After Monday night’s shock defeat at Forth, Thistle needed to win today and if Lesmahagow also won, the Jags had to win by 4 goals more than them.
Thistle raced into an early three goal lead and looked as if they could have won by any margin they wanted to. The scoring began in the fifth minute when David Reid powered down the left wing and crossed for Ryan Innes to slide the ball in.
Five minutes later Reid repeated the run down the left but this time he went all the way himself and rolled the ball over the line. Innes then added another three minutes later after good work from Josh Payne.
Thistle had virtually all of the ball in the first half and the only real surprise was that they only managed to add one more goal. Reid again was involved, he took a corner on the right and the ball was cleared out to Gary McStay who drilled a low shot from edge of the box.
Half time: Royal Albert 0 Larkhall Thistle 4
Albert came out for the second half with a different attitude altogether and took the game to Thistle and made much more of a game of it. They had a couple of chances in the early part of the half especially but Jags keeper Thomson wasn’t to be beaten.
Matty Clarke replaced McStay after an hour and Paul Burns came on for Canning with 12 minutes left as the Jags chased the goals they knew they needed.
The final fifteen minutes was one-way traffic towards the Albert goal as Thistle created chance after chance, Graham Gracie himself could easily have scored five but for an outstanding display from the Albert keeper.
Gracie did score the final goal minutes before full time but as it turned out it wasn’t enough to get them through. Both Thistle and Lesmahagow finished with the same points and goal difference but the Gow went through by virtue of scoring one more goal.
Full time: Royal Albert 0 Larkhall Thistle 5
Thomson; Brown, Reynolds, Nicholl; Payne, Canning (Burns 78), Innes, Jack, Reid; McStay (Clarke 60), Gracie. Subs: Doyle, Rutherford, Stewart
Scorers: Innes (2), Payne, McStay, Gracie
Booked: Canning, Gracie