Kilsyth Rangers fixture

Please note the game due at Kilsyth this Saturday 2nd. September has been switched to Larkhall k.o. 2pm. as Kilsyth who had a fire recently in their dressing rooms and had been using the facilities across the ground at the community centre for changing and showering but this is not available this Saturday.

NOW LARKHALL THISTLE  V KILSYTH RANGERS.

Larkhall Thistle 0 Cambuslang Rangers 2 – 26th August 2017

Gasworks Park, Larkhall,
Larkhall Thistle v Cambuslang Rangers
McBookie.com Super First Division

 

Thistle were looking to bounce back from the disappointing opening day defeat at Darvel against the team that they pushed for the title all the way to the very last kick of last season. Cambusang are another one of the teams that the Jags would be looking to take points from if they have serious ambitions to survive and prosper in this league.

 

Cambuslang got off to the better start and looked lively going forward, whilst at the other end their defence was solid and winning every ball, ably marshalled by centre half Smith.

 

 

It was no surprise then that the wee Gers took the lead in the 19th minute with a well worked move. The ball was worked across the midfield to Dale Simeon on the right who lashed it across Jags keeper Thomson into the net off the crossbar. The visitors doubled their lead four minutes later with a bad goal defensively for Thistle, a close-range header from Lang’s Gebbie.

 

Cambuslang didn’t rest on their lead and continued to push in search of more goals, it was only good work by Thomson that kept the score down to 2-0. In reply, Thistle had a couple of half chances when Reid blasted over and Forbes put a good ball across the six yard area that didn’t find any takers. The best chance of the half though fell to Johnny McStay after what was the Jags best move of the game, Innes and Gracie combining well on the right before Gracie laid the ball into McStay’s path but he could only poke it at the advancing keeper.

 

Half time: Larkhall Thistle 0 Cambuslang Rangers 2

 

Mark McKeever and Hugh Kelly were deputising for the management duo who were at a wedding and must have given the team an inspirational talk at half time. As with last week, Thistle came out of the blocks and went straight about the business of trying to get back into the game. Like last week it took until they were 2-0 down for them to get going but they did just that and created some great chances.

 

David Reid had a couple of decent opportunities that he might have done better with if he’d kept his composure but he shot high and wide. McStay again though looked the most likely to score, a low drive bringing out a fine save from Stewart, the keeper was the hero again for Cambuslang with a wonder point-blank save from a Reid header.

 

 

Graham Gracie also had his chances, he had the ball in the net but the goal was disallowed for a foul on the keeper and had a great chance to score when Stewart again saved well from McStay but could only parry the ball into his path, his shot was blocked by a Lang defender throwing himself in front of the ball for an excellent block.

 

Matty Clarke came on for Josh Payne early in the second half after he had hobbled off injured. Clarke showed he still has plenty to offer with a series of good runs at the Cambuslang defence that gave Thistle a different option to the long ball which wasn’t working at all against a very good defence whose keeper was the man of the match.

 

Thistle now find themselves as one of the five teams still to get off the mark with no points from the first two games, but can maybe take some consolation from the fact that the two teams they have lost to sit first and second at the top of the table.

 

Full time: Larkhall Thistle 0 Cambuslang Rangers 2

 

Larkhall Thistle:
Thomson; Brown, Robb, Reynolds; Jack (Canning 60); Payne (Clarke 52), Forbes, Innes, Reid, J McStay, Gracie (McKeever 85). Subs: Duncan (GK)

 

Cambuslang Rangers:
Stewart; Boyne, Gebbie, Smith, Boyle, Hay, McRobbie, Simeon, Love, Hewitt, Gormley. Subs: Mitchell, Kerr, Morley.

 

Booked: Forbes, Innes, Reid, Gracie, Clarke

 

MoM: Good workmanlike performances from most of the team and pleasing that they came back into the game and didn’t give it up but Stewart Thomson shades it with a couple of good saves.

 

*** Video up Sunday lunchtime

 

Scottish Cup Draw

Thistle received a bye in the 1st. Round of the Scottish Cup with only 29 ties in this round.

We were listed to play Cumbernauld on the date for the 1st. round which is 23rd. September. With Cumbernauld and nine other teams from our league all coming out the hat the teams left to play tht day are Darvel, Kilsyth. Largs and Petershill . The situation is further complicated by the fact we will already have played the1st. three by the 23rd. Sept. plus there is going to be an odd team out. Be interesting to see what Mr. Robertson does.

