St Roch’s 1 Larkhall Thistle 2 – 18th May 2016

James McGrory Park, Glasgow,
St Roch’s v Larkhall Thistle
EuroScot Eng Central Cup 3rd Round

After having beaten neighbours Royal Albert in the last round, Thistle faced fellow Division One side St Rochs in a tie that looked very evenly matched. The teams had only been separated by a single point in the table and had drawn 4-4 in the league less than a month ago.

St Rochs v Larkhall Thistle 18-05-16 1

The game got off to a lively start at a pace that never really dropped at all all the way through. David Reid threatened in the 10th minute for Thistle with a shot that went just past the post and St Roch’s replied immediately and brought out the first save from Thomson.

The Jags pressure paid off in the 19th minute when a free kick from Jordan Marshall cleared the right back’s head and found Reid who slipped it into the path of Graham Gracie. The big striker steadied himself and slipped the ball under the advancing keeper.

The Jags were having the majority of the possession and produced a series of good attacking moves, especially on the left flank with Burns feeding Reid who linked up with Gracie and Clarke. A bit more of an understanding and timing of passes between the three and Thistle could have been out of sight.

As it was however, St Roch’s came back in 35 minutes with a great move down the left where they were having a lot of joy, Shiels cut into the box and shimmied past two defenders before hitting a fine shot that was bound for the corner of the net before Thomson produced a great save.

Just before half time the referee produced a strange moment even for a junior ref, as Thistle were breaking away he pulled play back to the halway line for what everybody in the ground assumed was a St Roch’s free kick but he gave it to Thistle. The ball was played early to Reid on the run into the clear and he managed to get a low shot away that the keeper saved.

Half time: St Roch’s 0 Larkhall Thistle 1

After Thistle’s domination of the first half it was all change after the break as St Roch’s came out determined to get back on level terms. They produced some good free flowing attacking play in the first 15 minutes that the Jags defence did well to keep out with keeper Thomson called upon again and again. Andy Brown was as ever in the thick of it and produced a moment of inspiration as he somehow managed to throw himself in front of a netbound rocket shot that would have seen the scores level.

Hugh Kelly came on early in the half to replace Ryan Innes, who looked to be struggling with a niggle, and had a good second half, keeping the ball well and finding his passes but it was Thomson again who pulled off a double point-blank save from Shiels, their most dangerous player on the night.

St Rochs v Larkhall Thistle 18-05-16 2

The latter stages of the second half saw Thistle come back into the game and Josh Payne come to life after a very quiet game up until then. He was involved in several good breaks down the right and might well have set up a couple of goals given better final balls.

Thistle looked to have sealed the game in the 78th minute with the most basic of route-one goals, a long punt from Thomson bounced once high in the air and as home keeper Brown misjudged the flight, Gracie got up and header into the empty net.

Big Graham could and should have wrapped up his hat-trick five minutes lated after a badly miscued kick from keeper Brown fell right to him and left him clear but at a wide angle, he rolled a shot towards the empty net but hit the post.

St Roch’s never gave up and got a reward for their pressure when the Jags defence failed to clear a bobbling ball and McFadyen lifted it past Thomson with almost the last kick of the game.

A great cup tie played in the right spirit by both sets of players and to be honest it could have gone either way. Thomson and Brown were outstanding in the Thistle defence but there were also a load of good chances at the other end for the Jags. Pleased also to report that the action was all on the park and although the supporters may have their differences there was no animosity on show.

Full time: St Roch’s 1 Larkhall Thistle 2

Scorer: Gracie (2)

Bookings: Clarke, Innes

Larkhall Thistle
S.Thomson, Reynolds, Brown, Marshall, Burns (Nicholl 70); Payne, Innes (Kelly 55), Jack, Reid; Gracie, Clarke

Website MoM: Well taken goals by Graham Gracie and the third would have made him impossible to overlook but it’s a toss of a coin between Thomson and Brown and the keeper made several vital saves so he gets the nod.

Thistle v Albert, video clips

There are some clips of the game from last Monday uploaded to Youtube, unfortunately the Albert strike for the goal was too fast for the cameraman but Graham Gracie’s goal and the penalties are there.

See the clips of Larkhall Thistle v Royal Albert here

Larkhall Thistle v Thorniewood United, Central League First Division

Larkhall Thistle 1 Thorniewood United 0 - 1

Thistle brought the curtain down on their league campaign with a home game against Thorniewood. With both teams safe from relegation and neither able to get promoted there was only pride to play for but they both put in plenty of effort in a decent last game.

