Sectional League Cup, Quarter Final
Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Cumbernauld United
Thistle played their first Sectional League Cup quarter final for a few years when they took on Section 8 winners Cumbernauld from the Superleague. They survived another injury scare to keeper Alan Colquhoun when he dived at the feet of a Cumbernauld player in the second minute and play was held up for him to receive treatment.
The Jags hit back after five minutes from a corner on the left, in a rehearsed move the Thistle players stayed on the edge of the box then burst in, the ball eventually breaking to Ryan Innes who volleyed just over the bar. Cumbernauld were establishing an early foothold in the game and took the lead their play deserved after fifteen minutes, when Foley gathered the ball on the right and went past left back Duris before cutting inside and drilling the ball low into the corner.
Thistle should have levelled a minute later when Gracie turned nicely in the middle of the park and split the visitors defence with a great ball through the middle for Innes. Maybe Reggie had a bit too much time to think about it but he lost out in the battle of wits with keeper Fraser and ended up hitting the ball straight at him.
That was about it in the first half for Thistle but the visitors should have extended the lead in 29 minutes when Zok beat Schoneville on the right and squared the ball across for what looked like a tap-in but Foley just couldn’t get on the end of it.
Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 0 Cumbernauld United 1
Cumbernauld almost scored in the first minute of the second half when Murphy attempted a Beckham style chip from just inside his own half that Colquhoun had to scramble to reach.
Thistle replied in the seventh minute when Matty Clarke did well to travel with the ball and feed Gracie whose low shot from the left side of the penalty area forced a good save from Fraser. Just on the hour Cumbernauld’s Brown swung a long cross that caught the Jags defence out and Foley nipped in for a free header – his attempt hitting the side netting when he really should have scored.
In truth the game was dominated by Cumbernauld and they could have been out of sight, but Thistle kept plugging away and might well have equalised in 72 minutes when Innes got his toe to a ball bobbling in the box, the keeper saved well but the Jags couldn’t capitalise on the rebound and the header went over the bar.
Five minutes from the end came a moment of real drama when keeper Alan Colquhoun played himself into trouble when he was short with a kick-out, it fell straight to Cumbernauld’s Dickson who ran in and shot but Colquhoun redeemed himself with a fine save. While he was on the deck he felt he was challenged unfairly and reacted angrily, however it didn’t look like he had struck a blow and that was backed up by the opposition players. The referee however took a different view and showed the keeper a straight red card. Mark Canning took over the gloves for the last five minutes.
No complaint about the result, Thistle were given a look at what life might be like if they won promotion and on this showing there would need to be a significant improvement if they were to stay there.
Full Time: Larkhall Thistle 0 Cumbernauld United 1
Colquhoun; Reynolds, Schoneville, Brown, Duris; Innes, Jack, Canning, Clarke, Cooke (McKee 73); Gracie. Subs: Moss, McKeever
Fraser; Sullivan, Brown, Fraser, Boyle, Mackie, Finlayson, Murphy, Zok, Scott, Foley. Subs: Carroll, Dickson, McHaffie, Gibson, McGuire
Booked: Schoneville, Sent off: Colquhoun
Best on the day for Thistle was Neil Schoneville who had another big performance at the back