Valefield Park, Kilbirnie
Larkhall Thistle v Rutherglen Glencairn
Kilbirnie Ladeside tournament 2017
Glencairn kicked off this tournament in the first game yesterday with a 2-1 win against a young Stranraer side before Thistle beat the hosts Kilbirnie in the second game to set up today’s final.
Thistle started the game looking full of confidence after their big win yesterday and almost took the lead in second minute when Graham Gracie and Jonny McStay combined to set up Mask McKeever for a shot that the keeper did well to save.
After a period of early Larkhall domination, Glencairn slowly came into the game and were unlucky not to score when they hit the post after a good move.
Thistle got the lead that their play had deserved when Garry McStay did well to win a high ball and get it under control before it broke to Johnny McStay who hit it low into the net off the keeper.
The Jags thought they had made it 2-0 three minutes later with Johnny McStay involved again, this time linking up with Brian Jack before finishing well but he was adjudged to be offside
Glencairn looked certain to equalise on the half hour mark but Jags keeper Thomson pulled off a great save from the close range bullet header to keep Larkhall ahead at the interval.
Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Rutherglen Glencairn 0
Thistle manager Dunky Sinclair made the first of five second half substitutions when he brought on Scott Nicholl for Niall Reynolds. Glencairn found an equaliser eight minutes into the half when a cross from the left wing drifted high over Thomson and looped down into the net, the Rutherglen man will of course claim he meant it as a shot!
Further Jags changes came in the way of Ryan Innes for Mark Canning, Liam Mushett replacing Andy Brown then new right back trialist Billy Robb replacing Declan Doyle. The changes, along with the effort the team had put in the day before, made it hard for them to get any real rythm going and the second half was a bit scrappy.
Thistle got the winner though fifteen minutes from time and it was half defensive howler but half great pressing and opportunism from Jonny McStay. He latched on to a sloppy pass out from the keeper to intercept it and slot the ball home leaving the Glens fans up in arms at the error.
The Jags closed out the game and there was no further scoring despite a couple of half decent chances for both sides.
Jonny McStay was deservedly awarded the Player of the Tournament and few if any who watched the games would disagree with the decision.
Full Time: Larkhall Thistle 2 Rutherglen Glencairn 1
A great weekend’s work for Thistle with the added bonus of a trophy on the board, the team looks like it’s taking shape very nicely with fitness levels already at a very good level. The main problem as it stands for the manger is how to fit all of the players into the team, there looks like some real selection headaches coming up for Dunky.
Thomson; Reynolds (Nicholl 45), Brown (Mushett 60), Doyle (Robb 65); Canning (Innes 53); McKeever (Thomson 80), G.McStay, Jack, Reid; J McStay, Gracie.