Larkhall Thistle 3 Forth Wanderers 3 – 16th August 2017

Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Forth Wanderers
Central Sectional League Cup Section 1

 

Thistle once again failed to beat lower-league opposition at home and missed out on a money-spinning home quarter final tie with Pollok by one goal. Although the Jags went through the section unbeaten, Forth also managed the same set of results and their goal difference was one better so they qualify from the section for the first time.

 

Despite hitting the woodwork on three separate occasions, Thistle just couldn’t get the win that the 1-1 draw with Royal Albert had left them needing.

 

Thistle went into this decisive game where only a win would be good enough. Craig Forbes was missing due to work commitments and Mark Canning and Ryan Innes were still on holiday. The Jags starting line up surprised some of the home supporters with Graham Gracie and Div Reid starting on the bench.

 

The match had an explosive start with Forth opening the scoring inside two minutes when their No 9 scored with a header. Not to be outdone, shortly after the restart Thistle were back on level terms when Jonny McStay latched on to a pass from Billy Robb and lobbed the ball over the advancing Forth keeper into the net.

 

Forth at this stage though still looked the more likely to score and it was no surprise when their No 10 picked up the ball and from the edge of the penalty area netted in Stewart Thomson’s left hand corner. This goal stung the home team and Matty Clarke should have done better when put clear on the left hand side of the box but his effort on goal did not trouble the keeper. Thistle were struggling to compete in midfield with Forth controlling this area of the pitch.

 

Half time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Forth Wanderers 2

 

Thistle started the second half in determined fashion and equalised with a goal that had more than a hint of offside about it. Jonny McStay taking the ball to the bye-line and crossing for Matty Clarke to knock the ball home. The Forth keeper then had tremendous save from a Matty Clarke free-kick and also saved well from Scott Nicol. Thistle finally went ahead when Brian Jack played in Scott Nicol who controlled the ball well and shot past Cherrie in the Forth goal.

 

Shortly after taking the lead Jonny McStay who was limping was replaced by Graham Gracie and Scott Nicol was replaced by Div Reid. Before the changes had any time to take effect Forth equalised when Hugh Kelly lost the ball and the Forth No 11 latched on to the ball and outstripped Liam Mushett to score the equaliser.

 

Thistle went on the offensive to try and get the winner with the woodwork saving Forth on three occasions and Liam Mushett missing at the back post. Graham Gracie then was desperately unlucky when his netbound shot was scrambled clear by a Forth Defender but Stewart Thomson had to tip over a great effort from the Forth No 9 to keep the Jags on level terms. Thistle continued to push forward but the Forth defence stood firm until the final whistle.

 

Forth therefore qualify for a lucrative home quarter final against Pollok by virtue of a superior goal difference of just one goal. Bit of deja vu as this happened to the Jags at this stage last season. A bitterly disappointing end to a good run with the big Super League kick-off just three days away, hopefully the team will pick themselves up and start off the league campaign with a win at Darvel on Saturday.

 

Full time: Larkhall Thistle 3 Forth Wanderers 3

 

Larkhall Thistle: Stewart Thomson; Andy Brown, Niall Reynolds, Liam Mushett; Josh Payne, Billy Robb, Hugh Kelly, Brian Jack (Gary McStay), Scott Nicol (Div Reid), Jonny McStay (Graham Gracie), Matty Clarke.

 

Booked; Billy Robb, Hugh Kelly.

 

On a night when the majority of the team looked off the pace the Man of the Match award goes to Niall Reynolds who once again was his usual competent self.

 

Forth Wanderers 2 Larkhall Thistle 3 – 10th September 2016

Kingshill Park Forth,
Forth Wanderers v Larkhall Thistle
McBookie.com Central District First Division

Stewart Thomson (wedding) and Brian Jack (holiday) both  returned to the squad after missing the game against Neilston. However Paul Burns (wedding), Liam Mushett (work commitments) and Craig Rutherford (calf injury) were all missing. David Thomson retained his place in goal with Hugh Kelly starting in midfield. Thistle started brightly and Graham Gracie opened the scoring in 13 minutes after a fine move involving Ryan Innes and David Reid. As in previous games the Jags then proceeded to dominate the game but once again failed to take the chances they created with the home keeper having an outstanding game. Forth equalised 10 minutes before the interval despite the visitors having the majority of the play.

Half Time: Forth Wanderers 1 Larkhall Thistle 1

Worse was to follow at the start of the second half when Forth took the lead inside 50 seconds after a mix up in the Thistle defence. Credit to the Thistle they immediately took the game to Forth and equalised within two minutes through a well struck shot inside the penalty box by Ryan Innes. Thistle were now in control creating  chances which again they did not convert. However they took the lead with a well struck free kick from Reid giving the keeper no chance.

The game was now getting a bit tousy and the referee quite clearly was not in control of the game with players in both teams committing fouls which should have been punished. With  two minutes remaining the referee awarded Forth a penalty which to say the least was a mystery to most people in the ground Niall Reynolds tackling a Forth player in the box with both players ending up on the ground, the ball being cleared and play continuing. The referee then stopped the game, went back to the Thistle penalty box, booked Reynolds and awarded a penalty. Young David Thomson however had a magnificent save down to his right .

Three good points when we again missed numerous chances with credit to the players for fighting back from a 2-1 deficit.

On a day when everyone played their part the man of the match award goes to Graham Gracie for his outstanding work rate and involvement in the goals.

Full Time: Forth Wanderers 2 Larkhall Thistle 3

Larkhall Thistle:
D.Thomson  Reynolds, Brown, Nicholl; Payne, Kelly, Innes, Canning, Reid, Clarke, Gracie.

Subs. McKeever, Doyle, Jack, McStay, S. Thomson first game for a while when no substitutions were made.

Forth Wanderers 1 Larkhall Thistle 0 – 15th August 2016

This game was due to be played on Monday 22nd but was brought forward by a week. Unfortunately though the only ones who knew about the fixture change were the members of the Thistle committee so there is no report on the game.

The only information available is that Matty Clarke missed a penalty.

Full time: Forth Wanderers 1 Larkhall Thistle 0

Larkhall Thistle 7 Forth Wanderers 2

Thistle blew a poor Forth team away with a seven goal second half blitz to run out easy winners in a game where they were never really troubled. The only surprise was the visitors taking a lead into half time but it was just the jolt the Jags needed.

Match report Thistle 7 Forth 2

Video highlights of Thistle v Forth (including all goals!!)