Lochburn Park, Maryhill
Benburb v Larkhall Thistle
Thistle were without Neil Schoneville who has just had a procedure to clean up his knee, Ryan Innes (injured) and Mark McKeever and Hugh Kelly who were both suspended. As expected the Bens came out of the traps very quickly and soon had the Jags defence under pressure and it was no surprise when they took the lead with a tremendous strike by their No.6.
The Jags slowly came into the game with some fine inter-passing and Graham Gracie equalised after robbing a Bens defender, rounding the keeper and knocking the ball into the empty net. The visitors now had the upper hand but could not add to their tally so at half-time a draw was probably just about right.
Half Time: Benburb 1 Larkhall Thistle 1
Thistle started the second half strongly and with Brian Jack prominent in the middle of the park. They set about Benburb with some attractive football and after a great run and cross from David Reid, Matty Clarke netted from close range. The Thistle defence – well marshalled by Andy Brown and Niall Reynolds – were at this stage standing firm against any attacks by the home team.
Thistle increased their lead again, a great cross from Reid was headed strongly high into the net by Graham Gracie. Benburb then laid siege to the Thistle goal and were eventually awarded a penalty for what was quite frankly a dive, after David McPhee had tackled the No.11, winning the ball and the Benburb player threw himself to the ground. After the referee booked the defender the No.9 converted the penalty.
This only spurred the Jags on and they scored again, Matty Clarke leaving the Bens keeper helpless with a curling 20 yarder into the top left hand corner. Thistle at this stage looked comfortable but as you would expect with their status in this division under threat, the Govan side mounted a determined effort to get the three goals needed to ensure their survival.
Jags player of the year Andy Brown in particular was making some tremendous blocks and with website man of the match for the season Alan Colquhoun making some excellent saves, the home team were limited to a scrambled goal which had more than hint of offsidehistle ran out 4-3 winners which meant Benburb dropped into the bottom league with their main rivals St Anthony’s retaining their place in this league.
Full Time: Benburb 3 Larkhall Thistle 4
Thistle Scorers: Gracie(2), Clarke (2)
Larkhall Thistle: Colquhoun; McPhee, Nicol, Reynolds, Brown; Marshall, Jack, Cooke, Reid; Clarke (McGeachie), Gracie
Subs: S.Schoneville, Daly
On a night when the Jags had no failures special mentions for Andy Brown, Alan Colquhoun, David Reid, Graham Gracie and Matty Clarke but the man of the match award goes to Brian Jack – captain on the night, he totally controlled the midfield and led by example from start to finish.