Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Wishaw
Thistle went into this game looking for a win to put themselves nine points clear of Wishaw and ease any possible relegation worries but they knew that a win for the visitors would reduce the gap to just three points and set up a worrying end to the season.
Defender Scott Nicholl was recalled to the left back position with Hugh Kelly restored to his normal midfield role, Ian Cooke was the player to make way despite his good recent perfomances. Gracie, Reid and McKeever were all missing from the starting line-up meaning a shortage of pace going forward once again.
The Jags got off to the worst possible start when they went a goal down after only six minutes, a seemingly harmless looking cross drifting in to the top corner with keeper Colquhoun helpless.
Thistle came back strongly and took control of the game and were level in 15 minutes with a deflected shot by Matty Clarke, his third goal in three games since starting up front. As the half went on the moans from the visiting bench became increasingly desperate but the referee did well to stay strong under pressure and not let the complaints get to him.
Larkhall could and should have taken a lead into the half time break when first Ross McGeachie then Matty Clarke found themselves clean in with only the keeper to beat but couldn’t supply the finish.
Midway through the half Larkhall had a let-off when a well worked move from Wishaw ended with the ball in the net but the referee decided that there was an offside and the goal was disallowed.
Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Wishaw 1
Thistle started the second half doing most of the pressing and had a great chance to take the lead after only two minutes but Clarke misjudged the flight of the ball and let it bounce over his head instead of nodding it into the empty net. Just three minutes later the Jags passed up another great chance when Ryan Innes missed a free header from only six yards out.
The major talking point of the second half was an effort by Clarke, who cut in from the left wing and hit a great shot that hit the bar and bounced down off the ground, which side of the goal line it landed on depended entirely on what team you support but the man with the final say decided no goal. In fairness it was impossible to tell from his angle that it was definitely a goal so there was no way it could have been given.
As the half went on, Wishaw started to come more into it as their attentions switched from harrassing the referee to actually playing football and they looked the more likely side to score.
Neil Schoneville was excellent in defence but his only mistake almost cost the Jags a share of the points, he had a swing at the ball just inside his own half and missed it altogether leaving the Wishaw player in the clear. Schoneville’s attempt to pull him back fortunately didn’t work either as he’d have been off but the striker blew a real golden opportunity to seal the win as he took it wide of Colquhoun and couldn’t get a shot away.
Wishaw will probably be the more disappointed side tonight but the draw maintains the six point gap and keeps Thistle out of the mire for now.
Full Time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Wishaw 1
Colquhoun; Reynolds, Brown, Schoneville, Nicholl; Jack (Gracie 70), Marshall, Innes, Kelly; McGeachie, Clarke. Subs: McKeever, Moss, Cooke, McPhee
Thistle scorers: Clarke
Booked: Nicholl, Schoneville, Gracie
Best on the day for Thistle: Hugh Kelly had a good game in midfield but pick of the bunch was Neil Schoneville who cleared up everything at the back.