Glens after only five minutes when right back Graeme Brown limped off and was replaced by Stewart Hall.
Vale had a couple of flurries around the Glencairn goal without seriously testing goalkeeper JC Hutchison but the Glens got the reward for their pressure as they took the lead in the 18th minute. Hamilton fed Team, who set up Fraser for a cross from the left which was volleyed into the net at the back post by Ryan Bennett.
Haydn Cochrane of Vale picked up a yellow card and was joined shortly afterwards in the book by home midfielder Sean McGuire for a tug on the shirt of Robert O’Donnell.
Vale should have levelled when Alan Kane broke free and his cross was deflected into the path of former Glencairn winger Kris Irvine, who scuffed his shot wide from 12 yards out.
The flow of the game turned on its head in a couple of minutes early in the second half. McGuire was shown a second yellow card after an attempted block tackle on O’Donnell inside the centre circle.
The Vale equalised from the resulting free kick. Lee Morrison’s ball from halfway was lifted towards the penalty area and Hutchison went to punch clear but Scott McManus got there first to knock the ball past him with his shoulder into the empty net.
A double change for Glencairn saw Jamie Hunter and Del McNab replace Bennett and Hamilton. McNab almost made an immediate impact as his run and cross from the right was met at the near post by Team, whose shot rattled the post.
The psychological edge swung back in Glencairn’s favour as Vale suddenly lost their extra man advantage. Hall’s run down the right was abruptly stopped by a late challenge by Cochrane and the referee evened the sides up with a second yellow card.
And in the 72nd minute the Glens edged in front. Fraser’s precise cross was met by the free head of Team, whose header was brilliantly parried on to the bar by Lynch, only for Del McNab to react first and head the rebound into the net from close range.
Late on O’Donnell’s dipping free kick forced the Glencairn number one to tip it over the bar at full stretch.