Darvel 3 Larkhall Thistle 1 – 19th August 2017

Recreation Park, Darvel
Darvel v Larkhall Thistle
McBookie.com Super First Division

 

Thistle made their way to Ayrshire for their first game in the Super League for eight years, after their previous brief visit to the First Division on the way down the leagues. Darvel is a familiar ground in recent years with the Jags playing there in pre-season friendlies and they have just been promoted from the regional division like Thistle. Darvel won the Ayrshire District League last season and were given a round of applause by the Thistle players as they unfurled the league champions flag before the game.

 

After a bitterly disappointing exit from the Sectional League Cup in midweek, the Jags were looking to get off to a flyer with a game that should have been one in the winnable category. The Thistle squad had been bolstered with some good pre-season signings and the three main ones started the game today, Jonny McStay, Craig Forbes and Billy Robb.

 

Darvel started the game well and were on the attack early on. There were worrying early signs of what was to come when it got to the five minute point before Thistle even managed out of their own half and the first half was a dour, scrappy affair played in a strong wind that Thistle were shooting into. The game descended almost into farce as rain of biblical proportions battered down halfway through and as the players skidded and slipped around on the wet surface there was little football played at all.

 

 

Darvel did hit the bar midway through and had an attempt ruled out for offside, while Thistle’s best effort was a good hit from Graham Gracie that brought out a diving save from the home keeper.

 

Darvel could have taken the lead just before the break when the came close with a triple effort, the first shot coming off the bar then the rebound bringing out the save of the match from Thomson as he flung himself to his left to keep out a viscious drive, the rebound was fired in once more but flew across the face of the goal and wide.

 

Half time: Darvel 0 Larkhall Thistle 0

 

The second half started with a break in the weather that let the players actually play a bit of football but unfortunately for the Jags it was mostly coming from the home team. Darvel took the lead in the 6th minute of the second half when the referee ignored what looked like a blatant free kick to Larkhall, the ball then played across the box to Henderson who gave Jags keeper Thomson no chance with a well placed drive into the top corner.

 

Three minutes later it went from bad to worse as the lead was doubled when Armour was put clean through and hit a low shot that went under Thomson.

 

It took until they were two goals behind for Thistle to react and get themselves back into the game and in fairness they battled well and produced their best spell of the game. They could have had a goal back midway through the half when the Darvel defence failed to clear their lines and the ball bobbled about in the box but the Jags just couldn’t get a shot through the crowd.

 

Darvel should have scored again when the centre was put clean though and just had to pick his spot, unfortunately for him the spot he picked was a yard wide of the goal but they did put a seal on proceedings when they wrapped up the game with a third goal ten minutes from time. A cross in from the right wasn’t defended properly, Davidson found himself in acres of space and rolled the ball into the corner.

 

 

Thistle pulled back a consolation goal with a minute of normal time left with what was a very good, if ultimately meaningless goal. Thomson kicked long and the defender’s clearance only went as far as Forbes on the right wing, he charged forward and played the ball into the six yard area where McStay ran onto it and took it in his stride to slot it in at the near post.

 

A rude awakening for Thistle as they were handed a stark introduction as to what they can expect from life in the Super League. There are no easy games ahead of them and any points won in this division will be hard fought.

 

Full time: Darvel 3 Larkhall Thistle 1

 

Larkhall Thistle: Thomson; Robb, Reynolds, Nicholl; Jack; Payne, Forbes, Innes, Reid; J McStay, Gracie. Subs: Brown, Clarke, Mushett, Duncan (GK)

 

Scorers: J McStay

 

Booked: Nicholl, Gracie

 

MoM: Not much to work with today, Scott Nicholl did well apart from one or two rash moments but Josh Payne was always lively and willing and gets MoM this week.

 

Video highlights below:

 

 

Larkhall Thistle 3 Forth Wanderers 3 – 16th August 2017

Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Forth Wanderers
Central Sectional League Cup Section 1

 

Thistle once again failed to beat lower-league opposition at home and missed out on a money-spinning home quarter final tie with Pollok by one goal. Although the Jags went through the section unbeaten, Forth also managed the same set of results and their goal difference was one better so they qualify from the section for the first time.

