Larkhall Thistle 1 Lanark United 0 – 22nd November 2014

Central League First Division
Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Lanark United

Neil Schoneville was serving his one match ban for his sending off at St Anthony’s last week so Jordan Marshall filled in again at centre back alongside Andy Brown. The rest of the team was unchanged from last week’s game. The only other pre-match doubt was the park, the heavy rain during the week threatened the fixture but thankfully it eased off nearer the day and the park was OK.

Thistle started the game on a bit of a high after last week’s heroics and they were up against a Lanark side who had been on a good run themselves with three wins and a draw in their last four games under new manager John Brogan. However the game itself started as a bit of a dour struggle between two teams who to be honest looked like mid-table finishers with no real quality on show although that can partly be blamed on the conditions.

McKeever and Nicholl bring the ball clear
McKeever and Nicholl bring the ball clear

The first action of any note was in the 17th minute when Mark McKeever did well to beat a couple of men on the left before finding David Reid on the edge of the box, his shot looked goal bound but was blocked by a lunge from a Lanark defender that sent it over for a corner. McKeever was involved again a couple of minutes later when he won a free kick that Scott Nicholl took and swung a great ball in for Ross McGeachie to nod down for Canning on the edge of the box but his first time effort only disturbed the moss on the roof of one of the neighbouring houses.

A minute later Canning went a lot closer when he stretched well to get his toe to the end of a long ball over the top from Jordan Marshall but he couldn’t get enough on it to steer it past keeper Cherrie.

Thistle were beginning to dominate proceedings and got their best chance of the game so far when Ryan Innes managed to win the ball back on the right side of midfield. He drove forward before playing a cross right through the six yard box for what looked like it was going to be a tap-in for Ross McGeachie but his shot was too close to Cherrie and the keeper saved well with his feet.

Mark Canning had another chance to give the Jags the lead in 33 minutes but hit the bar with his shot, however the breakthrough that the pressure deserved came shortly after in 40 minutes. Larkhall won a corner on the left side and in a rehearsed looking move fired in a dipping cross right on to the McGeachie’s head at the near post and the big striker did brilliantly to flick it into the top of the net.

corner leading to Thistle goal
corner leading to Thistle goal

Three minutes later Thistle nearly added to their lead when Reid put a good cross over to the back post and McKeever headed goalwards, Cherrie managed to get a hand to it but didn’t clear the six yard box and McGeachie nearly managed to bundle the ball over but it was cleared.

Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Lanark United o

Lanark hadn’t really shown much in the first half to suggest that they were on a good run but the second period was a different story. They came straight out and took the game by the scruff of the neck and created a good chance when the impressive Jarvie headed down for O’Donnell but he thrashed his shot wide.

Thistle defend in the second half
Thistle defend in the second half

Thirteen minutes into the second half Lanark had a soft penalty claim turned down but they had played on and forced a great save from Jags keeper Colquhoun. A minute later the referee decided that two half penalties equalled a whole penalty when he awarded a compensation kick of the extremely soft variety. Colquhoun had saved a penalty last week and incredibly repeated the feat with a tremendous save to his left but took a knock in the follow up and was injured for a few minutes.

Thistle’s first real effort of the second half came after 63 minutes when a high ball was headed down by McGeachie right into the path of Ryan Innes who was clear through on goal, he showed that maybe he is lacking a bit of confidence by shooting tamely straight at the keeper with both corners available.

Mark McKeever hits the post
Mark McKeever hits the post

Lanark were still looking to level the game though and had their best chance in 70 minutes when substitute Docherty was put clear inside the box but he couldn’t keep his composure and his attempted curler flew yards wide. Thistle replied five minutes later from a corner taken by substitute Matty Clarke that McKeever steered onto the post and minutes before the end could have sealed the win when Canning won the ball and set up McGeachie but again the shooting boots weren’t on.

The Jags saw the game out for a very welcome three points and Lanark can maybe count themselves unlucky not to have taken something from the game, although Thistle were well ahead on chances created.

Full Time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Lanark United o

Larkhall Thistle:
Colquhoun; Reynolds, Brown, Marshall, Nicholl; McKeever (Jack 86), Canning, Kelly, Innes; McGeachie, Reid (Clarke 70). Subs: McPhee, Cooke, Gracie

Lanark United:
Cherrie; McGhee, Hanlon, Lawson, Murdoch, Docherty, Millar, Jarvie, O’Donnell, Falconer, Henderson. Subs: McIntyre, Kane, Clarke, Russell

Thistle scorer: McGeachie

Booked: Canning, Innes

Best on the day for Thistle: Mark McKeever had a great first half and would have been the pick of the day but Alan Colquhoun’s heroics again in goals were enough to win the Jags the game so he gets the nod this week.

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