Read the full match report of Thistle v Thorniewood here


Penalties – correction

As Willie pointed out, the penalties score in the Royal Albert game on Monday was 8-7 to Thistle and not 7-6 as initially reported on the SJFA website. The mistake has now been corrected on their site.

Penalties were as follows:

Nicholl – missed
Clarke – scored
Gracie – scored
Reid – scored
Jack – scored
Reynolds – scored
Innes – scored
Brown – scored
D. Thomson – scored

Larkhall Thistle v Johnstone Burgh

Thistle looked to try and put their Royal albert performance behind them and finish the season on a high note as they looked for revenge for a 3-2 defeat at Johnstone in November.

Read the full match report of Thistle v Johnstone Burgh here

Larkhall Thistle 1 Royal Albert 1 (8-7 pens)

Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Royal Albert
Euroscot Eng Central League Cup Round 2

It was a fine sunny night that was perfect for football but unfortunately for the decent crowd the football didn’t turn up. Thistle and Albert fought out a drab 1-1 draw that was only saved as a spectacle by two goals that didn’t really belong in such a poor quality game.

The first half started with both teams contesting the match on a fairly even footing but as the half wore on it was apparent that the team who wanted it most on the night was Albert. They battled harder for every ball (with the notable exception of Thistle’s Ryan Innes) and seemed determined to salvage something from what had been a disastrous season for them in the league.

Larkhall Thistle 1 Royal Albert 1 (8-7) penalties

The first half passed by without a single clear-cut chance for either team and without an incident worthy of note.

Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 0 Royal Albert 0

The second half carried on where the first had left it and it was more of the same until 10 minutes in when Graham Gracie took matters in hand for the Jags. He got possession of the ball on the right side of the park and shook off the Albert defence before firing a vicious left footed drive into the bottom corner of the keeper’s near side.

The visitors were stung into even more determined action by the goal and looked even more determined to get back into the game but the equaliser came completely out of the blue, a fantastic 30 yard effort right into the top corner over the despairing Thomson in the Thistle goal.

The Jags made their only substitution of the game when Brian Jack came on to replace Hugh Kelly and it left most wondering why it took so long to get Jacko onto the park. His impact was immediate as he took control of the ball in midfield and kept hold of it rather than the fruitless punts that had been the feature of the game until then.

It took until two minutes into stoppage time for Thistle to produce their only real attacking move of any quality, David Reid took the ball forward on the left wing and fed it into Gracie, who cut inside and beat a man before setting up Innes who curled his shot just past the post.

And that was about it, a draw at full time that Thistle could hardly say they really deserved. All credit to Albert for taking the game to them and they can count themselves unlucky not to win it in the ninety minutes.

Penalties followed taken into the Gasworks end and with an early miss each it went to sudden death. Stokoe missed the decisive kick for the Albert and Jags keeper Thomson getting what passed for the glory of hitting the winning penalty.

Thistle will now be away to St Roch’s in the third round.

Full Time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Royal Albert 1 (7-6 on penalties)

Scorer: Gracie

Bookings: None

Larkhall Thistle:
S.Thomson, Payne, Brown, Reynolds, Nicholl: Innes, Kelly (Jack 79), Reid, McKeever; Gracie, Clarke

Website MoM: Although Graham Gracie is worthy of a mention for his goal, it says it all about the performance that the award is going to Brian Jack who looked different class when he came on.

Three home games this week

Thistle have three home games coming up this week so please get out in the sun and support the team.

Monday – Local derby against Royal Albert (Albert supporters welcome!) in the Euroscot Cup 2nd round
Wednesday – Johnstone Burgh in the second last league game of the season 7:15pm kick off
Saturday – Last league game of the season against Thorniewood United, 2pm kick off


Dunipace v Larkhall Thistle, Central League First Division

Dunipace v Larkhall Thistle 7th May 2016 -1
For everybody connected with Thistle, today’s fixture was overshadowed by the news of committee man and lifelong fan Hugh Kerr being admitted to intensive care. It goes without saying that everybody is hoping for a full recovery and to see a man held in the highest affection by all, back fit and well and supporting the Jags.

As for the game, Dunipace went into it on the back of an 8-1 drubbing at Wishaw whilst Thistle had conceded seven goals in the last two games, so this never looked like defences were going to be on top.

Read the match report of Dunipace v Thistle here