Larkhall Thistle 2 Rossvale 1 – 10th December 2016

Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Rossvale
Central League First Division

After last week’s rout of Bellshill, Thistle faced what looked like it would be a far sterner test today in what was effectively a battle for third place in the league. Rossvale have been on a good run and had only lost once in their last eight games.

Thistle started the game without three big players; Mark Canning and Ryan Innes who were injured and Andy Brown who dropped out in favour of Scott Nicholl who came back in at left back. Missing their influential captain, half their regular midfield and their best defender meant it looked like being an uphill task and so it proved to be. Gary McStay and Brian Jack were recalled to midfield while David Thomson started in goals again.

larkhall-thistle-v-rossvale-1

The game started in a familiar pattern with the Jags having the majority of possession, but although they pressed the visitors defence there were no real chances to speak of in the early part of the game. Rossvale had less of the ball but when they did break, the twin threat of Osadolar and Trussler up front gave the Thistle defence plenty to contend with as they produced more clear chances and looked more like scoring.

As the half wore on Rossvale took command of the game and Thistle would have been happy to go into the interval on level terms but the referee did his best to try and change it with one of the worst penalty awards you’ll see anywhere. Osadolar found himself one on one with the young Jags keeper and as he went round him, appeared to have been hit by a sniper as he went down with nobody near him. Justice was done though as the striker took the penalty himself but his tame effort was easily stopped by Thomson.

Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 0 Rossvale 0

Once again there was an early goal at the start of the half and this time it was the Jags who appeared a bit sluggish after the break. Holmes produced a moment of real quality for his team as he turned Josh Payne out in the right back position and cut inside, drilling a low shot through a clump of players into the bottom corner.

Rossvale looked to be happy with their lead and their coaching staff were encouraging time wasting tactics with half an hour still to play. In the end it came back to bite them severely as they might well have been able to build on their lead rather than try and kill the game as instructed.

larkhall-thistle-v-rossvale-2

Scott Nicholl had taken his time getting back up to speed and he would admit the first half wasn’t his best but the second period was a different story altogether with some tremendous efforts at goal including a rasping free kick that rattled the post and a tremendous 25 yard drive that drew the best save of the day from keeper Donnelly.

The game looked like it might be drifting away from Thistle until the most unlikely of equalisers with three minutes left to play. Graham Gracie took a long throw on the right and although the tactic has come in for criticism over the years, this time it produced a goal when it mattered. The ball bounced once just past the penalty spot and Niall Reynolds watched it go over his head then swung and hit a brilliant overhead kick over the keeper and into the net.

The Jags now had the momentum and pushed for the winner which came a minute into stoppage time. Gracie drove forward on the other wing this time and picked out Jack at the back of the box, he took a touch inside the defender and scrambled the ball to substitute Matty Clarke who rolled it into the corner.

After the late losses to Fauldhouse and Lesmahagow the Jags supporters were delighted to see the tables turned this time in what was a significant result as it took them six points clear of Rossvale in fourth with a game in hand. It also took them level on points with St Roch’s who lost today, but leaders Cambuslang Rangers emphasised that they mean business with an incredible 9-1 win at Benburb.

league-table

Full time: Larkhall Thistle 2 Rossvale 1

Website man of the match: Good displays from Kelly in midfield and the Gracie/McKeever partnership up front but Liam Mushett gets the virtual bottle of champagne this week with a commanding performance in the middle of the defence.

Larkhall Thistle:
D. Thomson; Reynolds, Mushett, Nicholl; Kelly, Jack, McStay (Clarke 70), Payne, Reid; McKeever, Gracie. Subs: Brown, Doyle, Burns

Rossvale:
Donnelly; Tart, McDowell, Doherty, Leadbetter; Holmes, O’Brien, McGrath, Dickie; Osadolar, Trussler

Scorers: Reynolds, Clarke

Booked: Gracie, Kelly

Larkhall Thistle 2 Lesmahagow 1 – 13th August 2016

Lesmahagow came to Gasworks Park in what looked like it was probably going to be the showdown match in Section 1 but unfortunately Hugh Kelly was injured and Tam McLaughlin decided to use Paul Burns as an emergency replacement in front of the back three, a position he struggled to come to terms with. With Graham Gacie on holiday, Ryan Innes suspended and first choice keeper Stuart Thomson out it was a far from full-strength team that took to the park.

The Gow took an early lead from a corner, their centre half scoring with a header but Thistle equalised in 9 minutes when Brian Jack finished at the back post from a pass from Matty Clarke after a good move.

The Jags had the upper hand after the goal and Mark Canning was unlucky not to score with a chip from 30 yards before Clarke was through on the keeper and ballooned his shot over the bar.

Half time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Lesmahagow 1

Trialist Craig Rutherford had a good first half but was replaced at half time by Gary McStay who came on and showed a lot of good touches and held the ball up well.

Thistle took the lead early in the second half when Josh Payne latched on to a through ball and slotted it into the corner after another good move. Minutes later the same player should have scored again but rattled the ball against the bar when it looked easier to roll it in.

As would have been expected in a keenly contested derby, Lesmahagow didn’t take the situation lying down and fought hard for an equaliser. Johnny McStay came on as a second half substitute for Gow but failed to take any of the several good chances that fell his way and Thistle defended solidly to preserve their narrow advantage until the end.

