Luncarty 1-2 Glenrothes
EOSFL Conference B
Glenrothes left it late to take all three points and condemn Luncarty to their first defeat of the season at Brownlands Park. Murray Carstairs gave the visitors the lead early in the second half, but Sean Fergus levelled from the penalty spot fifteen minutes from time. Just as it looked like the points would be shared, Blair Smart snatched an injury time winner to topple Luncarty from top spot in the table.
Luncarty had started the day on top of Conference B, and gaffer Robbie Holden went with a 4-5-1 of Michael Patton in goal and a back four of Scott Mollinson, James Yates, Kevin Sinclair and Danny Dobie. Lewis Mackie, Callum Kirkaldy and Keith Dewar in the centre of midfield with Sean Fergus wide left, Christ Anton on the right and Fraser Mills up top.
By contrast, Glenrothes were in tenth spot of Saturday morning without a win on the road and management team of Kevin Smith and John Martin went with a 5-3-2 formation of: Shaw in goal, Andy McDonald, Blair Smart and Lewis Grierson in the centre of defence, Callum Kinnes at rightback and Grant Skinner left. The three-man midfield consisted of Charlie Denton, Murray Carstairs and King, with a strike partnership of Scott Russell and Fionn McLeod Kay.
After snow and heavy rain across the central belt, this was one of the few fixtures to survive the weather thanks to the hard work of the volunteers who got Brownlands Park ready in time for kick off. The surface was soft and looked pretty heavy, but the sun was shining, and it was a fine day for football.
The game itself was a bit of a slow burner to be honest, the Glens enjoying the best of an uneventful first half. Conditions underfoot made it difficult to get the ball down and play, and the first 45 was an aerial battle which Glenrothes won easily thanks to their height advantage. The majority of the goalmouth action took place in the Luncarty box, Patton the busier of the two keepers.
The hosts were forced into a change midway through the first half, Dewar picking up a nasty looking injury to his ear after an accidental collision with the Glens keeper and had to be replaced by Craig Mitchell. Chances were few & far between in the opening 45, but it was the Glens that looked the more likely to get themselves on the scoresheet, Luncarty struggling to exert any real pressure on their visitors.
The game came to life ten minutes into the second half when Glenrothes won a free kick on the edge of the box, Denton brought down after a penetrating run. Murray Carstairs took the kick, drilling it low into the corner with Patton rooted to the spot.
Referee Stephen Gill had a busy afternoon as the second half began to bubble up, but although neither side was holding back in the tackle, it wasn’t what you would call a dirty game. The conditions made it easy to mistime the odd tackle, which Gill seemed to make allowances for, and the game was all the more watchable for it. Kirkaldy seemed to be walking a bit of a tightrope though, his frustration becoming more & more evident and he was replaced by Green on the hour before he could talk himself into trouble.
Russell had a couple of great chances to double the Glen’s lead, the best on 70 minutes after a quick turn of pace down the right wing, cutting inside and beating his man, before lobbing Patton from the edge of the box, but his chip just slipped past the post. Glenrothes were made to pay just a couple of minutes later after a dangerous looking ball to the back post which was handled by one of the defenders for a pretty clear penalty. Sean Fergus took the spot-kick, sending Shaw the wrong way.
The goal seemed to turn the game and suddenly it was all Luncarty as the clock ticked down and if you’d been forced to pick a winner in the closing stages, you’d have put your money on the home side. The yellow shirts were flooding forward in search of a winner, but the league leaders couldn’t capitalise on the pressure and it looked as if we were heading for a draw when Glenrothes won a corner late in stoppage time. The set piece was played deep to the back post, where Smart was sneaking in, squeezing his header home to spark a mass pile-on from his teammates.
So Glenrothes head back down the A9 with all three points, their first away win of the season, and with the only other game in Conference B finishing 2-0 to Herriot Watt, that was enough to knock Luncarty off top spot, albeit with three games in hand. The Glens stay in 10th place, but now have a bit of daylight over Preston and with just 4 point covering 7 teams, they’re still well in touch with the top 3. Glenrothes are back in Perthshire next weekend with a trip to Kinnoull, while Luncarty play host to another Fife side, Lochgelly Albert.
Man of the Match: Plenty of good performances in red, but it was Murray Carstairs that stuck out for Glenrothes. Playing a bit higher up the park than normal, Muzz looked well in control of the midfield, constantly talking and organizing his teammates. The big man has scored plenty of headers in his career, but this time he showed a nice touch with the right foot for his goal.
See all the match photos HERE