Author: Campbell Finlayson

Maryhill 2-2 Bellshill Athletic

Maryhill twice came from behind on the opening day of the West of Scotland Football League Conference A to earn a point against visitors Bellshill Athletic at Lochburn Park.

Bellshill led twice through Mate Laczi and Jordan Moore but first Craig Stevenson and then Luke Martin struck back for the Hill to secure a 2-2 draw.

As was often the case in pre-season, Maryhill had a lot of the ball early on, but it was the away side who opened the scoring on 16 minutes, with Laczi getting onto the break of the ball before drilling a fantastic half volley beyond the reach of Glen Cameron.

The hosts replied well though and went close with Stevenson’s shot and Craig Patterson’s header, but neither could find a way past former Hill keeper KP McAllister.

Moore and Laczi were both involved as Bellshill went in search of a second but the first scorer was penalised for a foul on Paul O’Donnell after Moore had lobbed the ball over Cameron, while at the other end, Darren Kennedy sent two efforts over the bar.

New signing Haydn Long went close when the ball fell his way in the box just before the hour, but he couldn’t find the target.

The Hill didn’t have to wait long to equalise though and it was a very well worked team goal that got them level. Cammy O’Neill played a pass in behind for Patterson and he was able to fire an inviting ball across goal which was met by the onrushing Stevenson and diverted into the back of the net.

Bellshill were back in front three minutes later however, with Moore being adjudged to have beaten the offside trap and he showed good composure to roll the ball under Cameron.

Despite the hot temperatures, the action was end to end at this point and Maryhill would level again on 77 minutes, also in controversial fashion. Substitute Martin looked to have controlled the ball with his arm, but the referee allowed play to continue and the wide man was able to angle a volley into the far corner of the net.

Both sides tried to press for a winner, but it wasn’t to be as the full-time whistle signalled the end of what was an entertaining return to Lochburn for the fans.

Next up for the Hill is a trip to Johnstone Burgh on Wednesday night, with Lugar Boswell Thistle at home next weekend.

Maryhill: Cameron; O’Donell, Love, Etherson, Meechan; Kennedy, O’Neill (Dobbs, 66), Stevenson; Easdon, Patterson (Clark, 80), Long (Martin, 69)

Bellshill Athletic: McAllister; Duncan, Lindsay (Cherrie, 72), McConnell, Gray; Clarke (Van Nuill, 63), Laczi, Grierson; McGuigan, Moore, MacNeil (Bradford, 83)

Maryhill 3-1 Glasgow University

Maryhill hand out a footballing lesson to the extracurricular outfit.

The Uni keeper kicks towards Murano Halls

Match Report by Campbell Finlayson:
Maryhill made it two league wins in a row with a deserved 3-1 victory over Glasgow University at Lochburn Park.

Garry Black was on hand to deny an early Lewis Dibble header and Maryhill made sure they capitalised on that with two quickfire goals.

Jack Easdon opened the scoring on eight minutes when he was picked out at the back post after good work from Roan Fitzpatrick, and it was Fitzpatrick who scored the second on 12 minutes and what a goal it was.

He made a crunching tackle in midfield before unleashing a strike from 30 yards that sailed over the keeper’s head. The midfielder could have found the net again, but his header went just wide.

Glasgow Uni came back into the game though with forward Donald Thomson almost grabbing two goals of his own. When Black sliced a clearance, the striker took aim at goal but Matthew Meechan got back to clear the ball off the line. Black was then the saviour when he kept out Thomson’s effort, after he had done well to create the shooting opportunity.

Maryhill made a fast start to the second half as well, making it 3-0 just five minutes after the restart with Cammy O’Neil picking out Jay Mclnally, who took the ball around the keeper and slotted it into the empty net.

The forward should have scored again when he left two defenders for dead, but Ben Fulton in the Uni goal made two good saves to keep the lead at three.

The visitors pulled a goal back on 67 minutes when John Wight got his right foot onto a cross to divert the ball beyond the Hill keeper and he nearly scored again when he forced a shot towards goal from a corner, but Maryhill managed to clear. Black was impressive in goal for the Hill and made a final save to deny Wight.

Ryan Wallace for Maryhill and then Ian Last for the visitors both saw their late efforts go over the bar as Maryhill held on for a solid three points.

