Amateur round-up: Wins for title rivals Minerva and Harestanes

Harestanes' Jamie Broadfoot takes on a Dunblane defender (pic by Jamie Forbes)
Harestanes' Jamie Broadfoot takes on a Dunblane defender (pic by Jamie Forbes)

Amateur rivals Harestanes and Campsie Minerva have continued their promising starts to this season’s Foster’s Central Scottish AFL.

Harestanes lead the way with six wins out of seven so far after a 4-2 win over Dunblane Thistle.

And Campsie Minerva, although they have only played four games, maintained their 100 per cent record with a 2-1 win at Eastfield.

Harestanes 4 Dunblane 2

Harestanes stretched their lead at the top of the table - but only after withstanding a Dunblane fightback.

The home side looked to be cruising thanks to a Blair Munn hat-trick which put them three goals up.

But the visitors then pulled two goals back and it took a late Jamie Barclay goal to put the game to bed.

Dunblane made life difficult for Harestanes. They defended in depth, hitting on the break whenever possible.

Harestanes had plenty of the ball but had difficulties turning this into goals.

The first chance fell to McKinney, who produced a decent shot but the keeper pulled off a good save.

It took Harestanes until the 37th minute to open the scoring. A Dunblane defender headed the ball back to his keeper, the mercurial Munn nicked in behind him and struck the ball high into the net.

It remained 1-0 at the break but the Kirkintilloch side looked to have made the game safe when Munn added two more in the second half with fine finishes to complete his treble.

Harestanes were well on top but took the foot of the gas after making a number of a changes.

Midway through the second half Dunblane pulled one goal back and then grabbed a second five minutes later to set up a tense finish.

However Hares were able to relax when Barclay sealed victory by scoring a fourth with around seven minutes remaining.

Barclay worked a couple of one-twos with Malcolm McLean on the edge of the Dunblane box before tucking the ball under the keeper into the bottom corner to finish off a fine move.

Eastfield 1 Campsie Minerva 2

Campsie Minerva were 2-1 winners over old foes Eastfield from Cumbernauld in their Foster’s Central Scottish AFL Premier Division clash on Saturday.

Minerva were looking to continue their 100 per cent league record in what was - due to their positive exploits in national and league cup competitions - their first league outing in over a month.

But no-one in the Campsie dressing room was taking this game lightly and the first half started with both teams probing each other’s defences.

Minerva had the ball in the Eastfield net in the fifth minute, but Steven McGregor’s great header from a Graeme Dempsey cross was rightly ruled offside.

Minerva had their tails up early on but the home side were proving to be well up for this game and had plenty of possession in the first 20 minutes.

On the 20-minute mark Eastfield midfielder Dale Fulton had an opportunistic ball fall to him 20 yards out and his volley motored off the Minerva right hand post. Brendan Shaw in goal for Minerva breathed a huge sigh of relief as his feet were rooted to the ground, so good was the effort.

Minerva’s best chance of the half came in the 44th minute. Jonny Howat picked up the ball inside the home half and laid a great ball inside to Johnny McWilliams but the striker pulled his shot just wide.

As far as the action went that was the game up to half-time and Minerva manager Grant McKie made it known to his squad that in the second half it should be a case of “must do better”.

But the second period was only five minutes old when Minerva had Shaw in goal to thank for a great stop from a Dale Fulton 30-yard shot, the big keeper excelling in keeping out what looked like a goal all day long.

In the 55th minute McGregor had a great free-kick from 18 yards saved well by Tom Hollis, but Minerva continued to press and a minute later they opened the scoring.

The move started with Jamie Pollock winning the ball in the middle of the park and moving it to Tom Neill who slotted it past Hollis.

But the advantage was short-lived - only 60 seconds later the home side were level.

A rather innocuous ball was played to Fulton and the Minerva defence failed to clear.

This led to Fulton being through on goal and try as he might the big Minerva keeper could do nothing.

With all to play for both teams were up for it, but the game was decided with what could very well be a contender for goal of the season for Minerva.

Callum Hendrie picked up the ball in the middle of the park and bore down on goal but from 35 yards out he decided to let fly and as soon as the ball left his foot Hollis in goal for the home side knew the game was up; he made a valiant effort to keep the ball out but to no avail.

Minerva were back in front but would not get things all their own way as they tried to see the clock run down.

Good interplay between Jeff Stewart and Tom Lenaghan saw the big Eastfield frontman Lenaghan almost level it in the 90th minute, but the Minerva defence once again somehow rode their luck as he squandered the opportunity.

This would be the home side’s last foray into the Minerva half and the visitors returned to Lennoxtown with all three points.

Next up on Saturday is a Bunrigh League Cup semi-final against St Pat’s from West Dumbarton at the Scotstoun Showground, kick-off 2pm.

Kirkintilloch Thistle

Kirkintilloch Thistle christened their new strips at Merkland on Saturday morning with a comfortable 6–1 victory against 10 man Bridgeton Vale.

It was Thistle’s third win in a row as they leapfrogged their opponents to move into third place in the SSMAFL Championship A table.

They took control early and left-winger Grant put them one up with a neat first time finish within two minutes.

The early goal woke the visitors up and they began to create a number of chances and Thistle were lucky to remain ahead.

But when a free-kick from the halfway line was missed by the Bridgeton keeper, centre-half McLay was there to tap into an empty net.

Vale pulled a goal back but Kirkintilloch added a third with a near post finish by top goalscorer McDonald.

Just before half-time the away side went down to 10 men after an off the ball incident.

This allowed Kirky to comfortably take control of the second half with Grant and McDonald (2) adding to their tallies.

Lenzie YC 2002b

Lenzie enjoyed a good performance and result as they defeated Third Lanark 4-1 in a Central League clash.

In the first half the Thirds goalkeeper kept them in the game with a string of good saves, before Lewis Gargano then finished off a piece of good play from Max Wheadon and Conor Wilkie to open the scoring.

In the second half, a Gargano rocket increased Lenzie’s lead and then he completed his hat-trick, his fourth this season.

Lenzie then let their standard drop a bit and Thirds got a goal back, but after a good run and shot from Jake was well saved, Max Wheadon followed up to restore Lenzie’s three-goal lead.

Referees player was Jonathan Loch who tormented the Thirds rearguard with his mazy runs.

Lenzie YC 2003s

Lenzie YC 2003 are looking for new players to join the club now.

The club were B league winners last season and play in the CSFA A league.

Anyone interested should contact Billy on 07818 096752.