 

Despite hitting the woodwork on three separate occasions, Thistle just couldn’t get the win that the 1-1 draw with Royal Albert had left them needing.

 

Thistle went into this decisive game where only a win would be good enough. Craig Forbes was missing due to work commitments and Mark Canning and Ryan Innes were still on holiday. The Jags starting line up surprised some of the home supporters with Graham Gracie and Div Reid starting on the bench.

 

The match had an explosive start with Forth opening the scoring inside two minutes when their No 9 scored with a header. Not to be outdone, shortly after the restart Thistle were back on level terms when Jonny McStay latched on to a pass from Billy Robb and lobbed the ball over the advancing Forth keeper into the net.

 

Forth at this stage though still looked the more likely to score and it was no surprise when their No 10 picked up the ball and from the edge of the penalty area netted in Stewart Thomson’s left hand corner. This goal stung the home team and Matty Clarke should have done better when put clear on the left hand side of the box but his effort on goal did not trouble the keeper. Thistle were struggling to compete in midfield with Forth controlling this area of the pitch.

 

Half time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Forth Wanderers 2

 

Thistle started the second half in determined fashion and equalised with a goal that had more than a hint of offside about it. Jonny McStay taking the ball to the bye-line and crossing for Matty Clarke to knock the ball home. The Forth keeper then had tremendous save from a Matty Clarke free-kick and also saved well from Scott Nicol. Thistle finally went ahead when Brian Jack played in Scott Nicol who controlled the ball well and shot past Cherrie in the Forth goal.

 

Shortly after taking the lead Jonny McStay who was limping was replaced by Graham Gracie and Scott Nicol was replaced by Div Reid. Before the changes had any time to take effect Forth equalised when Hugh Kelly lost the ball and the Forth No 11 latched on to the ball and outstripped Liam Mushett to score the equaliser.

 

Thistle went on the offensive to try and get the winner with the woodwork saving Forth on three occasions and Liam Mushett missing at the back post. Graham Gracie then was desperately unlucky when his netbound shot was scrambled clear by a Forth Defender but Stewart Thomson had to tip over a great effort from the Forth No 9 to keep the Jags on level terms. Thistle continued to push forward but the Forth defence stood firm until the final whistle.

 

Forth therefore qualify for a lucrative home quarter final against Pollok by virtue of a superior goal difference of just one goal. Bit of deja vu as this happened to the Jags at this stage last season. A bitterly disappointing end to a good run with the big Super League kick-off just three days away, hopefully the team will pick themselves up and start off the league campaign with a win at Darvel on Saturday.

 

Full time: Larkhall Thistle 3 Forth Wanderers 3

 

Larkhall Thistle: Stewart Thomson; Andy Brown, Niall Reynolds, Liam Mushett; Josh Payne, Billy Robb, Hugh Kelly, Brian Jack (Gary McStay), Scott Nicol (Div Reid), Jonny McStay (Graham Gracie), Matty Clarke.

 

Booked; Billy Robb, Hugh Kelly.

 

On a night when the majority of the team looked off the pace the Man of the Match award goes to Niall Reynolds who once again was his usual competent self.

 

Larkhall Thistle 1 Royal Albert 1 – 12th August 2017

Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Royal Albert
Central Sectional League Cup Section 1

 

A win today would have left Thistle only needing a home draw with Forth in their final game to progress to a lucrative home tie against Pollok. The Jags were missing six players and it left the bench looking a bit short of options with only two outfield subs but the starting eleven could have been a first choice team from last year with the exception of new boy Craig Forbes.

 

Thistle are now two leagues above their Larkhall rivals and for the majority of the game played like they knew it and only had to turn up to win. It was only after going a goal down that they stepped up their game and looked like they wanted to win the game.

 

 

Albert contained some early pressure fairly comfortably and eased themselves into the game as the half wore on, looking like the team more likely to score. Thistle’s best effort came from a Brian Jack lob after a poor defensive clearance.

 

Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 0 Royal Albert 0

 

Albert had two penalty claims at the start of the half for handball and there could have been no real complaints if either one had been given. Their ealy pressure looked like producing a goal and so it did thirteen minutes into the second half.

 

 

Albert took a deserved lead after what Arthur Montford might have described as a stramash. Thistle conceded a needless free kick from the right back position and keeper Thomson punched the ball only as far as the penalty spot, where it was driven in from. Tommo saved but it rebounded and was fired in again on the half volley, well saved then hit back in, scrambled off the line and finally fired into the roof of the net.