Maryhill line-up: Black; O’Donnell, Browne, Meechan, Martin; O’Neil, Fitzpatrick; Easdon, McLaughlin (Ashe, 65), Gray (Wallace, 46); Mclnally (Dobbs, 68)

Glasgow University line-up: Fulton; J. Thomson, C. Granger, S.Granger, Adams; Gourlay (Strang, 60), Davidson, Wight, Baxter (Last, 74); D. Thomson (Stirling, 80), Dibble

Johnstone Burgh 2-1 Maryhill

The Hill crash out of the Soccershop Challenge Cup.

The game was moved to New Tinto Park

Match Report by Campbell Finlayson:

Despite being on top for large spells, Maryhill lost 2-1 to Johnstone Burgh this afternoon to exit the Soccershop Challenge Cup in the second round.

It was Johnstone who began the better of the two sides and they took just ten minutes to open the scoring, Ricky McArthur firing a penalty under Garry Black after what was a harsh handball decision against Jamie Gray on the goal-line.

Maryhill bounced back quickly though and equalised soon after when good work from Jack Easdon released Andy McLaughlin down the right, with his quick feet creating some space to fire a low ball across goal where Jay McInally was waiting to knock the ball into the net.

Luke Martin couldn’t divert his header into the net while McInally flicked the ball onto Gray whose shot was saved by the Burgh keeper as Maryhill moved onto the front foot.

Johnstone had chances of their own before the break with Dominic Boland seeing his shot go wide with his cross also put wide by David Collins.

In the second half, the Hill were dominant. McInally was heavily involved and had a couple of chances, first shooting wide before lifting his second effort over the bar. Roan Fitzpatrick was also impressive and drilled the ball across the box but no one could apply that final touch.

Black in the Maryhill goal didn’t have much to do until the 80th minute when he got down well to keep out Collins, who sent the rebound over the bar.

There were big shouts for a Hill penalty with three minutes to go when Fitzpatrick looked to have been cleaned out by the defender, but the referee didn’t point to the spot and Darren Kennedy could only shoot wide.

Then in typical Mayhill fashion, the opposition went straight up the other end and scored. A cross to the back post was sent back into the middle where Jojo Gillespie was on hand to slam the ball home and sneak a win for Johnstone that sees them into the draw for the third round.

Maryhill line-up: Black; McEwan, Meechan, O’Donnell, Martin; Fitzpatrick (Dobbs, 89), O’Neil (McNeil, 60); Easdon (Bamba, 89), McLaughlin (Kennedy, 71), Gray (Wallace, 60); McInally

Johnstone Burgh line-up: S. Collins, Bolland, Brady, Stafford, Fyfe, McCready, Esplin, Burns, Marriott, McArthur, D. Collins

Ardeer Thistle 1-2 Maryhill

The Hill earn their first points of the season in a tough trip to Ayrshire.

Jay McInally opens his Maryhill goals account

Match Report by Campbell Finlayson:

It was third time lucky for Maryhill as they won their first game of the season with a 2-1 win away to Ardeer Thistle.

They started well with Jamie Gray seeing his shot pushed behind before centre back Michael Browne fired his effort over from close range, having scuffed his first shot.

Gray was the man initiating most of Maryhill’s attacks again and almost scored himself when his corner missed everyone before hitting the far post.

Despite the Hill’s dominance it was Ardeer who took the lead with their first shot of the match. Kane Howarth did well to control on his chest before drilling the ball beyond Garry Black.

Hill coach Tony Boyce was sent off by the referee soon after for what he said after two heavy tackles on away players and that seemed to spur Maryhill on, with Jack Easdon going close after yet more good work from Gray to set up the chance.

Andrew Martin tested Black with a shot from distance on 35 minutes but Maryhill bounced straight back up the park and equalised with Jay Mclnally collecting the ball in the box before firing past the keeper.

Gray saw his free-kick saved before Roan Fitzpatrick shot over as the Hill ended the half strongly, but it remained level at the break.

It didn’t take Maryhill long to score in the second half though. They were awarded a penalty for handball and Gray sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot to put them ahead.