Gow’s McStay also provided a moment of real entertainment that he might want to forget with possibly the most theatrical dive ever seen at Gasworks – complete with loud wailing – the effect of which was to send both sets of fans into fits of laughter and the referee reaching for his yellow card.

With full points from their opening two games against what were at least on paper their toughest looking opponents, Thistle now look firm favourites to progress to the knock-out stages of the cup.

Full time: Larkhall Thistle 2 Lesmahagow 1

Scorers: Jack, Payne

Booked: Brown

Larkhall Thistle:
D. Thomson; Brown, Reynolds, Nicholl; Burns, Canning, Jack, McKeever (Doyle 75), Payne, Clarke, Rutherford (McStay 45). Subs Stewart

Larkhall Thistle 3 Lanark United 1 – 10th August 2016

The new season got underway at the second time of asking after Saturday’s bizarre postponement and the game got off to exactly the start Thistle would have wanted when they took the lead in the second minute.

Scott Nicholl swung a ball from left back over to Graham Gracie on the right wing, he went past his man and crossed for Matty Clarke to head in at the back post.

The lead was short-lived however as Lanark drew level when Jags keeper Thomson fumbled an attempted catch and Maxwell passed the ball into the empty net.

Lanark looked the sharper of the two teams and were unlucky not to take the lead on a couple of occasions in a first half that they largely dominated. Thistle on the other hand found it hard to get going and didn’t create much in terms of clear chances.

Half time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Lanark United 1

The Jags almost replicated their start to the first half when Clarke sent Gracie clear in the first move of the half but he choked his effort and shot wide past the post.

Thistle took the lead again 13 minutes into the half with the kind of football that had been totally lacking in the first. Gracie took the ball just inside the opposition half and played in Clarke on the left, he held it up and picked out Mark McKeever’s overlapping run which ended with a cross to the back post that Mark Canning met on the run and slotted in.

Lanark should have equalised with a similar chance shortly after but Gallagher forgot to have the shot and missed the ball altogether. Matty Clarke then produced a moment of quality when he took the ball past a couple of defenders just outside the box and curled a dipping shot that came back off the bar.

Acting manager Tam McLaughlin made a double substitution with 20 minutes to go, Clarke and Stewart replaced by Doyle and Rutherford and five minutes later he made the final change when Paul Burns replaced Hugh Kelly.

Lanark pressed hard in the last 15 minutes for an equaliser but some good defending and good luck kept them out. It was Thistle who tied the game up with a third goal five minutes from the end, Gracie knocked the ball down into the path of Rutherford and he set up Brian Jack who found the bottom corner with a low drive.

A good second half performance by the Jags who took their chances where the visitors failed to capitalise on theirs.

Full time: Larkhall Thistle 3 Lanark United 1

Scorers: Clarke, Canning, Jack

Booked: Canning

Larkhall Thistle:
Thomson; Brown, Reynolds, Nicholl; Kelly (Burns 75), Stewart (Doyle 70), Canning, Jack McKeever, Gracie, Clarke (Rutherford 70). Subs Thomson (GK), Payne

Lanark United:
Brown; Christie, Murphy, Lawson, Collins, Imrie, Maxwell, McCrum, Gallgher, Duggan, McGurk. Subs: O’Connell, Kearney, Brown

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

 

Larkhall Thistle v Lesmahagow, Central District First Division

Thistle hosted neighbours Lesmahagow in this tough looking league match. As preparation for next week’s Scottish Cup second round tie, the derby promised to be as good a test as any the Jags could have had.

Read Hugh’s full match report here

Scottish Cup 1st Round Draw

Thistle have been drawn at home to Haddington Athletic in the first round of the Scottish Cup. Haddington play in the East Premier League, the division below the Superleague and are currently sitting sixth after five games. It will be a stiff test for the Jags as the two teams look fairly evenly matched on paper.

As commented by regular poster Exiled, Thistle lost 3-1 there in the Scottish Cup in 1970 when they had a very good team and a massive support, the round after beating Preston Athletic (now a Senior team) 4-0 at Prestonpans.

The tie takes place on Saturday 26th September at Gasworks Park.

 

 

Larkhall Thistle 7 Forth Wanderers 2

Thistle blew a poor Forth team away with a seven goal second half blitz to run out easy winners in a game where they were never really troubled. The only surprise was the visitors taking a lead into half time but it was just the jolt the Jags needed.

Match report Thistle 7 Forth 2

Video highlights of Thistle v Forth (including all goals!!)

 

 

 

 

Larkhall Thistle v Wishaw, Central League Division 1 – 25th April 2015

summary
Thistle had lost the reverse fixture in Wishaw just a few weeks ago and so there was no chance that they were going to underestimate today’s opponents, despite their position near the foot of the table.

See full match report of Thistle v Wishaw here

Larkhall Thistle v Vale of Clyde, Central League Division 1 – 18th April 2015

summary
Thistle had won the reverse fixture at Fullerton Park earlier in the season and looked to be well on the way to winning this one too until a great fightback by Vale saw the game end in a disappointing draw.

See full match report of Thistle v Vale of Clyde here

Some video highlights: