Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Arthurlie
Central League Cup – Second Round
Thistle’s current 9 game unbeaten league run stretches back to Cambuslang on Guy Fawkes day, but their cup form hasn’t been quite the same losing out to Fauldhouse and Craigmark Burntonians at home. This however was a free hit at the Super Premier big boys with the Jags not expected to get past the tie.
It was a young looking Arthulie team that took the field but they showed that they had junior level grit with a first minute challenge that left Ryan Innes reeling on the deck. It wasn’t to be the last go at him either as later on he had to go off for treatment with a head knock that left him bleeding.
The Jags got off to a dream start with a goal inside the first three minutes, Garry McStay took a great touch and rolled the ball into the path of Graham Gracie who kept a cool head to slot it in low past keeper Hay.
Gracie had another chance to score minutes later but this time couldn’t find the net as he put his shot past the post.
Arthurlie gradually came into the game though and after 18 minutes drew level when Liam Mushett misjudged a ball in the air and Deas ran through to score easily with a low shot to Thomson’s right from 14 yards out.
Arthurlie had the best chance of taking a lead into the break with a close range header but Thomson produced the first of his brilliant saves to somehow throw out a hand and tip the ball over the bar.
Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Arthurlie 1
The first chance of the second half fell to Thistle from a corner, David Reid put over a good ball and it found its way through to Mushett who placed his header wide of the post when he really should have done better.
Thomson was called upon again with another great save, coming out of his goal and blocking a shot when the Arthurlie player was through on goal.
The visitors were awarded a penalty in an incident that Niall Reynolds will want to forget, he called for a ball then didn’t make it, handing possession to an opponent who broke clear. Reynolds chased him, determined to win the ball back but in his eagerness to make up for his mistake needlessly brought him down just inside the box. Tommo again came to the rescue with a stop from Lie’s Smith to keep the scores level.
Going into the last ten minutes the game was evenly poised with the Super Premier team never looking two leagues above Thistle. Both teams were playing a similar type of game with long balls out of defence.
The game looked like it was heading for penalties but Arthurlie got their noses in front again when sub Murty was too strong for Josh Payne, then the big number 10 Smith outmuscled Andy Brown to put the ball through to McLernan who got the wrong side of Mushett and slotted low into the net.
Thistle kept pushing for the equaliser they had deserved on the day and it came in the last minute of normal time when Payne score direct from a corner kick.
Full time came and Arthurlie scored with the first penalty. As Reynolds went to take Thistle’s first, the referee wasn’t happy with the position of the ball and made him re-spot it then fussed around him – clearly putting him off his kick which was saved.
The rest of the penalties were scored by both teams and Arthurlie won 5-3, a poor way for the Jags to go out and the referee needs to take at least a bit of the blame.
Full Time: Larkhall Thistle 2 Arthurlie 2 (3-5 pens)
Scorers: Gracie, Payne
Website Man of the Match: Graham Gracie had a good first half and took his goal well, in contrast Stewart Thomson had a shaky start when he dropped the ball a couple of times but settled after a great save to put in a man of the match performance.
S.Thomson; Brown, Mushett, Reynolds; Kelly (Nicholl 70); Payne, Innes, Jack, Reid; McStay, Gracie. Subs: Clarke, Stewart, Rutherford, D.Thomson (GK)
Hay. Convery, Brennan, Chisholm, McGregor; Deas, McKie, Leyden, Carroll, Smith, McLernan. Subs Graham, Mundy