Lesmahagow 2 Larkhall Thistle 3 – 5th August 2017

Craighead Park, Lesmahagow
Whitletts Victoria v Larkhall Thistle
Central Sectional League Cup Section 1

 

Thistle went into today’s game in good form and just behind Forth in the section table after Forth’s 5-2 win over Royal Albert. This was Lesmahagow’s first game of the competition. The two McStays were unavailable for the game and David Reid was on the bench with a niggling injury. Scott Nicholl was preferred to Niall Reynolds at left back while Liam Mushett started in front of Billy Robb.

 

 

Larkhall got off to a confident start, playing the ball around and keeping possession early in the game. The closest the Jags came to scoring early on though was from a shot by Josh Payne after cutting in from wide right but he sent his effort right across goal and past the other post.

 

Lesmahagow shooting up the hill in the first half offered very little in an attacking sense and all of the chances were created by Thistle, the home keeper performing miracles at times to keep his team in the game.

 

The game’s first major incident came after 20 minutes when Scott Nicholl got into a shoving match after a bad tackle on him, both players sensibly shown yellow by the referee. However two minutes later Nicholl let his temper get the better of him as he wrestled an opponent to the ground, via the unfortunate Thistle official Ross Dunn’s jaw on the way down.

 

Nicholl was shown a second yellow and Mark McKeever dropped to left back to cover.

 

The loss of a man however didn’t upset the Jags tempo in any way and they continued to dominate the game, creating chance after chance that the Gow defence did well to keep out. Thistle did take a deserved lead in 35 minutes when a long ball out of defence from McKeever found Craig Forbes on the left inside the box. Forbes cut inside and squared the ball to Graham Gracie who took his time and composed himself before slotting it into the bottom corner.

 

It took Thistle less than five minutes to double the advantage, Matty Clarke picked up the ball in the middle of the park and played it out wide to Payne on the right, the winger set Gracie away and he rolled it into the path of Ryan Innes who turned and fired a first time shot past the keeper.

 

 

As the Jags coasted towards a well-earned half time break the referee threw Gow a lifeline with a highly contentious penalty award for a clash of heads between a Gow forward and Andy Brown. The penalty was converted and the lead was cut to one goal at the break.

 

Half Time: Lesmahagow 1 Larkhall Thistle 2

 

The second half had just started when the referee gave his third match-changing decision to Lesmahagow by awarding them another soft penalty. Jags keeper Thomson had no chance with the spot kick and now Thistle were up against it for the first time in the game, hitting up the slope and with the momentum now firmly with the home side.

 

 

Thankfully however the Jags are a better team than Lesmahagow and the team spirit is second to none. Without the award of any further penalties the Gow didn’t really have much to offer and it always looked likely that if there was to be a winner it would be Thistle.

 

Gracie was put through on goal a couple of times, albeit with still a lot to do and on another day could have had three or four goals. One that new boy Forbes will want to forget could have put the Jags ahead in 70 minutes but after great work from subs Mark Canning and David Reid to set him up he managed to sclaff it out for a throw-in from inside the six yard box.

 

Big Craig will tell you these are always harder than they look.

 

Thistle got the breakthrough with eight minutes left although the goal did carry a shade of luck. Gracie picked up the ball just outside the box and laid it off to Innes on the right who mishit it into the path of Reid. Div took a touch then drilled a low shot that found the net off the post.

 

Full Time: Lesmahagow 2 Larkhall Thistle 3

 

Thistle’s winning run continues with a tremendous fighting performance by all involved, in particular Gracie, Forbes and Andy Brown. Mark McKeever though is the Man of the Match for stepping in and driving the team forward when they were down to ten men, the win was as much down to him as anybody else.

 

Larkhall Thistle:
Thomson; Brown, Mushett, Nicholl; Jack; Payne (Canning 65); Innes, Forbes, McKeever (Reynolds 56), Gracie, Clarke (Reid 56) Subs: Robb, Doyle

 

Booked: Forbes

 

Sent off: Nicholl

 

Larkhall Thistle 3 Lesmahagow 4 – 8th October 2016

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

Thistle went into the game with Craig Rutherford still injured, Mark Canning not recovered from his warm-up injury at Johnstone, Andy Brown getting married and Liam Mushett doubtful having picked up an injury in training. Mushett did make it into a starting line-up that was unchanged from last week’s win at Johnstone.

larkhall-thistle-v-lesmahagow-1

The Jags had the perfect opportunity to take the lead after 22 seconds when they were awarded a penalty for handball but Graham Gracie’s tame penalty was easily saved by the Lesmahagow keeper.

Gracie looked determined to atone for the miss and less than a minute later got the ball and played a great pass through the defence into Matty Clarke’s path, he took a stride and slotted into the corner for the opener.

Larkhall swiftly followed that up with a second minutes later when Brian Jack played in Gracie in a similar position on the left and he made no mistake this time, firing the ball low into the same spot as Clarke.

Sixteen minutes in and with the home side having literally all of the chances and the vast majority of the ball, they extended their lead further. David Reid had been tormenting the right back and putting in some excellent crosses but this time he rolled it back into the path of the oncoming Clarke who drilled the ball home.

larkhall-thistle-v-lesmahagow-2

At this point Thistle were rampant and in the rest of the half created chance after chance that could and should have seen  the game out of sight, their local rivals were shellshocked at the onslaught and it really did look a question of how many.

There was no indication at that point that Thistle were to go on and finish the game without any further scoring.

