Larkhall Thistle 3 Dunipace 0 – 12th March 2016

Thistle faced a Dunipace side rooted to the bottom of the league with a total of 4 points.

The Jags started strongly and were soon buzzing around the Dunipace goal, Ryan Innes produced the first chance of the game when he struck the crossbar with a well hit shot. This was a sign of things to come in the first 45 minutes with Dunipace rarely troubling Thistle’s defence.

Graham Gracie was next to strike the woodwork with keeper Stewart in the Dunipace goal helpless, Stewart then had fine stops from Brian Jack and Matty Clarke. Josh Payne, who at this stage was terrorising the left sided Dunipace defender, was unlucky when the keeper pushed his netbound shot onto the bar and safety.

Dunipace in a rare attack caused the home defence a moment of concern when their No 11 raced away after a poor pass in the Thistle midfield. Payne then had a fine run into the box and probably should have had a shot at goal but elected to pass to Gracie and only a last ditch tackle from a Pace defender prevented the big man from opening the scoring.

Innes then struck the woodwork again and his late runs into the box were causing the visitors no end of problems. The Jags finally broke the deadlock when Payne cut inside the full back and curled a marvellous shot beyond the keeper into the top corner of the net.

Half time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Dunipace 0

The second half opened much the same as the first and the Jags increased their lead with Innes finishing off a fine passing move involving Scott Nicholl, Matty Clarke and Graham Gracie. It was now one way traffic with the Dunipace keeper pulling off a string of impressive saves from Gracie, Innes and Clarke. The big keeper however blotted his copy book when he was slow in clearing a pass back allowing Gracie to nick the ball of him and he pulled the striker down in the box.

Graham took the resultant penalty and netted with ease. The referee took no action against the keeper deciding the penalty was sufficient punishment for the crime. Thistle then made three changes, bringing on Mark McKeever for Nicholl, David Reid for Payne and Hugh Kelly for Andy Brown.

The procession towards the Dunipace goal continued with a combination of poor finishing and fine goalkeeping with one save from a Kelly drive which was heading for the keeper’s top right hand corner of the goal without doubt the best of the afternoon.

During one of Dunipace’s rare excursions up the park their No 12 received his second yellow card for a late challenge on Thistle keeper Stuart Thomson. The pattern of the game continued with the home team attacking but they were unable to add to their tally.

Full time: Larkhall Thistle 3 Dunipace 0

Larkhall Thistle:
S.Thomson; Doyle, Brown (Kelly), Marshall, Burns; Payne (Reid), Innes, Jack (c), Nicholl (McKeever); Gracie, Clarke. Subs: D Thomson (GK), Kelly, McStay, Felvus.

Today’s man of the match was selected by ex Thistle full back Tommy Williamson and whilst Tommy thought Josh Payne and Graham Gracie played well his selection was midfielder Ryan Innes who Tommy thought gave a dynamic forceful display from start to finish.

Thistle are at home again next week when we welcome our friends from St. Anthonys.

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