Cambuslang Rangers 2-1 Hurlford
Rockware Super League 1st Division
Saturday 31st August 2002
Cambuslang Rangers got their Super League Season off to the perfect start with a hard fought victory over Ayrshire side Hurlford. The homeside did it the hard way after going down to 10 men when they looked to be coasting.
Cambuslang had no fewer than 5 players unavailable for this match. Skipper Billy Holmes (hamstring), Keeper Wardlaw (back) Daisley (calf), Ferguson (hamstring) Watson (knee) and Kenny Balmain was on holiday. So some tinkering was required by Andy Cunningham and his assistants and they came up with the right ingredients.
With both Daisley and Holmes missing this gave new signing Derek Carmichael the chance to show what he can do and the big striker delivered with 2 goals on his debut. He was signed from East Fife before the transfer window closes. Andy Cunningham was busy during the week trying to tie up players before the new transfer window kicked in, he signed James Fay, Alan Foster and Paul Dignam to boost his squad to a total of 21 players.
Cambuslang Rangers looked lively in the opening part of the game and could have taken the lead on a number of occasions but some poor finishing was their downfall. The first real chance came from Carmichael who fired inches over the bar after working himself into a good position. Lang's McCrae should have done better when his fine turn in the box gave him room to shoot but the Lang man could only find the side net. The first booking of the afternoon went the home side when Webster went in late on Russell. On 25 minutes Cambuslang were gifted another opportunity but again they failed to test the keeper when Dignam fired tamely over the bar. The homeside picked up another booking this time when Stoddart was adjudged to have fouled Johnson. On the half hour mark Cambuslang had another effort miss the target but Paterson's shot wasn't far away with the keeper rooted to the spot. The first notable save of the first half came when Lang's Stoddart fired in a blistering shot only to see the keeper save it with his feet. By this time Cambuslang were creating plenty of chances and the Hurlford rear guard were under a fair bit of pressure from the home side. Defender Gary McGregor was unlucky not to open the scoring when he headed goal ward only for a last gasp fingertip save from the keeper tipped his ball over the bar. Cambuslang had another great chance at the end of the half when both McCrae and Dignam were presented with the ball after some slack defending but the two players got in each others road and resulted in Dignam taking the shot but he pulled it wide of the target much to the disgust of McCrae.
Hurlford showed a little more as an attacking force in the second half and almost scored from the kick off. Russell was the sinner when he fired over the bar after some slack defending from the Lang. The breakthrough came on 50 minutes and it was the home side that took the lead. Stoddart collected Patersonís free kick and his cut back was knocked home by new signing Carmichael for his 1st goal for his new club. Cambuslang then seemed to shoot themselves in the foot when they were reduced to 10 men when Galloway was red carded for having a kick at a Hurlford player. As is the normal in these situations it gave the visitors a massive boost and they began to push the home side back and some desperate defending was called for. Lang's McCrae picked up a yellow card for voicing his displeasure at the decision. Cambuslang immediately made a couple of changes in an attempt to get the shape back in the defence and stiffen up the midfield for the long half hour that remained. Fay and Taylor replaced McFarlane and McCrae. Despite being under some pressure after the sending off Cambuslang managed to get a second. Dignam found himself in the box before being hauled down and the referee awarded the penalty kick. Much to the annoyance of the Lang support the offender only received a yellow card for his sins. After all the commotion new signing Carmichael stepped up to take the kick and he slotted past the despairing dive of the keeper to notch his and the Lang's second. With the Lang seemingly cruising they just collapsed as Hurlford threw everything they had at the Cambuslang defence. The visitors hauled themselves back into the game within 3 minutes of the Lang getting their second. Freil made his way to the by line before cutting the ball back to Wilson who fired home despite McGovern's brave attempts to save it but the power just beat him. Within a minute the visitors should have equalised but a free header in the box by Freil went over the bar. Lang's Paterson then picked up a needless booking for speaking out of turn. McGovern in the Lang goal picked up a knock when he was clearly caught by the foot of Johnston but the challenge only earned the player a yellow card. Hurlford then began to throw bodies up front in an attempt to get back in the game. In trying to run down the clock Cambuslang then brought on another new face replacing the hard working Dignam with Foster. Cambuslang defence with Jim Kavanagh marshalling they stood firm and the visitors couldn't find away past them as they held out for a tough and hard earned 3 points.
McGovern, Kavanagh, McGregor, Webster, Paterson, Stoddart, Dignam (Foster 89), Galloway, Carmichael, McCrae (Fay 60) McFarlane (Taylor)
Subs not used Wardlaw and Smith
Moore, Lawless, McQueen, Lindsay, Freil, Wilson, Russell, Johnstone, McIlroy, Stephenson
Subs from McRobert, Donnelly, McGregor, Kerr & Bennet
*** Derek Carmichael. Impressive debut from the Striker
** Ian Stoddart... Still finding his feet but seems to get better with every game.
* Gary McGregor.. Another solid display in the heart of the defence.