Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v St Anthony’s
Thistle fielded the same starting eleven who were a little unlucky to lose to Blantyre Vics on Saturday with the exception of Niall Reynolds who moved to left back and Jordan Marshall who played alongside Neil Schoneville in central defence.
The home team started brightly and soon had the Ants under pressure, with Graham Gracie coming close to opening the scoring. Very little had been seen of the Ants as an attacking force with Thistle very much on top but without carrying any real cutting edge and Mark McKeever missed a glorious chance put the home team in front when he sliced his effort wide.
Thistle were then reduced to ten men when McKeever was shown a straight red for kicking out at an opponent – which was totally out of character for him – so the Jags were left to play the last ten minutes of the first half and all the second half with ten men.
Half Time Larkhall Thistle 0 St Anthony’s 0
The Jags started the second half on the front foot despite being a man short and were soon putting the visitors under pressure, with the only danger from the visitors coming from big punts up the park. Both full backs Andy Brown and Nial Reynolds were getting forward at every opportunity to support the front men and Thistle were creating openings forcing the Ants keeper into good saves from Graham Gracie and Ryan Innes.
Matty Clarke and Brian Jack were then replaced by Ross McGeachie and David Reid. The changes were very positive and after a series of well taken corners by Graham Gracie which put the Ants goal under pressure, Ryan Innes scored the all important goal again from a corner, forcing the ball past the Ants keeper to spark wild celebrations from the Thistle players.
The Ants keeper then had a tremendous save from a powerful McGeachie header and next to try his luck was Gracie, who shot narrowly past from a Hugh Kelly pass. Thistle then had a tremendous passing move which ended with Reid who should have at least tested the keeper but put the ball past the post. At this stage it was hard to understand which team only had ten men and McGeachie had a shot pushed away for a corner. With time running out the visitors made a final push to get on level terms without really threatening the home team.
This win means Thistle are safe from the drop with three games remaining but the Ants are still very much in the drop zone.
Full Time Larkhall Thistle 1 St Anthony’s 0
The players had to dig deep when reduced to ten with Ryan Innes again very much involved in the action but Andy Brown worked tirelessly at the back and still found time to make forceful runs from his defensive position so he is tonight’s man of the match. Andy picked up an injury and was replaced by David McPhee with 10 minutes remaining.
Thistle Scorer: Innes
Colquhoun, Brown (McPhee), Marshall, Schoneville, Reynolds; McKeever, Innes, Kelly, Jack (Reid); Clarke (McGeachie), Gracie