Port Glasgow 1 Forth Wanderers 0
Forth had new goalkeeper David Cherrie making his competitive debut at Parklea and he had an excellent game, although he was helpless to prevent Steven McAfee scoring what proved to be the winner after 10 minutes.
Port were first to show after 4 minutes when Dylan McLaughlin broke through and fired into the side netting. The hosts fared better 6 minutes later when a cross from the right found McAfee in acres of space and he controlled the ball before shooting past Cherrie to make it 1-0. Forth tried to counter and a good passing move ended when Willie McClaren’s cross was held by home keeper James Dunn. At the other end, Craig McCormick dragged a shot wide as Port threatened to increase their lead.
Port midfielder Angus Gault had taken up where he left off at Kingshill and unsurprisingly his robust style saw him become the first name in the referees book. He could easily have received another yellow later in the half for another crude challenge but consistency was somewhat lacking from the match official. His first major part in proceedings was to send off Forth’s Craig Gupwell on 25 minutes, allegedly for swearing at him, although it that was indeed the case and it was applied consistently, the game would have failed to finish due to lack of numbers.
Only a fantastic last ditch tackle from the impressive Stephen Tait stopped a promising Port move just after the half hour when Barri Stanton played in McCormick, the young Forth defender timing his tackle to perfection to avert the danger.Undaunted by the numerical disadvantage Forth began to come more into the game as the half progressed, Martin Hannaway just failing to reach a McClaren cross after 35 minutes before McClaren found himself in a good position a minute later but dragged the ball wide.
McLaughlin had the ball in the net for Port after 41 minutes but he was correctly judged offside and the half finished with the hosts maintaining their slender advantage.
The Wanderers began the second half brightly, Hannaway feeding McClaren whose shot was turned away for a corner by home keeper Dunn. John Rennie met the resultant corner only to loop his header narrowly over the bar. Alan Jamieson was then booked for a professional foul on Rennie as the Forth man broke through. Port countered through a McLaughlin shot which just cleared the bar. Kris Dick was then sent off for allegedly kicking out at an opponent and although Port’s Graeme McClement appeared to be guilty of the same offence, no action was taken against the Port defender. This further incensed the Forth support, already seething after seeing numerous decisions go against their side.
To their credit 9 man Forth continued to press and came close when Barry McGeechan got in front of his man to meet a teasing McClaren cross but he could only divert the ball past the post and the chance was gone. Unsurprisingly gaps were beginning to appear in the Forth defence as they pressed for an equaliser and it took a good block from Forth keeper Cherrie to deny McLaughlin before a Stephen Tait tackle took the ball away from Port substitute Jamie McKenna as he was about to pull the trigger. There was no further scoring however and Port held on for victory.
A poor result but a committed performance from Forth who played well despite their numerical disadvantage and the inconsistency of the referee. Next up is another tough away match against high flying Newmains.
Forth team : Cherrie,Watson,Leadbetter,Gupwell,S.Tait,K.Dick,Rennie(Grenfell),Harty(J.Dick), Hannaway(Scott),McGeechan,McClaren