Lesmahagow came to Gasworks Park in what looked like it was probably going to be the showdown match in Section 1 but unfortunately Hugh Kelly was injured and Tam McLaughlin decided to use Paul Burns as an emergency replacement in front of the back three, a position he struggled to come to terms with. With Graham Gacie on holiday, Ryan Innes suspended and first choice keeper Stuart Thomson out it was a far from full-strength team that took to the park.
The Gow took an early lead from a corner, their centre half scoring with a header but Thistle equalised in 9 minutes when Brian Jack finished at the back post from a pass from Matty Clarke after a good move.
The Jags had the upper hand after the goal and Mark Canning was unlucky not to score with a chip from 30 yards before Clarke was through on the keeper and ballooned his shot over the bar.
Half time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Lesmahagow 1
Trialist Craig Rutherford had a good first half but was replaced at half time by Gary McStay who came on and showed a lot of good touches and held the ball up well.
Thistle took the lead early in the second half when Josh Payne latched on to a through ball and slotted it into the corner after another good move. Minutes later the same player should have scored again but rattled the ball against the bar when it looked easier to roll it in.
As would have been expected in a keenly contested derby, Lesmahagow didn’t take the situation lying down and fought hard for an equaliser. Johnny McStay came on as a second half substitute for Gow but failed to take any of the several good chances that fell his way and Thistle defended solidly to preserve their narrow advantage until the end.
Gow’s McStay also provided a moment of real entertainment that he might want to forget with possibly the most theatrical dive ever seen at Gasworks – complete with loud wailing – the effect of which was to send both sets of fans into fits of laughter and the referee reaching for his yellow card.
With full points from their opening two games against what were at least on paper their toughest looking opponents, Thistle now look firm favourites to progress to the knock-out stages of the cup.
Full time: Larkhall Thistle 2 Lesmahagow 1
Scorers: Jack, Payne
D. Thomson; Brown, Reynolds, Nicholl; Burns, Canning, Jack, McKeever (Doyle 75), Payne, Clarke, Rutherford (McStay 45). Subs Stewart