Matty Clarke had the perfect chance for a first half hat-trick when he was clean through one on one but his lob came back off the bar with the keeper helpless.

Half time: Larkhall Thistle 3 Lesmahagow 0

Manager Dunky Sinclair’s message at half time would undoubtedly have included keeping things tight in the early stages of the second half and not losing an early goal but three minutes into the second half Niall Reynolds was caught out by the swerve of a punt through and the ball landed at the feet of the Gow striker whose lob gave Thomson no chance.

Although Thistle were under the cosh after the goal as Lesmahagow dominated the early part of the half and pressed hard to get back into the game, they should surely have scored in the 65th minute when Reid, Clarke, Gracie and Payne all passed up chances to score in an incredible mellee with the keeper stranded outside his goal but enough defenders getting back to make lunging blocks.

The home players took heart from their endeavours and nearly scored minutes later when Payne set up Gracie but he blasted his shot over the bar.

larkhall-thistle-v-lesmahagow-3

Thistle seemed to be coping well with anything that Gow could throw at them but the visitors snatched an unlikely second with fifteen minutes left when the ball bobbled in the box and their striker nipped in to get a flick on it before Thomson could gather.

Thistle made their only substitution in 83 minutes when Gary McStay came on for Clarke and he was involved in their best chance in the closing stages when he picked out Ryan Innes on the edge of the box who slipped it right to Jack, he hit a good shot that looked to be heading for the to corner before the keeper produced a good save.

Larkhall were looking to see the game out and although Gow had a few attempts, few would have predicted how the final couple of minutes were about to unfold.

Lesmahagow won a corner a minute from the end that went straight across the face of the goal and got the slightest of touches to send it into the net then followed that up with a similarly scrappy goal from a fee kick a minute later that dropped to their unmarked striker who swivelled and crashed in the winning goal from six yards.

This was real game of the season stuff for any neutral watching with Thistle producing their best form of the season so far in a first half that should have seen them out of sight and a spirited comeback from Lesmahagow who demonstrated in the most emphatic way that it is only putting the ball in the net that really counts.

Website Man of The Match: The front line of Gracie, Clarke and Reid had a great first half but ultimately the misses cost Thistle the game whilst the defence failed to hold the lead once again so man of the match this week goes to Ryan Innes who battled hard all day and won ball after ball in the middle of the park.

Full time: Larkhall Thistle 3 Lesmahagow 4

Larkhall Thistle:
D. Thomson; Mushett, Reynolds, Nicholl; Kelly, Payne, Jack, Innes, Reid; Clarke (McStay 73), Gracie.

Scorers: Clarke (2), Gracie

Booked: Nicholl, Reynolds, Innes

 

Larkhall Thistle 2 Lesmahagow 1 – 13th August 2016

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

Booked: Brown

Larkhall Thistle:
D. Thomson; Brown, Reynolds, Nicholl; Burns, Canning, Jack, McKeever (Doyle 75), Payne, Clarke, Rutherford (McStay 45). Subs Stewart

Larkhall Thistle v Lesmahagow, Central District First Division

Thistle hosted neighbours Lesmahagow in this tough looking league match. As preparation for next week’s Scottish Cup second round tie, the derby promised to be as good a test as any the Jags could have had.

Read Hugh’s full match report here

Lesmahagow v Larkhall Thistle, Sectional League Cup

Lesmahagow v Larkhall Thistle

Thistle went in to what was shaping up to be a showdown for the Section 1 title and came out on top in what was a surprisingly one-sided contest. The result leaves the Jags waiting for Saturday’s fixtures to see if they are overhauled by either Lanark or Gow on goal difference.

Top of Section 1 19-08-2015
Top of Section 1 19-08-2015

 

See match report of Lesmahagow v Thistle

(No video of the game due to technical difficulties, sorry)

Larkhall Thistle v Lesmahagow, 27th December 2014

summary
This was the only fixture on the cards from the First Division today and that gave the chance of the winner moving up to second place in the league. An unlikely turn of events for Thistle after their poor start to the league and this game had it all as it swung one way then the other.

See full match report of Thistle v Lesmahagow here

Lesmahagow v Larkhall Thistle 4th October 2014

summary

Thistle travelled to Lesmahagow’s newly opened Craighead Park as bookies underdogs for this tie against the early pace-setters and fully lived up to their billing as Gow got revenge for their 3-0 defeat at Gasworks Park in the Sectional League Cup.

After the game, Lesmahagow go top of the league with 5 straight wins, while Thistle will be more concerned about staying in the division.

04-10-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

See full match report of Lesmahagow v Thistle here

Lesmahagow v Larkhall Thistle 23rd August 2014

Lesmahagow 0 Larkhall Thistle 2, 23-08-2014

With Lesmahagow’s ground being out of action due to last year’s flooding, Thistle were the visitors to their own park in this group decider. Home advantage probably played a part in the end as the Jags ran out decisive winners.

The quarter final will now be against Cumbernauld at Gasworks Park, this coming Wednesday 27th at 6:30pm

See full match report of Lesmahagow v Thistle here

Saturday 23rd August Lesmahagow at Gasworks Park

This is a winner takes all game as whoever eventually wins, whether it be on Saturday or in the event of a draw a play-off on Monday night, will then face Cumbernauld at home the following Wednesday night with a 6:30pm kick off.

Thistle have problems with Scott Nicholl, David Reid and Jordan Marshall on holiday and Ross McGeachie and Andy Brown injury doubts.