The element of surprise was nowhere to be seen at Brig O’ Lea on Saturday as Neilston swept aside one of the WoSFL’s new kids on the block, Glenvale, rather more emphatically than a 4-0 scoreline suggests.

On another given day, this pre-season friendly could have proved a painful lesson for the Paisley wannabeees however some stout and often last gasp defensive resistance ensured this was never going to be the demolition promised by the Farmers Boys getting their noses in front with a mere 28 seconds on the clock.

Glenvale had actually kicked off but wastefully launched the ball forward into the arms of home team goalkeeper Grant Hay whose long return upfield led to the ball being shuttled out to impressive winger Connor Bolger and he skipped past his direct opponent (the first of many such occurrences) before sending over a delightful back post cross that found team mate Fraser McLaughlin towering above Vale full back Mark Jardine to power a header past the flailing arms of visiting keeper Sean Wigsall for 1-0.

Neilston’s dream start was not surprisingly a nightmare one for Glenvale and they found themselves under constant pressure and penned deep in their own half  even though  they came close to snatching an equaliser through a Kamil Lescyznski snapshot that beat the full-length diving Hay but  went the wrong side of the  post.

Wigsall’s reactions in diverting a Kieran Brophy header against his own crossbar averted a second Neilston goal however the almost inevitable doubling of the scoreline came about  15 minutes in after a rash Lewis McKim tackle felled the home side’s Darren Jones inside the box and the resulting penalty kick was  tucked away by Bolger.

Glenvale team boss Johnny Kelly reflected afterwards, “Being  2-0 down after only quarter of an hour  had  most people thinking this could be a cricket score but  I cannot praise the guys enough for rolling up their sleeves and working even harder to keep a very good Neilston side at bay.

“They are one of the better Conference League teams and will almost certainly be in the hunt for promotion so there’s no embarrassment whatsoever in losing out 4-0 against them particularly when three of the goals conceded are penalty kicks.

“They will hand out a going over to better teams than us over the coming season  and we must strive to produce similar high playing standards of our own as well as the same killer touch whenever scoring opportunities come  your way .

“At this level , you can expect to be punished if you don’t and today has been a harsh reality check for our lads in that respect.

“We will get better, of that I’ve no doubt not least when you consider this bunch of players haven’t even trained together so  now is the time for the hard work to start.”

Both teams made a raft of half time substitutions but the mainly one-way traffic continued for a dominant Neilston but all their attacking ventures were repulsed by their plucky visitors until a melee following a corner kick saw Dylan Fletcher sent crashing by Glenvale stopper Jack Doak allowing veteran Jamie Docherty to make an expert job of netting from twelve yards..

A third spot kick award arrived  deep into the injury time, added on for a painful  knee ligaments injury suffered by Vale midfielder John Ball, and this time Fletcher stepped forward to score with similar aplomb for 4-0

Neilston co-gaffer Chris Cameron insisted ,”We made it hard for ourselves at times  but there’s no denying all the penalty kick awards were stonewallers.

“Our first half showing was below par with our use of the ball in the final third leaving a lot to be desired but our possession play was much better in the second half and overall it was a decent workout.”

Among other games taking place, Ashfield ran out comprehensive 3-0 winners over city rivals Maryhill in their Springburn Football Festival opener  through goals from Ben Dailly(2) and Brad Rodden .

Earlier in the same pre-season competition, Ross McKenzie , Ewan Rodger and Mikey McWilliams were on the mark in Rossvale’s 3-0 defeat of St Anthonys that preceded St Rochs managing a creditable 2-2 draw against higher league opponents Rob Roy  thanks to scores from Liam Crichton and Connor Hughes.

Matty Grant, Murray Loudon, Matty Clarke and Shaun Rouse were the names on  the scoresheet in Bellshill Athletic’s 4-0 victory over Newmains United  while a Kevin Hill hat trick and brace of goals from Steven Frame helped Carluke Rovers to a 5-1  win at home to Royal Albert.


RESULTS: Rossvale 3 St Anthonys 0, St Rochs 2 Rob Roy 2, Lesmahagow 1 Larkhall Thistle 1, Kello Rovers 1 Auchinleck Talbot 1, Maryhill 0 Ashfield 3, Kilbirnie Ladeside 1 Craigmark 1, Thorniewood Utd 2 Shotts Bon Accord 3, Royal Albert 1 Carluke Rovers 5, Neilston 4 Glenvale 0, Ardeer Thistle 5  AS Airdrie Amateurs 3, Lugar Boswell 2 Auchinleck Under 20s 1, Bellshill Athletic 4 Newmains Utd 0, Ardrossan Winton Rovers 1 Muirkirk 3.