East Kilbride 1 Greenock Juniors 2

SJFA Central District Division One

Saturday 2 September 2017

by Martin Sutherland

Photo: Karen M. Scott


It was the Late Late Show at the Showpark as Thistle fell to goals a minute either side of 90mins on the clock. A fantastic free kick from Scott McKean early in the 2nd half wasn’t enough to guarantee the points as Thistle snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.


Thistle made a couple of changes from last week with striker Scott Hadden on holiday and Ross Gillan and Ally Morgan on the bench with Chris Faulds, Martyn McLaughlin and Scott McKean making the starting 11. From the start both teams set their stalls out with Thistle trying to play a passing game while Greenock opred for route one. Neither style however showed enough guile to penetrate and threaten either goal.


Greenock threatened on 7min as a long ball was collected by Craig Brown but his shot was easily saved by Gary Noble. 2 mins later thistle threatened after good work from Chris Faulds. His cross field ball found Scott Gillespie and his great cross to the back post saw a Martyn McLaughlin volley deflected for a corner. From that corner McKean snatched his shot just wide of the post. As the game progressed neither team could take control and the game flowed from box to box but with both defences holding firm there was little goalmouth action. Thistle continued to play the ball down the flanks but the final ball in rarely resulted in anything of note. Greenock continued with the long ball and the closest they came was on 20mins as Stuart Morton headed wide from an Alan McCabe cross.


Thistle almost unlocked the Greenock defence after an unusual long ball from defence found McKean beating the offside trap but just as he got inside the box keeper Ian Nixon was quick off his line to smother the ball at McKean’s feet. Neither team created any other real chances in this lackluster half and hopefully the 2nd half would get better.


The 2nd half started brightly for Thistle as they carved out a couple of decent chances in the opening minutes. Keeper Noble fed the ball out to Gillespie and his great run down the right had Greenock’s keeper Nixon take the cross at full stretch under pressure from Dougie Ryan. A minute later good interlink play involving Scott McKean and Joe McIntosh had a Kevin McLean goalbound shot blocked just inside the post.


At this point it looked as if either luck or a little piece of magic would be needed to score and on 49mins Thistle found that little piece of magic. A free kick 20yrds out had McKean curl the ball round the wall and into the net with Nixon rooted to the spot waving at the ball on the way past.


Thistle now began to take control of the game and on 54mins McLaughlin just failed to connect with a great Gillespie cross and 3mins later another chance went amiss as Mclaughlin flashed a shot across goal and narrowly wide of the far post. A minute later this time Gillespie came close after good work down the right and as he came back inside the box another flashing shot just wide of the far post. Greenock weren’t really posing much of a threat to Thistle at this stage and the closest they got was a Glenn Thomson free kick that was blasted high and wide of the target. No matter what Greenock tried Thistle’s back line held firm and held onto the lead …..until the last minute.


While Thistle had found that little bit of magic earlier, Greenock found the little bit of luck as they got back on level terms. For the first time in the game the Thistle defence hesitated in trying to clear a long ball and Thomson fired a shot that keeper Noble palmed away. With Kevin McLean clearing off the line only as far as Greenock sub Steven Rush who coolly fired the ball into the net. Shell shocked Thistle then went into injury time looking to get back in front only to find themselves unbelievably behind a minute later. Another error, this time in the middle of the park, handed possession to Greenock and they gleefully latched onto the chance with Rush feeding the ball through to Stuart Morton who from the edge of the box curled the ball beyond Noble. For 89mins Thistle were on top only to hand Greenock the three points in the space of two minutes.


A disappointing result for Thistle who threw the win away in the last few minutes of the game. A poor first half lit up early on the second half that Thistle went on to dominate but just couldn’t get that all important 2nd goal and they payed the price for that. Thistle move on with another home game on saturday as Neilston are visitors at the Showpark 2pm kick off.


East Kilbride Thistle

Noble, Bain (Marshall), C McLean, Faulds, Gray, McIntosh, Gillespie, K McLean. Ryan, McLaughlin (Morgan), S McKean (White).

Subs not used Gillan, McClung


Greenock Juniors

Nixon, Littler, Doherty, McEwan, McVittie (McWilliams), Gozdz, Eardly (Rush), Thomson, Morton, Brown (McKay), McCabe.

Subs not used McLennan, Donnelly

East Kilbride Thistle Football Club

Showpark, 17 Maxwell Drive,

East Kilbride, G74 4HG

Tel: 07954 309949 (Peter Kelsall)

email: peterkelsall1952@live.co.uk

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