Rossvale v Larkhall Thistle
Central League First Division
Rossvale were playing their first ever game in the First Division and got off to a dream start with a win that saw them sitting at the top of the league at the end of the day, unfortunately that also meant that Thistle were bottom. A largely uneventful first three quarters of the game had seen the Jags fall two goals behind but create several good chances and looked to still be in the game. Nothing could have prepared the crowd for what was to follow though as the game turned into what was almost a farce as the Larkhall defence was totally taken apart.
After Thistle had missed chances through McStay and Clarke and Rossvale had also passed up the odd half chance, the home team took the lead in the 38th minute from a corner kick that hit the bar and was scrambled home by Cassells. It was a surprise lead given the pressure and chances that Thistle had created up to that point and they almost equalised five minutes later after a good run down the right wing by Andy Brown and a great cross that Matty Clarke put just past the post.
Half Time: Rossvale 1 Larkhall Thistle 0
Hugh Kelly went close to drawing the Jags level three minutes into the second half with a volley that would have given the keeper no chance. Five minutes later a ball through the middle caught out the defence and again it was Cassells who finished, rounding keeper Stuart Thomson to slot into the empty net.
Then came the moment that finished the game as a contest and left the whole ground bewildered as Hugh Kelly saw a straight red card for an offence that nobody saw him commit. The player himself looked as confused as anybody else as he trudged off.
The difference in the two teams then became painfully apparent as the artificial surface allowed the young Rossvale side to ping the ball about and go past their opponents almost at will, the absence of Reid, Gracie and Marshall from Thistle’s line up leaving them woefully short of pace and running.
Rossvale added three quick goals in seven minutes through Cassells, Gordon and McKay to kill the game before Larkhall managed a reply, Gracie setting up fellow substitute McKeever for a near post finish.
Another goal five minutes later – Thistle’s best move finished off by Gracie – had the visitors wondering what if, but then just as Thistle looked to be coming back into it and making the score a bit more respectable, Rossvale scored three more goals in the last five minutes as the Jags collapsed. Kane, Cassells with his fourth and McQuade scoring goals six, seven and eight.
A disaster of a day and the worst league defeat in living memory for a lot of Thistle supporters.
Full Time: Rossvale 8 Larkhall Thistle 2
Website MoM: Young Joshua Payne plugged away and couldn’t really be faulted for any of the debacle.
Calder; Gamba, McGregor, Doherty, Mosson; Cassells, McQuade, O’Donnell, Bradley; Coll, McKay
Thomson; Brown, Schoneville, Reynolds, Burns; Innes (McKeever 75), Jack (Marshall 60), Kelly, Payne; McStay, Clarke (Gracie 60). Subs: Doyle, Thomson (GK)
Bookings: Gracie, McKeever