 

Of most concern to Thistle would be the fact that there were four attempts at goal and an Albert man was quickest to the ball each time.

 

In fairness to the Jags players, they reacted well to the loss of the goal and set about the task of getting it back which the duly did fourteen minutes later, albeit helped by a big slice of luck.

 

Forbes played the ball out wide right to Josh Payne who laid it off to Graham Gracie and burst inside on a run. Gracie tried to play him in but hit the ball straight at an Albert defender who took a wild swipe and missed it altogether, allowing the ball to run into the path of Payne who curled it into the corner with a great strike.

 

 

Thistle pressed for the rest of the game and carved out a few chances, but Albert held out for a draw that to be honest was the least they deserved. If they could only reproduce that level of effort and commitment throughout the campaign they would surely be closer to the top of the league than the bottom.

 

Full Time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Royal Albert 1

 

So Albert ended Thistle’s run of eight straight wins but the Jags can take some heart from the fact that they came back and didn’t actually lose the game. Wednesday’s decider against Forth is now winner takes all and is shaping up to be a cracker.

 

Man of the Match: Josh Payne for his effort and good finish.

 

Larkhall Thistle:
Thomson; Brown, Reynolds, Nicholl; Kelly (Robb 79); Payne, Forbes, Jack, Reid, McKeever, Gracie. Subs: Doyle

 

Not much in the way of highlights in this one but the goals are in the video below.

 

Lesmahagow 2 Larkhall Thistle 3 – 5th August 2017

Craighead Park, Lesmahagow
Whitletts Victoria v Larkhall Thistle
Central Sectional League Cup Section 1

 

Thistle went into today’s game in good form and just behind Forth in the section table after Forth’s 5-2 win over Royal Albert. This was Lesmahagow’s first game of the competition. The two McStays were unavailable for the game and David Reid was on the bench with a niggling injury. Scott Nicholl was preferred to Niall Reynolds at left back while Liam Mushett started in front of Billy Robb.

 

 

Larkhall got off to a confident start, playing the ball around and keeping possession early in the game. The closest the Jags came to scoring early on though was from a shot by Josh Payne after cutting in from wide right but he sent his effort right across goal and past the other post.

 

Lesmahagow shooting up the hill in the first half offered very little in an attacking sense and all of the chances were created by Thistle, the home keeper performing miracles at times to keep his team in the game.

 

The game’s first major incident came after 20 minutes when Scott Nicholl got into a shoving match after a bad tackle on him, both players sensibly shown yellow by the referee. However two minutes later Nicholl let his temper get the better of him as he wrestled an opponent to the ground, via the unfortunate Thistle official Ross Dunn’s jaw on the way down.

 

Nicholl was shown a second yellow and Mark McKeever dropped to left back to cover.

 

The loss of a man however didn’t upset the Jags tempo in any way and they continued to dominate the game, creating chance after chance that the Gow defence did well to keep out. Thistle did take a deserved lead in 35 minutes when a long ball out of defence from McKeever found Craig Forbes on the left inside the box. Forbes cut inside and squared the ball to Graham Gracie who took his time and composed himself before slotting it into the bottom corner.

 

It took Thistle less than five minutes to double the advantage, Matty Clarke picked up the ball in the middle of the park and played it out wide to Payne on the right, the winger set Gracie away and he rolled it into the path of Ryan Innes who turned and fired a first time shot past the keeper.

 

 

As the Jags coasted towards a well-earned half time break the referee threw Gow a lifeline with a highly contentious penalty award for a clash of heads between a Gow forward and Andy Brown. The penalty was converted and the lead was cut to one goal at the break.

 

Half Time: Lesmahagow 1 Larkhall Thistle 2

 

The second half had just started when the referee gave his third match-changing decision to Lesmahagow by awarding them another soft penalty. Jags keeper Thomson had no chance with the spot kick and now Thistle were up against it for the first time in the game, hitting up the slope and with the momentum now firmly with the home side.

 

 

Thankfully however the Jags are a better team than Lesmahagow and the team spirit is second to none. Without the award of any further penalties the Gow didn’t really have much to offer and it always looked likely that if there was to be a winner it would be Thistle.

