Larkhall Thistle v Renfrew
Central League First Division
Thistle finally got their season up and running, with a good win against league leaders Renfrew – who had previously won three out of three and were flying at the top of the table. Not a vintage display by any means but after no wins in their opening three games the Jags would have been delighted just to have a win on the board.
The Jags got off to a flying start with a goal after two minutes. Young winger Josh Payne, who went on to have a good game in right midfield, picked up the ball and ran through the middle before he was challenged just outside the box, Ryan Innes was first to latch on to the loose ball and crashed a first time shot high into the roof of the net.
The Jags defensive frailties showed again though less than ten minutes later when Neil Schoneville made a mess of a header, sending it back inside and right to the feet of the Frew’s Scott Arthur who had still a bit to do but turned well to fire the visitors level.
Undaunted by the equaliser, Thistle pressed again in search of the lead and it came just six minutes later with their best move of the game. Graham Gracie sent David Reid off down the left wing with a nice flick, Reid took the ball past a defender to the byeline then cut it back for Matty Clarke who hit a low shot from 12 yards.
The Jags continued to play some nice passing football and restrict Renfrew to a few speculative efforts for most of the half and just after the half hour mark produced another great move that resulted in Gracie hitting the byeline and cutting back for Reid, this time however he blazed his shot high over the bar from the edge of the box.
Renfrew almost drew level in the 44th minute when they played the ball down the left wing and cut it straight across the goal, it was begging for a tap-in to the empty net but Jordan Marshall did brilliantly to get back and cover and clear the ball out of the danger zone.
Two minutes later Thistle extended their lead, once again after a good move involving Clarke and Nial Reynolds and ending with an rare sight – a header goal from Gracie as he stooped at the back post to get on the end of the cross.
Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 3 Renfrew 1
The start of the second half was as bad for Thistle as the first half had been good, as Renfrew got right back into the game with a goal after just 3 minutes. Keeper Alan Colquhoun was caught out of position in a bit of a scramble and Anton Heffron was left clear with the easiest of chances to poke home from two yards.
The visitors were now pressing and looking for an equaliser and their centre produced a moment of real quality in the 65th minute as he took the ball down and dragged it clear of the Jags defence before setting up a shot for Heffron who fired over the bar.
Thistle managed to get back into the game again midway through the half with decent efforts from Innes and Clarke and might have been awarded a penalty when Gracie was blatantly pushed off the ball by a defender who had both hands on the big Jags striker. Gracie hit the byeline once again with 8 minutes of normal time left but sub Felvus was just beaten to the ball by a defender.
Full Time: Larkhall Thistle 3 Renfrew 2
Website MoM: David Reid had a great first half but faded a bit after the break so MoM this week is Ryan Innes for a consistent performance and good goal.
Scorers: Innes, Clarke, Gracie
Colquhoun; Reynolds, Schoneville, Marshall, Nicholl; Jack, Innes, Kelly, Payne (McKeever 73); Gracie, Clarke (Felvus 77). Subs: Doyle, Thomson (GK), McStay
Bookings: Clarke, Nicholl