Benburb 2 Larkhall Thistle 3 – 7th January 2017

New Tinto Park, Glasgow
Benburb v Larkhall Thistle
Central League First Division

 

Thistle made their first visit to the new Tinto Park hoping to keep their recent good run going after the Christmas break. The management duo of Tam McLaughin (still on holiday) and Dunky Sinclair (hospitalised with an infected toe) were both missing so the Jags turned to their own three wise men in senior players Mark McKeever, Mark Canning and Hugh Kelly to take charge for the day.

 

On the playing side, Matty Clarke was out as he is still on holiday.

 

The game started with Benburb on the attack and the early pressure paid off for them with a goal inside two minutes. The Thistle defence was caught napping as a ball was delivered to the back post on the right and the Bens player had time to bring it down and slot it past Thomson in the Jags goal.

 

 

After a shaky first fifteen minutes where the home side looked like they might add to the lead, Larkhall came back into the game and started to dominate the midfield with acting co-manager/player/skipper Mark Canning pulling most of the strings.

The referee had denied Thistle a penalty earlier and booked Graham Gracie for simulation but the Jags did get a spot kick for handball in the 30th minute which Canning put away into the bottom corner.

 

 

Graham Gracie nearly put Thistle ahead when he nipped in and intercepted a poor pass-back but his effort didn’t have enough on it to get it over the line. As the half drew to a close, it was Thistle who were well on top and looking most likely to get a lead but that almost went the other way with a slip-up from Andy Brown who sold a back-pass short and let the Benburb player in on goal, fortunately the effort was wide.

 

 

Just before the break, Gracie cut in on his left foot to hit a shot that the home keeper saved but failed to hold, the rebound fell right to Ryan Innes who slotted the ball home low into the corner.

 

Half Time: Benburb 1 Larkhall Thistle 2

 

The second half changed with Benburb belying their bottom-half position by coming out and attacking strongly looking for an equaliser and they nearly got one early on with a header that went just past the post. Thistle replied with a good run and shot from David Reid that the keeper got down well to save.

 

The Jags did however convert one of their chances and extended their lead after 65 minutes when Ryan Innes stuck out a foot and poked a loose ball in from six yards.

 

 

Four minutes later Innes had a golden opportunity grab a rare hat-trick when he was put clean through on goal but the keeper managed to stick out a hand and block his effort and as often happens when a team has the chance to kill the game and doesn’t take it, Benburb went straight up the park and scored.

 

It was a tremendous goal and definitely the best moment of football in the game, a long crossfield pass was swept from left to right and the Bens player did brilliantly to stretch and keep the ball in play while delivering a perfect cross all in one movement, the ball was met with a full-on header that gave Thomson absolutely no chance.

 

 

The goal gave Benburb around 25 minutes to try and get an equaliser and they did press hard to try and get one but the Thistle defence held out well. Liam Mushett came on to replace Gary McStay who once again had shown some excellent hold up play and touches.

 

Both teams did have a few chances each in the closing stages and the home team might just have nicked a point with a penalty claim that was the last incident of the game. The referee waved it away but safe to say Paul Lovering in the home dugout possibly saw it differently.

 

 

Another great win for the Jags that puts them up into second place in the league with St Roch’s having lost to Rossvale today and given the difficult circumstances with the manager and his assistant both being out it was a fantastic performance all round.

 

Full Time: Benburb 2 Larkhall Thistle 3

 

Website man of the match: A hard one with everybody getting at least pass marks but no real outstanding performances, it was all about the team today and MoM goes to Ryan Innes whose goals made the difference.

 

Larkhall Thistle:
S. Thomson; Reynolds, Brown, Nicholl (Doyle); Canning, Innes, Jack (McKeever 89), Payne, Reid; Gracie, McStay (Mushett 76). Subs: D. Thomson, Rutherford

 

Scorers: Canning, Innes (2)

 

Booked: Gracie, Innes

 

Larkhall Thistle 2 Benburb 1 – 14th September 2016

Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Benburb
Central League First Division

Welcome back to Hugh as he took his seat at the front, it’s been a while but the referees have had it easy for too long.

hugh

Thistle were looking for a win to boost their chances of keeping up with the early season pacesetters, but with Andy Brown out they decided to use Liam Mushett as a makeshift left back although Declan Doyle was available and on the bench.

larkhall-thistle-v-benburb-1
Benburb almost got off to a dream start when they were through on goal in the first minute but the shot went over the bar. The Jags recovered well from that early scare and took control of the early part of the half, taking lead in 12 minutes when Marty Clarke made a good run down the left to the byeline and cut the ball across the face of the goal for Mushett to tap in.

The visitors looked certain to equalise ten minutes later from a scramble inside the box but the shot came back off the post and an even better effort followed a few minutes later with a curled shot that hit the inside of the far post.

The equaliser came ten minutes from half time from a highly dubious penalty award when the referee gave a spot kick for what looked to most to be a normal 50/50 arial challenge. The penalty was converted by Livingston, giving young Thomson no chance in the home goal.

larkhall-thistle-v-benburb-3

Thistle’s best attempts at regaining the lead before half time came through a couple of free kicks, the first saw Mushett get a head to it but without causing any real threat. The second however was a blistering drive from David Reid that produced a very good save from Sommerville after a tremendous run from Josh Payne had brought the foul.

