Greenock 0-2 Cambuslang Rangers
Abercorn 1st Division
Monday 3rd May 2004
at Ravenscraig Stadium
Cambuslang Rangers bounced back from the disappointing 4-1 reverse v EK last week to gain a vital 3 points from 3rd placed Greenock. With Rob Roy out in front and Greenock breathing down the Lang's necks nothing less than a victory would be enough. The punishing schedule the Lang find themselves in is taking it's toll on an already sparse squad.
Brian Martin failed to make the game after picking up a knock v EK. Richie Love was still missing with shin injury and Paul Brown could only make the bench. Gary McGregor returned after hamstring trouble. Willie Galloway was restored to the midfield at the expense of Jamie McCarroll who had to make do with a seat on the bench.
The visitors made a good start and indeed almost opened the scoring after only 5 minutes. McCrae sold a superb dummy to the Greenock defender before delivering the perfect ball for the on rushing Burns, but his effort was tipped onto the bar by the keeper when Burns really should have burst the net. The home side responded instantly and Dow had a free header 4 yards out but headed weakly wide with the goal at his mercy. The same player missed a similar chance minutes later this time he was slightly further out but should have punished the slack Lang defending. The visitors had a good spell at the end of the half and could have found themselves a couple of goals to the good, but some dogged defending and some sloppy finishing saw numerous chances go a begging. Holmes and Paterson combined well to set up the later but another fine stop saw Paterson's effort tipped round the post. Next up McGregor had his header cleared off the line as did Ferguson.
Lang manager Andy Cunningham gave his lads 5 minutes in the second half to stamp their authority on the game but it just wasn't happening. Two substitutions on 53 minutes soon changed all that. Paterson, who had failed to make any impact on the match, was replaced with Jamie McCarroll and only a minute later the Lang were 1 up. Coulter played a superb pass to McCrae who had beaten the offside trap and the Lang striker slotted for his 4 th goal in 3 games. Soon after Cambuslang replaced the hard working Holmes with top scorer Paul Brown. The visitors almost doubled their lead on 55 minutes. Brown met Galloway's cross at the front post but the ball agonisingly missed the far post by a matter of inches. The visitors were beginning to put a few passes together and the home side were unable to get near the ball. This was the sort of play the Lang fans were starved of in the EK game. On the hour mark Cambuslang had another great chance to score, Brown was in on goal and unselfishly crossed to McCrae, he took a touch before firing at goal and the keeper produced another top drawer save to deny McCrae, and a minute later Cambuslang rattled the post through Coulter. With the Cambuslang chances coming thick and fast they were still coming up against a keeper who was having a superb night and the visitors just couldn't find a way past him. Greenock were hitting Cambuslang on the counter but they failed to trouble Rowan in the Lang goal. With 5 minutes remaining the home side had strong appeals for a penalty waived away when Dow fell in the box after a tangle with Ferguson. Cambuslang then struck the woodwork yet again, this time through McCarroll. He swivelled on the edge of the box before volleying his shot off the bar. The home side were starting to apply some pressure of their own and a succession of corners followed. Lang defender Martin Feenie collected the ball in his won penalty box before sending Brown away down the left hand side, with the Greenock players struggling to get back Brown crossed into the box for the unmarked McCrae who coolly slotted the all important 2nd for the Lang. McCrae's confidence is clearly evident as that was his 5 th goal in 3 matches. Cambuslang should have put the icing on the cake in stoppage time when Brown found himself with only the keeper to beat but the Lang mans attempted chip was well saved by the Greenock keeper. The only question on most people's lips at the end was, where did the 6 minutes stoppage time come from. Anyway the Lang ran down the clock for a superb victory that gets them back on course for promotion which can be clinched on Wednesday v Glencairn.
Rowan, Ferguson, McGregor, Feenie, Doak, Coulter (Stoddart 85), Paterson (McCarroll 53), Holmes (Brown 55), McCrae, Galloway, Burns
Murphy (GK) Carmichael