HELENSBURGH’S long unbeaten run was finally brought to an end on Saturday, following nine straight wins in the course of the last three months, as the local side fell to a 4-2 defeat against East Kilbride YM.

The local side paid the price for two weeks without a game as their first division opponents – despite being held 2-2 at half-time – stretched away after the break, taking advantage of some tired Helensburgh legs.

The Burgh team showed some changes from the last time they played, due to suspension and work related absences, though it was still a strong team who took to the pitch in Hamilton for their second group game in the Greater Glasgow Premier AFL’s President’s Cup competition.

The home team opened the game in a fast, direct way, trying to put the Burgh defence under early pressure, but it was the visitors that shocked them when they opened the scoring after five minutes. David Allan slotting the ball into the net after good work by Del Park and David Sinclair.

This stung the hosts, and they pressed hard at the Burgh team by pushing four players up front at every opportunity.

This tactic paid off for them ten minutes after the opener, when a cross into the box from the left hand side wasn’t dealt with properly and gave the forward time to pick his spot.

And the hosts took the lead a short time later when the YM forward was again given too much space in the danger zone, and his shot beat keeper Ronnie Eskdale.

READ MORE: Record-breaking Burgh make it seven wins on the trot.

After this frantic first 15 minutes, the game settled down and both sides had chances to score, with Helensburgh wasting two or three good opportunities to level the game.

However, with ten minutes of the first half remaining the Burgh team managed to draw level, Keith Thomas playing a through ball to Allan, who slipped the ball under the keeper for his second of the afternoon, despite shouts off offside from the home team’s defence.

And the visitors should have gone into the break ahead, when just a few minutes before the break Sinclair pounced on a goalkeeping error to find himself with only a defender to beat – but his shot clattered off the defender’s leg, and was diverted away for a corner kick.

That left the tie finely poised going into the second half, but Helensburgh had the additional challenge of a brisk wind in their faces after the interval, and the visitors found themselves being forced backwards more often than not as the YM side grew in confidence.

Eskdale was called into action on more than one occasion as the home side turned up the heat, but the keeper did well to keep his goal intact.

However, the task was becoming more and more of a struggle for the Helensburgh lads, as fitness – or lack of it – began to take its toll.

READ MORE: Helensburgh Rugby Club lose out away to Uddingston.

Despite the increased pressure on their defence, though, there didn’t seem to be any real goal threat coming from the YM forwards – until disaster struck with quarter of an hour to play.

A long ball was played in behind the defence, and as both Scott Hendry and the YM forward tussled for the ball, the referee decided that Hendry had fouled the home player in the attempt of clearing the ball and awarded a penalty.

Helensburgh’s pleas fell on deaf ears, and YM took the lead from the resulting penalty kick.

That left the visitors with no choice but to push forward in search of the equaliser; it was a tactic that left gaps at the back, and YM sealed the win with their fourth late on, breaking up a Burgh attacking move and quickly shifting the ball forward before Eskdale was beaten for a fourth time.

Despite the loss of a fourth goal, Helensburgh went at the home team in the final few minutes in the hope of setting up a grandstand finish, but their task was always going to be difficult against a YM side who may be struggling towards the wrong end of the first division table, but who have saved their best form for cup tournaments for much of the campaign.

Sinclair was denied by the YM keeper when clean through on goal, and James Cameron saw a shot blocked by the hosts’ number one, as Helensburgh’s unbeaten run – which stretches all the way back to December – was finally brought to an end.

Manager Sam Gemmell said afterwards: “I think we were all disappointed in the unbeaten run coming to an end, but it was always going to be difficult against an EK team who were already through to two cup semi finals.

“Not having played for the past two Saturdays, and with little or no training either, due to a variety of circumstances, also played its part, as we were off the pace to much in the second half.”

Squad: Ronnie Eskdale, David Willie, Danny Johns, Russell Makeham, Stuart Bailey, David Sinclair, Caleb Phipps, Dougie Black, Scott Findlay, Marc McNeil, Scott Hendry, David Allan, James Cameron, Keith Thomas, Del Park

It’s back to league business for Helensburgh this Saturday, March 30, when they travel to Busby to take on Eastwood Parkmount.