The Bens did have another good chance to score before the break but Thomson pulled off a good double save with his feet to keep the score level.

Half time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Benburb 1

Larkhall got out of the blocks early in the second half and looked to regain their lead – shooting towards the gasworks end – and indeed they got the goal in the fifth minute when Matty Clarke lofted a header into the top corner from a Reid corner.

The tails were up now with the Jags pushing to build on the advantage with a third goal that would probably have killed the game. Graham Gracie, Reid and Clarke all had chances in a ten minute spell that the visitors didn’t have much answer to. Clarke was having a lot of joy down the left side and carved out two good chances, both of them saved well by the Bens keeper.

larkhall-thistle-v-benburb-2
Hugh Kelly had picked up a silly booking in the first half for attempting to handball it into the net and inevitably it came back to haunt him with 15 minutes left to play. A couple of minutes before that he had just managed to get away with a tackle in the middle of the park as he flew in but got a clean contact on the ball, this time though he mistimed it and the referee produced a second yellow card.

It was backs to the wall stuff for the rest of the game as Benburb applied the pressure to try and get level again but the team as a whole defended superbly and limited the visitors to only a couple of genuine chances.

Larkhall Thistle v Neilston 3

A good fighting performance by Thistle again to take all three points in what turned out to be a good end to end match that both teams made up for in effort what they might have lacked in terms of quality. The Jags now join Thorniewood, St Rochs, Cambuslang Rangers and Neilston in a 5-way tie for the lead at the top of the table, all on nine points from four games.

Full time: Larkhall Thistle 2 Benburb 1

Website Man of the Match: Another fine week for the youngsters with David Thomson producing a string of good saves and Ryan Innes solid in midfield and getting back towards his best, but again it was Josh Payne’s tireless running and sparks of genuine ability that set him apart from the rest on the park.

Larkhall Thistle:
D. Thomson; Mushett, Reynolds, Nicholl; Kelly, Payne, Canning, Innes, Reid; Clarke (Jack 78), Gracie. Subs: Stewart, McKeever, S.Thomson (GK), Burns, Doyle

Benburb:
Sommerville; Meechan, Wright, Greer, Collinge; Jackson, Blackwood, Boyle, Livinston, Wright, Jarvie. Subs: McNeil, Mailey, Gallagher, Lewis, McCallum

Scorers: Mushett, Clarke

Booked: Canning

Sent off: Kelly

Benburb v Thistle 3rd June 2015

Thistle’s last game of the 2014 – 2015 season was a crucial game for the Bens, only a win would save them from relegation to the Central Second Division. Thistle  were safe and had nothing really to play for other than pride.

As Benburb were still awaiting completion of their new ground this game was played at Lochburn Park the home of Maryhill Juniors.

See full report of Benburb v Thistle here

Larkhall Thistle v Benburb 13th September 2014

Larkhall Thistle 5 Benburb 0 - 13th September 2014
A fine day in Larkhall produced a fine display of football from Thistle as they hauled themselves away from the bottom of the league with their best performance for a long time.

See full match report of Thistle v Benburb here

Benburb v Larkhall Thistle 17th May 2014

Benburb v Larkhall Thistle 17-05-2014
Benburb decided to let the fans in for free today but the small travelling contingent from Larkhall would have gladly paid to see the kind of performance the Jags produced.

It could have been a drab end of season affair but Thistle had other ideas and got full revenge for their recent home hammering from the Bens.

See full match report of Benburb v Thistle here

Larkhall Thistle v Benburb 3rd May 2014

Larkhall Thistle v Benburb 3rd May 2014
May got off to a howler on a chilly day as a depleted Thistle team fell to a heavy defeat after taking the lead, the Jags have now lost out on the chance of promotion with three games left and will see out the season in a mid table position.

See full match report of  Thistle v Benburb

Match Preview – Thistle v Benburb

We go into the last five games of the season still withan outside chance of promotion, although there are a good few teams still in the shake-up for the two places. Greenock  are all but up, although St Anthony’s, ourselves, Shettleston, Lesmahagow and Benburb could all mathematically overtake them. In the night’s other fixtures, Lesmahagow should move closer with a win at East Kilbride while something has to give at Shettleston where they play host to St Anthony’s.

The Bens will be very difficult opposition given the fact that they beat us very convincingly in March, albeit we were reduced to nine men through a couple of very dubious refereeing decisions. (See match report here) Thistle have had problems with reduced squad numbers in the last few weeks with injuries, suspensions and holidays all taking their toll but it was good to see JP Grant back pulling the strings in the middle of the park on Saturday.

The winner of this game will stay in the running for the promotion places but for the loser it will probably be a bridge too far.

 

Match preview – Benburb v Larkhall Thistle

Larkhall Thistle travel to Govan today to take on Benburb in the league. The Jags are aiming to continue their recent run since the defeat at Carluke and extend their winning streak to three league games in a row for the first time this season.

A win or draw would see Thistle move up a place to third in the league if Lanark lose today at Bellshill, a Lanark draw would also do the Jags if we can win today.

Benburb themselves are probably sitting in a false position at fourth bottom as they have a lot of games in hand and could move up with a couple of wins. There is the problem though of having to cram a load of games in at the end of the season so it is a bit of an unknown quantity.

Good luck to Thistle today, here’s hoping for three points.