Hurlford United 0 Glenafton Athletic 2 as Ryan Stevenson makes winning start as Glens gaffer

Ryan Stevenson tasted that winning feeling on his dugout debut as Glenafton Athletic breathed fresh life into their survival bid yesterday.

A first-half double from Leon Murphy clinched victory over Hurlford United and moved 16th-placed Glens to within three points of safety in the West of Scotland League Premier Division.

It was the perfect afternoon for Stevenson and No 2 Mark Roberts who replaced Mick McCann earlier in the week.

Ex-Hearts and Ayr United star Stevo knows a lot of hard work lies ahead but was thrilled with the instant impact.

I have told Ayrshire FootballNews: “We’re delighted. The boys needed a bit of help when we came in and it has been a quick turnaround as we’ve only had one session with them.

“I knew this was going to be a hard game but credit to the boys, they did everything we asked of them and got a great result.

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“At times, it wasn’t nice and it wasn’t pretty but we are where we are in the league and this is a massive three points for us.

“We will spend this week working with the boys and we’ve already put stuff across to them. It’s my job and Mark’s job to improve them as players and to try and improve the club.”

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A minute’s applause was held before kick-off in memory of 81-year-old Hurlford United committee stalwart Jim Clark who sadly died in a house fire last month.

A minute's applause is held in memory of Jim Clark before kick-off
A minute’s applause is held in memory of Jim Clark before kick-off

Hurlford should have scored through Chris Robertson early-on and went on to squander a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 20th minute.

Paul McKenzie was brought down in the box with referee Andrew Bryson pointing to the spot but Marc McKenzie’s low effort was saved by keeper David Markey.

The first goal of the Stevo was at Loch Park arrived on the half-hour mark when Murphy’s inswinging corner from the right was fumbled into his own net by Martin McDonald.

It was 2-0 before the break. McDonald fell Hugh Kerr in the area with Murphy stepping and confidently converting the resulting penalty.

This lark management was agreeing with Stevenson although he would have been aware that second-half pressure from United would be on the way.

Indeed, Markey pulled off a good save low to his left to thwart Marc McKenzie, after Jack Whittaker’s effort was initially blocked, then smothered sub Will Graham’s shot at his near post as Hurlford were kept at bay.

Hurlford boss Darren Henderson admitted missed chances and dire defending provided a lethal combination for his side.

I have told Ayrshire FootballNews: “It was poor and the goals we lost were shambolic. We missed a penalty and a header from three yards went by the post. If any of those two go in, we probably win the game.

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“There was 15 minutes of carnage in the first half. When you lose goals the way we lose them you don’t deserve to win any game.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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