Cambuslang Rangers 1-3 St Anthony’s
Abercorn 1st Division
Saturday 8th May 2003
at Somervell Park
Cambuslang Rangers crashed to a 3-1 defeat in their final Home league match of the season. With the supporters in party mood after clinching promotion the week before the visitors had other ideas and arrived to spoil the party.
It was an uninspiring display for the champions elect and were out fought and second to most balls. The hectic fixture schedule was beginning to show on the Somervell Park boys who just couldn't seem to get going in this match.
St Anthony's had clinched their place in the first division the previous week staving off the threat of relegation but were determined to finish the season on a high, they also had come to gain revenge for the last encounter between the sides in which the Lang delivered the Ant's first competitive defeat at their new ground McKenna Park.
Cambuslang were still missing Brain Martin and Richie Love through injury.
Cambuslang found themselves under some pressure as early as the 2nd minute and indeed should have fell behind with the first attack of the game. A free kick on the edge of the box was well struck but Lang keeper was down to it but he spilled the ball into the path of Mulheron who from 3 yards managed to put the ball over the bar. Minutes later and another chance was presented to the visitors this time Rowan pulling off a fine stop. A bizarre decision left the Lang fans in a rage when Burns steaming toward goal was fouled 20 yards out as the whistle blew and Lang thought they had a free kick the referee booked Burns for diving, easily the poorest decision of the match. 10 minutes and Cambuslang carved out their first opening of the game. McCrae sent over a delightful cross which was met by Brown but his effort was well saved. The breakthrough came on 20 minutes and it was the visitors who opened the scoring. The dangerous long throws finally caught out the Lang defence and Mulheron made no mistake heading past Rowan. The home side were very little threat at the other end and the front pairing of McCrae and Brown were starved of any real quality ball as the Lang midfield failed to get into the match. The Lang responded after they went a goal behind and almost immediately should have levelled. Jamie McCarroll having his effort cleared off the line.
Cambuslang looked a lot more hungrier in the second half, no doubt a few choice words from the manager at the interval were the cause for the urgency shown at the start of the half. The home side almost got back level after 3 minutes of the re start. Burns cross to McCrae but he was unable to keep the header down and it went inches over the bar. Next up McCarroll for the home side but he too failed to make the keeper work as he pulled his shot well wide of the target. 10 minutes in the second half and the visitors had a man booked for time wasting as at every opportunity they would try and run down the clock. The home side eventually gave the part mood Lang fans something to shout about. On 55 minutes they drew level. Top scorer Brown had a fresh air swipe at the ball which somehow fell kindly for him and he thrashed the ball home. The Lang fans burst into song and the party almost begun. Cambuslang replaced McCrae with Holmes on 65 minutes. Ant's Mulheron rattled the bar with a fine header minutes later. With 10 minutes remaining the visitors regained the lead and it was that man Mulheron, who was giving the Lang defence a hard time all afternoon. He poked home the ball after the Lang failed to clear the danger in the crowded penalty area. As Cambuslang pushed for another leveller they were hit with the sucker punch and Ant's Mulheron rounded of a perfect afternoon for himself and team mates with a deserved hat trick. A long cross into the box was met by his diving header and the party was well and truly spoilt. The champagne would have to go back on the ice until the last league encounter last night (WED 12 MAY). That was until news filtered through that chasers Greenock had been defeated by Vale of Leven meaning Cambuslang were now the Champions. As the player and fans both celebrated and awaited the presenting of the trophy, it was withheld by the SJFA representative as it was still possible for Cambuslang to lose the title. Sitting above Rob Roy who had finished their campaign and in front of Greenock who could not now catch Cambuslang. But if Cambuslang were to lose their last match by, wait for it, 13 goals then Rob Roy would be champions. So the party was halted and the fans disappointed the presentation could not take place. The unlikely event of losing by that amount was still not enough to persuade the SJFA rep to hand over the trophy. At the end of the game Cambuslang made a sporting gesture to the visitors by signing the match ball and presenting it to Ant's hat trick hero Joe Mulheron.
So now Cambuslang will have to wait until Wednesday's final league game where they travel to Greenock to take on relegation candidates Port Glasgow who have to score more goals in this one game than they have in the previous 20 this season.
Line up Rowan, Ferguson, McGregor (Paterson 88), Feenie, Doak, Coulter, McCarroll, Galloway, McCrae (Holmes 65), Brown, Burns
Subs Not Used Murphy, Carmichael & Stoddart