 

Gracie was put through on goal a couple of times, albeit with still a lot to do and on another day could have had three or four goals. One that new boy Forbes will want to forget could have put the Jags ahead in 70 minutes but after great work from subs Mark Canning and David Reid to set him up he managed to sclaff it out for a throw-in from inside the six yard box.

 

Big Craig will tell you these are always harder than they look.

 

Thistle got the breakthrough with eight minutes left although the goal did carry a shade of luck. Gracie picked up the ball just outside the box and laid it off to Innes on the right who mishit it into the path of Reid. Div took a touch then drilled a low shot that found the net off the post.

 

Full Time: Lesmahagow 2 Larkhall Thistle 3

 

Thistle’s winning run continues with a tremendous fighting performance by all involved, in particular Gracie, Forbes and Andy Brown. Mark McKeever though is the Man of the Match for stepping in and driving the team forward when they were down to ten men, the win was as much down to him as anybody else.

 

Larkhall Thistle:
Thomson; Brown, Mushett, Nicholl; Jack; Payne (Canning 65); Innes, Forbes, McKeever (Reynolds 56), Gracie, Clarke (Reid 56) Subs: Robb, Doyle

 

Booked: Forbes

 

Sent off: Nicholl

 

Lanark United v Larkhall Thistle

Thistle opened their section league cup campaign at Lanark without Hugh Kelly suspended for first 2 games and Scott Nicol who was serving the last game of a 2 match suspension. Gary McStay was on holiday and keeper Daniel Terry injured. They were then dealt another blow when Div.Reid pulled up injured in the warm up resulting in a late re-shuffle with Matty Clarke coming into the line up.

Thistle starting confidently playing a crisp passing and moving game with both Mark Canning and Matty Clarke both testing the Lanark keeper. At this stage Lanark were struggling to cope with the jags passing game Graham Gracie then picked up a pass from Matty Clarke and drove into the Lanark penalty box electing to pass to Josh Payne who netted but the referee correctly ruled him offside. The first  goal was only delayed and after a fine move involving Josh Payne and Brian Jack the final through ball put Graham Gracie in the clear and he duly netted. Billy Robb was then booked for deliberate trip on the Lanark no. 11 who at this point was looking dangerous when on the ball. The home team then had a claim for a penalty when the same player was impeded on the edge of the area but the referee deemed it outside the box with the resultant free kick being blasted against the Thistle defensive wall. Play swung to the other end with Thistle coming close with a Matty Clarke shot after good work from Craig Forbes. half time arrived with Thistle looking comfortable despite their narrow lead.

Half time Lanark United 0- Larkhall Thistle 1

Thistle started the second half strongly and went two up with another fine move involving Matty Clarke and Graham Gracie whose final ball across the six yard area was finished off by Jonny McStay to put the Jags two ahead. The game then went through a period of mid field play with neither side really threating.Lanark pulled a goal back after 60 minutes with an own goal Niall Reynolds finding his own net when attempting to clear a pass across the six yard box. This goal gave the home team a  boost and Dunky freshened things up firstly replacing a tiring Matty Clarke who was starting his first game of the season after missing the friendly programme due to holidays his replacement was Mark McKeever. Ryan Innes then replaced the hard working Brian Jack as the visitors tried to get back control of the game. Stuart Thomson then had a tremendous one handed save low at his right hand post as the home team made a determined effort to get back on level terms. Graham Gracie then set up his strike partner Jonny McStay who went close his shot whistling by the post.Thistle were back in control and a fine Billy Robb chipped pass put Graham Gracie in the clear and he blasted the ball past Halford in the Lanark goal to restore the Jags two goal lead. Thistle played out the remainder of the game quite comfortably to win what is always a difficult game.

 

Team ; Stewart Thomson, Billy Robb,Liam Mushett, Niall Reynold, Josh Payne ,Craig Forbes , Mark Canning, Brian Jack,(Ryan Innes) Matty Clarke (Mark McKeever)

Graham Gracie, Jonny McStay

Subs. not used Div Reid, Andy Brown, Declan Doyle.

On the night  all the players worked hard and there were no failures  Josh Payne put in his usual shift up and down the right flank despite it being his first outing of the season as did Craig Forbes in mid field but tonight’s man of the match goes to Graham Gracie for his two goals and an assist for Jonny McStays goal.

On now to Lesmahagow on Saturday for what will be another difficult game.