Central League First Division
Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Maryhill
Dunky Sinclair named an unchanged side after the 5-0 win at home to Benburb last week which meant no return as yet for Andy Brown and Jordan Marshall keeping his place filling in at centre half. But if last week was the best of the season, this week it was a bit flat and despite all their second half pressure and chances Thistle could not get the winning goal.
The game was only three minutes old when Niall Reynolds lunged in on Wells and conceded a penalty which was put away by Andy Monaghan to give Maryhill an early lead. Reynolds was booked for protesting about the award of the kick.
An early clash between Thistle’s Neil Schoneville and Monaghan turned nasty and set the tone for a game which wasn’t exactly played in the best spirit. The two went at each other throughout the game and the Hill man was frankly lucky to last the 90 minutes after some of his antics.
It wasn’t too long though before the Jags were back on level terms when they won a free kick 25 yards out. It was more or less central and Graham Gracie hit a tremendous left-foot strike to send the ball into the left side of the goal past a helpless Hay.
The rest of the first half was an extremely scrappy affair with neither side getting hold of the ball and playing football until the 42nd minute when Ross McGeachie won a header and released Gracie who slipped a ball through between the defenders and into the path of David Reid. He was through and in on goal but couldn’t quite get the ball out from his feet and the chance was gone. Thistle were made to pay a minute later when Maryhill broke straight back up the park on the left wing and although there was a question of a handball by Maryhill’s Furay in the build up to the goal, there was no doubt about his finish – a low drive across keeper Alan Colquhoun into the bottom corner.
Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Maryhill 2
Maryhill started the second half well and could have scored on a couple of occasions in the first 10 minutes but Thistle were back on level terms in 54 minutes. Reynolds made a marauding run down the right wing, going past the left back and hitting the byeline before cutting the ball across the six yard box and McGeachie timed his run perfectly, just managing to nick in front of the keeper and get a touch to the cross to deflect it in from a couple of yards out.
Just after the goal Larkhall made a double substitution with Brian Jack and Mark McKeever coming on for Reid and Clarke and in the 61st minute nearly took the lead. Jordan Marshall took a free kick just inside the opposition half and curled it to the far post, McGeachie met it with his head and should really have scored but put the ball over from five yards.
Three minutes later McGeachie set up Ryan Innes with a great back heel, the midfielder took a touch and shot from just inside the box. The keeper half-saved it but the ball spun up and over and looked to be going over the live before it was cleared.
Thistle were piling on the pressure and three minutes later Innes headed past from a Scott Nichol free kick before Canning had a shot scrambled off the line when it looked net-bound.
In the 72nd minute the game again turned niggly and there was a double sending off when Nicholl got involved with Maryhill’s Furay who saw red but the Jags man only picked up a second booking for the incident.
Thistle’s last real chance came 14 minutes from time when McGeachie stooped to get on the end of a cross from McKeever but the keeper held the ball well with Gracie waiting to pounce on any slipups. Maryhill ended the half like they began with a couple of decent efforts but it would have been a bit of a travesty if Thistle had lost in the end after their second half efforts.
Full Time: Larkhall Thistle 2 Maryhill 2
Colquhoun; Reynolds, Schoneville, Marshall, Nicholl; Reid (Jack 57), Innes, Canning, Clarke (McKeever 57); McGeachie, Gracie. Subs: Moss, Brown, Duris
Hay, Beckley, Lundie, Temporal, Banks, Callendar, Furay, Ferguson, Monaghan, Ndlovu, Wells. Subs: Orr, Assante, Omar, Liftler
Thistle scorers: Gracie, McGeachie
Booked: Reynolds, Schoneville, Innes, Canning Red: Nicholl (two bookings)
Best on the day for Thistle: Ross McGeachie put in his best performance since returning from injury and capped a hard working display with a well taken goal as well as being involved in most of Thistle’s attacking play.
Do you agree or was big Ross the worst man on the park? Should the Man of the Match have been somebody else? Leave a comment and let us know!