We almost had the comeback to end them all in this President’s Cup Final at Dam Park. Eventually Kilwinning Rangers had just enough to hold off a resurgent second half Glenafton display. Having looked dead and buried at half time, they will be wondering what might have been had this game been 10 minutes longer.
The end would have been impossible to predict after a first half where Kilwinning all but etched their name on the trophy. Cruising and with a four goal lead at the break, the width of a post was all that separated these sides at the end, as Glenafton fired wide with the very last kick of the ball.
It’s the third leg of a potential clean sweep of the honours for the Young Buffs and Rangers began with the look of champions, knocking the ball around confidently and pinning their opponents back. They could have been ahead as early as the fifth minute, with a free kick from the six-yard box after a Glenafton passback.
The opener had a sense of inevitability about it, and it came after a period of sustained Kilwinning pressure. Christopher Wilson found himself some space on the edge of the box and fired a low shot past Matthew McClung for a deserved lead on eight minutes.
Rangers were first to every ball, closing down in midfield as Glenafton struggled for answers. Goal number two arrived on 14 minutes, and in bizarre circumstances. Patrick Hamill’ s low corner kick delivery was mishit into the area, and with the defence slow to react, trundled past McClung and into the net. Not what the midfielder had intended, but they all count.
Glenafton were struggling to clear their lines, as the Buffs continued to surge forward. Kristopher Mason set up goal number 3 for Wilson on 21 minutes, as he got down the right hand side of the box to lay on a perfect ball for the midfielder to extend the Rangers lead.
And the pick of the goals arrived five minutes later from the set piece as the lead was extended to four goals within the half hour. Ryan Beveridge’s postage stamp shot raced high past a helpless McClung for number four.
Punch drunk from four goals it looked all about damage limitation from now on for Glenafton, with pride still at stake. Equally Rangers may have taken their foot off the gas with the trophy seemingly in the bag, and the arrears at half time remained a mere four goals.