Ardeer had claims for a penalty of their own when they claimed a shot came off an arm in the box but the referee awarded a corner, with Martin dragging a shot wide minutes later.

Maryhill should have made it three at the end when Cammy O’Neil was in on goal, but he saw two efforts kept out. It didn’t matter though as the final whistle went soon after to secure a very welcome three points for the Hill.

It’s onto cup action next week as we visit Johnstone Burgh in the Soccershop Challenge Cup.

Maryhill line-up: Black; Meechan, Browne (Wallace,58), Martin, McEwan; Easdon, O’Neill, Fitzpatrick, Stevenson, Gray (Trialist, 82); Mclnally (Dobbs, 84)

Ardeer Thistle line-up: Duncan; Morgan, Barrett, Ewing, Philbin, Woods, Hughes, Hamilton, Howarth, Martin, Stevenson

Ardeer Thistle Match Preview

The Hill are set to travel to Stevenston this Saturday with at least one team destined to get off the mark in the points tally this season, as both teams have seemingly softened the blow for fans not being allowed to attend games due to covid-19 restrictions.

Both sets of fans will also be hoping some trends (albeit from a small sample size) continue from their first few games, while other trends will be gladly eschewed. For The Thistle, they’ve had better luck in their opponents half than their own, netting five times in three games while conceding an eye-watering 19 in that same span. Looking at those stats, it could be the mouths that are watering for the Maryhill attackers who are yet to hit pay dirt in competitive action so far.

If The Hill have been prone to early goals, it’s worth noting that Ardeer’s opening day trip to Craigmark Burntonians saw the away side take a 2-0 lead inside half an hour. However, we have also noticeably perked up later on in games and Thistle did end up with their first of two 7-2 defeats that day.

Much like our last opponents, Ardeer Thistle have historically had most success in local, Ayrshire-based competition, with three league titles and 14 cups added to their trophy cabinet since founding in 1900. Perhaps the most interesting story about the club is their former player, Andy Auld. The local wing half was born that same year the club was founded and played for them for three years following his service in World War I. He later emigrated to the US and almost by accident ended up being spotted by a scout from the Providence Clam Diggers in the American Soccer League, then one of the best leagues in the world. He made a good career for himself, mostly in Rhode Island, and was even part of the US team for the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay where they came third. Nine years after he passed away at the age of 77, he was inducted in to the US Soccer Hall of Fame.

Key Player: Marcus Worrall
Since it’s been nearly 100 years since Andy Auld played for the club, I’m going with Worrall as the player who might have the greatest impact on the fixture. Having been the starting Goalkeeper for The Thistle for all three games he will doubtless be hoping for a turnaround performance.

Maryhill 0-2 Annbank United

Lochburn Park saw its first WoSFL action but early goals doom the Hill.

players from each side observe a minutes silence for Remembrance Day.

Match Report by Campbell Finlayson:

It’s two defeats from two for Maryhill after a disappointing start saw them go down 2-0 to Annbank United at Lochburn Park.

After keeper Mark McRoberts missed the ball, it was lobbed back across him for the Annbank forward to head the ball home after just ten minutes and that lead was doubled soon after, McRoberts fouling an away player in the box before seeing the penalty fly past him.

Jay Mclnally was in on goal for the Hill but the referee pulled play back to give a free-kick, much to the annoyance of the players, Jamie Gray seeing his effort tipped over the bar. Gavin Naismith also tested the keeper after good work from Gray down the left to set him up.

Annbank though were still causing problems for the Hill defence and after they failed to clear their lines, the visitors saw a shot fly just past the post before dragging another effort wide minutes later.

The second half saw less action but what it did see certainly caused plenty of drama. It was the away side who were first to threaten, seeing a shot come back off the post inside the opening five minutes.

Just like last week at Renfrew, the Hill came to life with 20 minutes to play and were awarded a penalty after Mclnally was brought down in the box. Ged Dobbs took the spot-kick but he could only fire the ball against the bar.

The substitute had another effort soon after but it flew high over the goal as Maryhill failed to score again. Next week they’ll hope to change that when they make their first trip to Ayrshire this season to take on Ardeer.

