EAST KILBRIDE THISTLE FC
Wishaw Juniors 5 EK Thistle 1
SJFA Central District Division One
Saturday 26 August 2017
by Martin Sutherland
Thistle travelled to Wishaw with high expectations having comfortably won their previous 3 games but unfortunately the wheels came off the bogey as they crashed to a 5-1 defeat. Ex Thistle managers John
Brogan and Colin Mitchell, both now of Wishaw, got their tactics spot on inflicting a heavy defeat on Thistle who never got going at all in the game and failed to maintain the quality play they have shown recently.
The warning signs were there right from the start as Thistle lost possession from their own free kick with the ball returned to Vincent McGuire 25yrds out. With Thistle keeper gary Noble well off his line McGuire lobbed the ball up and over the keeper into the empty net for a 2nd minute lead. Shortly later Thistle almost levelled the score after good work from Kevin McLean on the left. He cut the ball across the facer of goal but Dougie Ryan could only knock the ball wide from close range. Wishaw were the next to come close as they pressed forward looking to increase their lead with michael Collinder working the ball down the left along with ex Thistle man Liam O’Kane but the final ball was headed away by Ross Gillan. With 8mins on the clock Wishaw were unlucky not to increase their lead as Daniel Kindlan saw a shot blocked and his rebound shot across goal squirmed beyond the far post. Thistle were struggling to find their way beyond the Wishaw defence as their opponents sat behind the ball hitting Thistle on the break and at pace. Thistle’s normal passing game failed them constantly as passes went astray leaving them to chase the ball attempting to get it back. However they were unlucky not to get back on level terms on 10mins after clever work on the left from
Callum McLean, Scott Hadden and David McKean. Hadden collected the final pass and his curled shot from the edge of the box beat the keeper but crashed off the bar and was cleared. Thistle continued to push forward but Wishaw closed them down so quickly they never really threatened Wishaw’s goal once they got anywhere near the penalty area with move after move breaking down as passes failed to find a man. Wishaw now began to dominate the game as they easily mopped up anything Thistle threw at them. Kindlan picked up a loose ball
and forged through the heart of Thistle releasing Smillie on the right but his shot flashed beyond the post. A minute later this time they attacked down the left as Smillie’s low cross was blocked with Gerard Watt heading the resultant corner wide of the post. With 22mins on the clock Thistle did breach Wishaw’s back line as Scott Gillespie hit the byeline but his fired ball across the face of goal was cleared at the back post. 5mins later Wishaw increased their lead from Ryan Smillie. Another attacking move down the left with Chris Martin and
Kindlan had the ball cut back across the face of goal where Smillie was on hand to sweep the ball beyond Noble for a 2-0 lead. Thistle were now really toiling as they could not find any way through a solid Wishaw defence and Wishaw always looked like scoring when they forged forward. For a 15min spell they spurned several chances as Kindlan headed wide from a corner, Smillie coming close with a clipped shot that was headed clear and Craig Crawford seeing a header from a corner cleared at the back post., this pressure was sure to pay off and so it happened on 44mins. Wishaw’s well worked ball from left to right had Martin’s final
cross headed home from close range by an unmarked McGuire to give Wishaw an apparently unassailable 3 goal half time lead. Just as the referee raised his whistle to blow for halftime Thistle ventured up the right wing and Hadden’s great ball in was headed home by Kevin McLean to give Thistle the chance to regroup for the second half as they reduced the deficit to 2 goals.
Unfortunately they failed to regroup sufficiently quickly enough nor had they learned their lessons from the first half as they found themselves 4-1 behind 2 mins after the restart. An O’Kane corner to the 6yrd box saw McGuire again unmarked and he easily powered a header beyond a helpless Noble leaving Thistle once again to chase the game. Dougie Ryan had a chance as he latched onto a long clearance but his snap shot was deflected wide while at the other end McGuire saw his header from a corner come back off the base of the post before being cleared. With 60mins on the clock another Wishaw chance went a begging as Thistle lost possession from their own throw with Smillie firing wide under close scrutiny from Gillan. With their three goal lead secure Wishaw were playing the football that Thistle had been playing in recent weeks, slick, quick decisive passing opening teams up and pressing up on their opponents leaving them little room to manoeuvre.
This very style of football resulted in Wishaw’s 5th goal as a poor defensive header was collected in the middle of the park. Quickly played up to McGuire he came in from the left and from the edge of the box curled a brilliant ball beyond Noble to complete his hat trick. 2mins later the woodwork came to Wishaw’s rescue as Kevin McLean lobbed the ball over keeper Sandy Thomson only to see the ball come off the bar with Jordan White firing over the bar from the rebound. Try as they might Thistle just couldn’t breach Wishaw’s defence as Gillan headed wide from a White cross and Scott McKean forcing a good save from Thomson as he fired the
ball across the face of goal while at the other end Paul McGeoch headed over from a McGuire cross and Smillie firing wide at the back post from a McGuire cross. The last of the action was in the Wishaw 6yrd box as a good through ball from McKean had Ryan firing into the side netting from a tight angle.
Unfortunately a poor day at the office for Thistle who failed to get their game going at any point with Wishaw showing clinical efficiency in front of goal. It was one of these days where everything that Wishaw touched turned to goald while everything that Thistle touched turned to ……. well lets not dwell on it and move on. Credit to Wishaw who moved the ball about very well and closed Thistle down very quickly. Although it looked as if they were sitting with 11 men behind the ball, when they won possession they broke forward quickly and always looked the more dangerous team with full backs becoming wingers and midfielders becoming strikers. Hopefully a lesson learned for Thistle who now look to redeem themselves next week at the Showpark with Greenock visiting with a 2pm ko.
Thomson, Coffey (Martin), O’Kane, Crawford, Watt, McGeoch, Kindlan(McIntyre), McCafferty, McGuire, Smillie, Collinder( Grant) Subs not used A Duffy, M Duffy
East Kilbride Thistle
Noble, Gray, C McLean, McIntosh, Gillan, D McKean (White), Morgan (Faulds), Hadden (S McKean), Ryan, K McLean, Gillespie
East Kilbride Thistle Football Club
Showpark, 17 Maxwell Drive,
East Kilbride, G74 4HG
Tel: 07954 309949 (Peter Kelsall)