Brig O’ Lea Park, Neilston
Neilston v Larkhall Thistle
Central League First Division
A very poor crowd today for what was another end of season meaningless fixture for Thistle – but a real disaapointment in terms of the home support with a battle still to be fought for survival.
Larkhall struggled to put out eleven players on the park with injuries, suspensions and holidays hitting the team badly – Nicholl, Payne, Kelly, Reid, Thomson and Clarke were all unavailable so into the team came Graham Gracie, Gary McStay and trialist Connor Stewart.
The Jags took an early lead when Stewart ran down the right flank and played the ball into McStay who finished well but after a bright start by Thistle, Neilston came back into the game and were the better team for most of of the half.
Although they had been on top, Neilston hadn’t really created anything in the way of clear cut chances but they got the equaliser their play probably deserved in the 27th minute from a corner on the right that was flicked on and bundled in.
Half Time: Neilston 1 Larkhall Thistle 1
First chance of the half fell to Neilston after 15 minutes, and it was a decent attempt from a free kick with the ball going just past the post. Thistle replied a minute later with a free kick of their own, Marshall floating the ball from inside his own half onto the penalty spot and Gracie beating the defender but just failing to get a toe on the end of it.
As the home team became increasingly desperate for the win they needed, there was little football played by either side but the game was brightened up by a tremendous save by young David Thomson from an excellent effort from McKay who cut inside and looked to be curling a shot into the far corner.
Thistle had a let-off with 15 minutes left after the best move of the game, Neilson’s McKay took the ball into the box and back heeled it into the path of Diack who fired a low cross into the box that was finished from close range. Fortunately for the Jags the referee spotted a handball by Dymock and the goal was disallowed.
The Jags had a chance to take all three points with five minutes left as Gracie latched on to a long ball out of defence and drove at the goal, however with Innes and McKeever square inside in good scoring positions he chose to go it alone and blasted his shot high over the bar.
The last action of the game saw a free kick from McKay in a dangerous position just outside the box just fail to clear the high fence behind the goals at the road end.
Full Time: Neilston 1 Larkhall Thistle 1
Booked: Innes, Reynolds, Gracie
D.Thomson, Doyle, Marshall, Brown, Reynolds; Stewart (Burns 70), Innes, Jack, McKeever; Gracie, McStay
Cowie; Stevenson, McInnes, Amos, McDade; McCuish, Docherty, Diack, McKay, Dymock, Kennedy
Website MoM: Nothing much from the more creative players on show but a good performance from Declan Doyle who is improving at full back and Ryan Innes who battled hard in midfield, but it’s hard to look past Andy Brown who was once again outstanding in defence.