Maryhill line-up: Mark McRoberts, Craig McEwan, Tony Etherson, Gavin Naismith, Luke Martin, Roan Fitzpatrick, Darren Kennedy, Jamie Gray, Ryan Wallace, Craig Stevenson, Jay McInally. Subs: Garry Black, Ross Lyden, Matthew Meechan, Cammy O’Neill, Brian Turner, Ged Dobbs

Annbank United line-up: D Markey, T Sloan, M Brown, J Dunlop, S Bates, L Sloan, S McLelland, M Dyer, A Orr, M Ewing, J Ryan

Annbank United Match Preview

Jack Easdon can’t believe that the Renfrew keeper escaped with a yellow card after handling outside the box, in our game against Renfrew

Before their first game, a plurality of Annbank United fans (45.5%) voted in a twitter poll to estimate that their team would finish in the bottom four of the 12-team Conference A. Hopefully that bodes well for the Hill as first-year manager Matt Maley and his South Ayrshire side make their way to Lochburn Road this Saturday.

Like ourselves, the Bankies first planned game of the season didn’t go ahead but eventually managed a home draw, 2-2 against Bellshill to notch their first point of the season.

The White Brigade formed in the small former mining town of Annbank in 1939, moving to their current home at Pebble Park in 1949, just a few years ahead of their sole Junior Cup final tie appearance, in which they lost 1-0 to Vale of Leven at Hampden Park. In defeat, that is arguably still the clubs greatest honour to date, with their best years coming in the 1980’s and 90’s with nine trophies in local competitions, most recently the South Ayrshire Cup in 1998.

Key Player: Jordan Ryan
Both of the Bankies’ front-two (Mitchell Ewing is the other) found the net in their last outing, but I’ve stumped for Jordan Ryan as he also bagged a brace in their last friendly game, an emphatic 5-0 win over Ardeer.
Also keep an eye on midfielder Alan “Jokey” Orr, reigning Annbank Player of the Year who also won goal of the season for his spectacular overhead kick

Renfrew 3-0 Maryhill

A disappointing result for the Hill to start the WoSFL era.

the players get used to the outdoor half time routine amid covid precautions. image from twitter

Match Report by Campbell Finlayson:

It was a tough afternoon for Maryhill who went down to Renfrew at a blustery New Western Park in their first game in the new West of Scotland Football League.

The hosts ran out deserved 3-0 winners but if some controversial decisions had gone the Hill’s way in the second half then Ross Wilson’s side could have got something from the game.

Last weekend’s clash with Ashfield was postponed due to the weather but the eventual start to the season couldn’t have been much worse as David McKenna capitalised on some poor defending to roll the ball under goalkeeper Mark McRoberts into the net.

Ciaran Diver and Liam McMenamay saw efforts miss the target as Renfrew took the game to the Hill with McRoberts then forced into another save from a volley before half time.

Renfrew defender Aboubacar Karamoko was lucky not to be shown a yellow card after crashing into Ryan Wallace who caused the defence problems with his direct running.

A Ged Dobbs cross was about all Maryhill could manage in the first half as they struggled to cope with the strong winds that blew against their attacks.

It was Renfrew who began the second half strongly as well and they were only denied by a good save from McRoberts who pushed the ball onto the post before Scott Morton smashed the rebound high over the bar. Former Hill left back Reece McGillion also forced the keeper into a save, tipping a free kick over the bar.

Maryhill were irate at the referee after two dreadful decisions denied them a way back into the game. Jack Easdon got in behind the defence and as he tried to lob the ball over Renfrew keeper Danny McLeay, he raced out of the box and blocked the ball with his hands but was only shown a yellow card by the referee.

The next decision caused even more outrage as substitute Brian Ashe raced into the box to get his shot away, only to be taken out by Karamoko, but the referee pointed for a corner despite the clear contact on the Hill forward who had to be quickly replaced.

Seven minutes later the home side put the game beyond any doubt as Diver shot down into the ground and up over McRoberts to make it two.

Ross Wilson’s side continued to press for a goal back with Craig Stevenson seeing his shot deflect just over before Wallace shot wide when through on goal but they couldn’t find the net and instead Renfrew made it three with Diver tapping home his second deep into stoppage time.

As long as the weather is kind then the Hill will play their first home game in Conference A as Annbank come to Lochburn.

