Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Abbey Vale
Thistle took the lead in the third minute when Matty Clarke played the ball out to Niall Reynolds on the right wing, his cross found Ross McGeachie in space twelve yards out and he found the bottom corner of the goal. The Jags made the classic mistake of switching off after the goal and Abbey Vale’s No. 8 cut in from the left wing position and drilled the ball into the bottom left corner of new keeper Alan Colquhoun’s goal.
Sadly though the player then suffered a serious looking injury when he went down minutes later and was taken for a check up with suspected ligament damage.
Thistle went back in front in the 16th minute with the move of the game. Gracie made his way down the right wing and fired the ball across the six yard line, Ross McGeachie dummied and took the Vale defence with him, leaving Ryan Innes with an easy roll in. They extended the lead in the 25th minute when Gracie cut inside and fired a shot straight down the middle of the goal, which the keeper on loan from Annan Athletic should really have done better with.
A minute later it was 4-1 when Innes rounded the keeper and tapped in his second of the day. Reggie and left back James Duris were substituted on the half hour mark with Mark McKeever and a trialist coming on.
Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 4 Abbey Vale 1
Abbey Vale got a goal back just after the break when substitute Stuart McFarlane was caught out and despite his best efforts to pull the striker back, he went on and slotted past Moss. The Jags were under further pressure in 70 minutes when Vale’s best spell of play in the match resulted in a cross from the left and a good header past Moss for 4-3.
Thistle made use of the rolling substitutions agreement to look at a few trialists and try out different formations and consequently the second half was a bit of a damp squib, matching the drizzly rain. It wasn’t helped by theconstant offside calls from your referee – some of which were at best dubious.
The Jags did restore a bit of credibility with a fifth goal in the 77th minute when the ball fell to Mark McKeever just outside the box and his pot shot went through the crowd into the corner of the net.
Best wishes to the injured lad from all at the club, hope he makes a speedy recovery and full credit to an Abbey Vale side that was much improved from last season, they lasted the pace well and made a good game of it in the second half. Thistle will just be glad to get the first one over – the scoreline shows where the problems might lie ahead in the coming season.
Full Time: Larkhall Thistle 5 Abbey Vale 3
Larkhall Thistle starting team (rolling subs):
Colquhoun; Reynolds, Brown, Marshall, Duris; Innes, Jack, Canning, Clarke; McGeachie, Gracie. Subs: McKeever, Moss, trialists
Thistle scorers: Innes 2, Gracie, McGeachie, McKeever