Larkhall Thistle 3 Haddington Athletic 2 – 26th September 2016

Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Haddington Athletic
ETHXenergy Scottish Junior Cup Round 1

Gasworks Park housed a good crowd for what both teams hoped would be a good run in the Holy Grail of junior football.

The game was preceded by a minutes silence for Thistle supporter John Russell who passed away earlier in the week. The visitors started strongly and it was no great surprise when they took the lead, No 9 Wayne Sproule finishing off a fine passing move. At this stage of the game Thistle were struggling to get to grips with the passing style of a Haddington team which was nice to watch but Alan Colqhoun in the home was not under any great pressure.

As half time approached there was a shout for a penalty when Josh Payne went down in the penalty box after a tackle by the Haddington No 5, however the referee quite correctly gave a goal kick. Half time arrived with the Jags huffing and puffing but not really threatening the visitors goal.

Half time: Larkhall Thistle 0 Haddington Athletic 1

Thistle came out in the second half  in determined fashion and were soon putting the Haddington defence under pressure. It was no surprise when they equalised in the 50th minute through Matty Clarke, who finished of a fine passing movement involving Josh Payne and Graham Gracie.

This goal settled the Jags and with Brian Jack and Ryan Innes getting to grips with the middle of the park, for the first time the visitors started to gradually fall out of the game. Thistle started to apply pressure to the Haddington defence and shots from Graham Gracie and David Reid went close, with a tremendous drive from Scott Nicholl being pushed away to safety by visiting keeper Amos.

Gasworks park erupted in 72 minutes when the Jags were awarded a penalty after the Haddington No 4 handled the ball in the penalty box and Graham Gracie expertly converted sending the keeper the wrong way. The visitors were stunned and Thistle tried to press home their advantage and were awarded another penalty for a push on Neil Schoneville.

Graham Gracie was the coolest person in the ground again sending the keeper the wrong way. Josh Payne was withdrawn at this point and replaced by the experienced Mark McKeever. With the prospect of exiting the Scottish Haddington redoubled their efforts and were awarded a penalty in the second minute of injury time. Paterson duly converted but it was too little too late and the Jags emerged victorious.

Full time: Larkhall Thistle 3 Haddington Athletic 2

Larkhall Thistle:
Colqhoun; Reynolds, Marshall, Schoneville, Nicholl; Payne, Innes, Jack, Reid; Clarke, Gracie. Subs. Doyle, Brown, McKeever, Felvus, D.Thomson

On a day when every single player stepped up the plate it is only right and proper to award the man of the match award to the entire team.

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