Renfrew: McLeay; Karamoko, Gilmour, Callender, McGillion; Morton, McMenamay, O’Keefe, Dallas, McKenna, Diver
Maryhill: McRoberts; Browne, Etherson, Martin; O’Donnell (Mclnally, 58), Stevenson, O’Neil, Kennedy, Wallace; Dobbs (Ashe, 62) (Gray, 74), Easdon

Man of the Match: Craig Stevenson
There were a few contenders for the award but ultimately Craig covered every inch of the 4G pitch in an effort to drive on his side.

Ashfield Match Preview

photo from Glasgow Times

After the initial drawing of teams, it looked as though The Hill would be the lone representative of the North-West of the city in Conference A. However, covid-19 intervened and now we are set to begin this exciting new era this Saturday, with Ashfield making the short trip from Possilpark.

Formed just two years after Maryhill FC in 1886, “The Field” boast four Junior Cup wins (all between 1893 and 1910) to go along with 13 league titles at various levels, the first decade of the 20th Century being undoubtedly their most dominant period. They ended their Junior football days strongly, finishing 3rd in the SJFA West League Two.

It doesn’t take much to look back at the last meeting between the two clubs, having just played out a friendly in September with Ashfield coming out on top 4-2. Easdon and O’Neil were on target for The Hill in what was their first outing of the pre-season. Ashfield’s goals were bagged by McManus and (according to twitter) one or more trialists.

Key Player: Callum Graham:
As early as it is in this season, it’s fairly hard to predict who will make the biggest impact on opening week. It didn’t take much scrolling on twitter before I noticed the same name popping up as a scorer during Ashfields pre-season campaign. Most recently, following a 3-1 friendly victory over Vale of Clyde, Manager Paul Maxwell told the Glasgow Times that, even not at his best on the day, Maxwell “provided an attacking threat that kept the Vale defence on their toes throughout”

Interview with Maryhill manager Ross Wilson:
(segment originally featured on twitter)
It’s more than eight months since Maryhill kicked a ball in anger. Coronavirus halted last season, and has put the brakes on the start of this one.
But manager Ross Wilson has used the time wisely and constructed a squad which he thinks can make an impact on the new campaign. And it all gets underway this Saturday when North Glasgow rivals Ashfield visit Lochburn.

Wilson can’t wait, and said: “It will be fantastic to get back to some sort of fragmented reality, as there is only so much preparation you can do, and friendlies you can play.

“At some point the players and coaches need competitive football, and to that end this Saturday can’t come soon enough.

“That said, I’d like to think we have used the time wisely. We’ve recruited a certain way, and I’d like to think we’ve used the pandemic to our advantage by playing eight pre-season friendlies in order to help the players gel together.”

But those eight challenge matches have included games against some of the top teams in the country, like Pollok and Kilwinning Rangers. Wilson explained: “I wanted to test our players against some of the best at our level, and I believe that will help us all in the long run.

“What pleased me most is that we competed against these teams, and whereas we might have suffered heavier defeats before, this time we ran them a lot closer.

“That augurs well for the season ahead, although looking at our re-drawn league, Conference A, there will be no easy games. The league looks really competitive and our aim is to be in the mix from the start.”

The average age of the current Maryhill squad is no greater than 25, and Wilson insisted that he isn’t just building a team for the current season, but for the future.

He said: “This squad is in its infancy. I want to build something long-term at Lochburn; something lasting. That’s my goal.

“I’d like to think I have something approaching 17 or 18 players who would be disappointed if they’re not in the starting eleven. That’s a good place to start.”

Sadly, both Alex McFarlane and Ewan McGuinness will be OUT for the next few weeks
as both are suffering from ligament strains.

Pre-season Results

With the inaugural season of the West of Scotland Football League nearly here, The Hill have wrapped up their schedule of pre-season matches.
Both neutral site games took place at Toryglen Football Centre

DateOpponentVenueScoreHill Scorers
10/9AshfieldA2-4Easdon, O’Neil
19/9PollokA2-5McFarlane, Dobbs (p)
26/9Newmains UnitedA1-1Dobbs
3/10Kilwinning RangersH2-4Kennedy, Easdon
10/10Blantyre VicsN0-1
16/10St Roch’sN1-4Gray (p)