McKenna Park, Cardonald
Ashfield v Larkhall Thistle
Ashfield switched the game across the city to McKenna Park, home of St Anthony’s and the move was reflected in the size of the crowd – about 30 paying customers. The high wind ruined any chance of good football being played and as a spectacle it was one of the poorest seen, even in a season that has failed to get going.
Thistle were missing Andy Brown and Jordan Marshall, David McPhee started at right back and Ryan Innes in centre midfield, Niall Reynolds moved across to centre back.
The Jags were the first to threaten in just two minutes when Mark McKeever played in Innes whose effort went just over the bar, that was shortly followed by Hugh Kelly setting up Graham Gracie from a corner with his effort also going over.
The first 16 minutes of the game had been completely controlled by Thistle but Ashfield made their first impression with a good burst down the left by their young midfielder who spun and left Reynolds for dead before sending over a good low cross that fortunately for Jags had nobody on the end of it.
A couple of minutes later however Ashfield did score with a very well taken goal, a nice shimmy in the middle of the park then a defence splitting ball into the box for the Ashfield striker to run on and slip it low into the middle of the net.
Thistle were almost level five minutes later when Neil Schoneville flicked on a Gracie throw in to set up Innes, his point blank header was saved brilliantly by the keeper. Shortly before that he had picked up Larkhall’s only booking of the day for simulation.
The Jags were on top for most of the rest of the half and had a few half chances to score but the best chance fell to Ashfield five minutes from the break when their left midfielder set off on a run to the bye line and put in a great cross that was just waiting to be tapped in but there were no takers.
Half Time: Ashfield 1 Larkhall Thistle 0
Thistle started off the first half piling the pressure on the Ashfield goal and produced corner after corner in the first fifteen minutes, finally resulting in an equaliser when Schoneville once again got his name on the sheet with a header from McKeever’s corner.
The Jags made their first substitution just after the goal with David Reid coming on for Scott Nicholl and it was Reid who gave them the lead in the 72nd minute just after having had efforts from Innes and Schoneville cleared off the line. Gracie got on the end of a long clearance on the left side of the park and cut the ball in for Div who placed a nice first time shot into the corner.
If it was surprising that it had taken so long to get themselves in front, what happened next was a shock in the context of the game – and the season as a whole – as Thistle romped away and fired in four more goals.
Reid found himself in acres of space again a minute later and after wrong footing the keeper with a dummy, took the ball round him and slotted it into the empty net. David McPhee marked his first team start with a goal when he made it three goals in five minutes with a crashing shot into the roof of the net from a McKeever corner.
Matty Clarke and Ian Cooke replaced Ross McGeachie and Brian Jack with ten minutes to go and Clarke got himself an assist in the 42nd minute when he took a ball from Schoneville and played in Gracie who finished with a low drive into the middle of the goal.
Reid completed his hat trick a minute later after good work down the right flank by Cooke, he made a great run then put across a perfect ball for Div to tap-in to the empty net.
A result that was somewhat flattering to the Jags although they did create enough chances to have won by double figures. Ashfield unfortunately showed why they are bottom of the league as their defence was posted missing for most of the second half.
Full Time: Ashfield 1 Larkhall Thistle 6
Colquhoun; Nicholl (Reid 59), Reynolds, Schoneville, McPhee; Jack (Cooke 80), Kelly, Innes, McKeever; McGeachie Clarke 80), Gracie. Subs: Moss
Thistle scorers: Reid 3, Schoneville, McPhee, Gracie
Best on the day for Thistle: He was only on the park for half an hour but as nothing had happened in the previous hour this week’s pick is David Reid.