Stagecoach West of Scotland League Central District First Division
Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Glasgow Perthshire
Larkhall Thistle ran out easy winners against a Perthshire team that looked a shadow of the side who romped to the league title only a couple of seasons ago. The Jags needed a lift after back to back cup defeats from Hurlford and Arthurlie and got it here today with their biggest win of the season.
Lee Moss and Stuart McIntosh both retained their places in the starting line up and David Garcia started up front in place of Graham Gracie who dropped to the bench.
Thistle started the game brightly and Jordan Marshall nearly caught out Perthshire goalkeeper Tedry with a clever free kick low to the near post in the second minute, that was quickly followed by Ross McGeachie being played though one-on-one with the keeper from a great ball by Innes, the big striker though fluffed his lines and the keeper managed to save.
The visitors were forced into an early substitution when Sutherland had to go off with what appeared to be a groin strain after only 12 minutes and only three minutes later the Jags went in front. Hugh Kelly swung in a free kick that found Garcia who fired in a shot from the edge of the box. It was blocked in what looked like a handball incident but the referee waved the claims away and the ball went out for a throw on the right, Innes picked up the ball and hit a peach of a shot from the edge of the box into the top corner.
A minute later saw Perthshire threaten for the first time and a high cross wasn’t dealt with properly resulting in a scramble that finished with Andy Brown having to clear the ball off the line but Thistle replied through Innes who made a surging solo run through the middle of the Perthshire defence that almost brought the second goal.
Larkhall did double their lead though in the 26th minute. Mark McKeever picked the ball up in left midfield, ran at the Perthshire full back and although he looked like he had lost the ball, he recovered well and crossed from the bye line for Mark Canning to poke it in after a stramash on the goal line.
Perthshire came into the game a bit and had their best spell after going two down, a nice one-two after 31 minutes resulted in a good effort from midfielder Munro which just went past the left corner of the goal. Three minutes later they went even closer when the same player hit the post with a free kick after a hand ball had been awarded against Andy Brown. Thistle were struggling to impose themselves and two minutes from the interval Lee Moss pulled off a tremendous save to keep the two goal lead intact, diving at the feet of Steele to prevent a cetain goal.
Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 2 Glasgow Perthshire 0
The second half began with Thistle looking like they had been given the proverbial half time rocket as they came out rejuvenated and were never really troubled for the rest of the game. As he did in the first half though, Ross McGeachie started the half by missing a golden opportunity – this time shooting past the post with the outside of his foot from eight yards after being put through by a great ball from Garcia.
The Jags were searching for the killer third goal and Mark Canning made a great break through the middle, laying the ball off for Innes to shoot wide – then Jordan Marshall tested Tedry with a fierce drive from 25 yards that the keeper dealt with comfortably.
Niall Reynolds then produced a moment of real quality midway though the second half with a ball played with the outside of his foot over the defenders and right into the path of Garcia. The Spaniard took one touch to control it as the ball was coming down then one touch to lay it off to Innes for the easiest goal he will score this season.
Thistle made a double substitution straight after the goal with Brian Jack and Scott McLachlan replacing Mark McKeever and Ross McGeachie.
The Jags now had the scent of blood and in the next 19 minutes produced a devastating display of attacking football that resulted in four goals which in all honesty could have been at least doubled.
The fourth goal came in the 69th minute and was as a result of great closing down by Garcia, the Perthshire left back played the ball back to the keeper and Garcia was on him before he could get his kick away. The unfortunate goalie rushed his kick and hit it straight off Garcia and into the goal.
Eight minutes later it was 5-0 with another cracking goal, Canning cushioned a header into the path of Reggie Innes who completed his hat-trick with a fierce volley from 10 yards that gave the keeper no chance. Manager Dunky Sinclair again made a substitution straight after the goal, this time hat trick hero Innes came off to a great round of applause, making way for Matthew Clarke.
Canning also claimed an assist for the last goal which came from a Kelly corner that was sent right across the edge of the box, the captain laid it into the path of Marshall who crashed home a shot from 25 yards.
The win takes Thistle back into third place in the table but with so many postponements it is hard to get a true picture and all the team can do is keep winning. To show how crazy the table is at the moment, Lanark are sitting third bottom but can overtake leaders Carluke if they win their games in hand!
Best on a day when all of the Thistle players did well were David Garcia who had some fantastic link up play as well as putting in a real shift, just shaded by hat-trick man Ryan Innes who was involved in everything and had two fantastic finishes.
Full Time: Larkhall Thistle 6 Glasgow Perthshire 0
Thistle scorers: Innes (3), Canning, Garcia, Marshall
Moss; Reynolds, Brown, McIntosh, Kelly; Innes, Marshall, Canning, McKeever; McGeachie, Garcia. Subs: Clarke, McLachlan, Jack, Gracie, Cassidy
Tedry; Kennedy, Michael, Cameron, McKenzie; Cuddihy, Glass, Munro, Steele, Begg, Sutherland
Booked: Kelly, Marshall