EAST KILBRIDE THISTLE FC
East Kilbride Thistle 4 Shotts Bon Accord 1
SJFA Central District Division One
Saturday 19 August 2017
by Martin Sutherland
Thistle continued a fine run of form with an excellent win against strongly fancied Shotts Bon Accord. A brace from Dougie Ryan and strikes from Scott Haden and Kevin McLean were enough to give Thistle the three points in their opening league game in difficult conditions with high winds and driving rain causing both teams problems.
Shotts were the first to threaten inside the first minute as Scott McHaffie turned the ball into Daniel Burns and his curling low shot drifted beyond the far post. 2mins later Thistle almost took the lead from a Hadden corner. Perfectly met by the head of towering Ross Gillan his goal bound header was deflected off the line by the unfortunate Ryan and the ball drifted wide. Shotts struck back immediately as an Andrew Scott cross from the left was volleyed towards goal by Burns but was easily saved by Gary Noble. This was the last action that Burns would see as he was given his marching orders on 10mins after “vigorously” disputing a linesman’s decision. Thistle then took control of the game and started moving the ball about well on the heavy pitch and in a good move involving Hadden and Ryan the front man was brought down on the edge of the box. The resultant free kick from Hadden was smashed into the wall and cleared. Thistle however continued to pressure the Shotts back line and on 23mins another great move down the right earned them a corner. Hadden played the ball to the edge of the 18yrd box to Kevin McLean drawing the defence out, passing the ball back to Hadden whose driven cross was deflected for another corner. From this, the exact same move resulted in Thistle’s opening goal. This time the ball was again played to Mclean on the edge of the box and his shot was deflected off several of the Shotts defenders who were unable to clear the ball with Dougie Ryan pouncing on the ball and driving it home from close range for a deserved lead.The lead however didn’t last long as Shotts pulled themselves back into the game from the penalty spot on 30mins. A cross from right found the head of Andrew Scott and although he got a header on target the referee adjudged Gillan to have impeded him in the process. Alistair Martin stepped up and slotted home to even up the score. Thistle continued to move the ball about well and created several openings however were unable to really threaten ex Thistle keeper Johnny Murdoch with ally Morgan heading wide from a Scott Gillespie cross and Ryan heading over from a Matt Gray free kick. The final action of the half had Murdoch saving well from a Kevin McLean header.
Shotts made a change at half time bringing on Dean Sutherland for Dominic O’Halloran however he never had the chance to settle into the game as Thistle took the lead again on 47mins.Thistle worked the ball cleverly down the left with Callum McLean and Hadden easily beating the Shotts back line and a well placed cross to the back post found Kevin McLean on hand and unmarked to head easily into the net to give Thistle a deserved lead again. Shotts were struggling somewhat against Thistle who were well on top of their game leaving little option for Shotts to play long high balls upto the front men. They were getting little change from the Thistle defence and although sub Sutherland was winning aerial challenges they weren’t able to build any worthwhile attempts at goal leaving Noble in Thistle’s goal a very wet and lonely bystander for most of the 2nd half. Just before the hour mark Thistle went further ahead with another clinical finish from Hadden. A great through ball from Ryan had Hadden copying his goal exploits against Rutherglen last week. He dummied the keeper, rounded him and strolled the ball inside the 6yrd box before “nutmegging” the last defender on the line giving Thistle a two goal cushion. A minute later and another chance for Thistle as Morgan rampaged down the right but his hanging cross to the back post had no Thistle striker taking the gamble and the ball drifted wide. Shotts did manage an attempt at goal on 61mins as Chris Cummins headed on a Max McKee cross but Noble was on hand to easily save the header. After that Gary Noble was able to hang up his gloves as Shotts posed no further threat to Thistle as they dominated the rest of the game. On 67mins Gillespie found space and had the pace to get beyond Ryan Sullivan and his dangerous cross was cut out by Murdoch with Ryan bearing down on him. 5mins Thistle sub Martyn McLaughlin clipped the ball expertly through to a fast paced Ryan but his fine shot brought out an equally fine save as Thistle piled on the pressure. With 9mins left Thistle killed the game with another goal from Ryan. This time he collected the ball 20yrds out after good move through the heart of Shotts midfield and lashed the ball well beyond a despairing Murdoch to give Thistle an unassailable lead. Even with this lead Thistle continued to press forward in the closing stages and with Liam Barclay heading wide and McLaughlin feeding Kevin McLean on the left with the youngster having a go at goal that narrowly missed the target.
A fantastic win for Thistle in this league opener. They were by far the better and cleverer side and were well deserved of this win. They always look dangerous up front and in 5 competitive games so far this season have scored an impressive 15 goals so if they can keep things tight at the back then they will pose a threat to most teams. Thistle can now look to next weeks game away to Wishaw where they take on a team now managed by ex Thistle managers John Brogan and Colin Mitchell with a 2pm ko.
East Kilbride Thistle
Noble, Gray, C McLean, McIntosh (Faulds), McKean, Morgan (McLaughlin), Hadden, Ryan, K McLean, Gillespie (Barclay). Subs not used Bain, Marshall
Shotts Bon Accord
Murdoch, Sullivan, McKee, Crone, Kennedy, McHaffie, Scott (McPherson), Martin, Burns, Aitken (Cummins), O’Halloran (Sutherland) Subs not used Lindsay
East Kilbride Thistle Football Club
Showpark, 17 Maxwell Drive,
East Kilbride, G74 4HG
Tel: 07954 309949 (Peter Kelsall)