- McBookie Premier Division
- Match 14
- Barrfields Park, Largs
- Saturday 1st April 2017
- LARGS THISTLE 4 (2)
- Kevin Struthers, James Marks (2), Matty Bennett
- GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 1 (0)
- Joe Andrew
Premier Division leaders Glenafton suffered only their second league defeat of the season at the hands of Largs Thistle fighting for their own Premier Division survival after the home side romped to a 4-1 win against their guests who played 80 minutes with 10 men. The Glens slip to second place and are now two points behind leaders Auchinleck Talbot the New Cumnock side still having a game in hand.
Glens enjoyed some early pressure with John Carter and Joe Andrew seeing a lot of the ball in and about the ball box with a shot from the latter which was comfortably saved by keeper Sean Graham the only real chance created in that spell. At the other end a low angled shot from James Marks was saved well by the feet of keeper Brian McGarrity and the resulting corner mopped up by the Glens defence.
On 11 minutes the visitors were reduced to 10 men after Alan Cairns challenge for a 50-50 ball brought a flag from the assistant referee and soon after a red card from the referee, quickly followed by Glens manager Craig McEwan being sent from the dug-out for his protest.
The visitors were clearly rattled and struggled to get to grips with Thistle as the made the most of the man advantage. The heavens opened for a spell and from a Glens perspective it was a case of “it never rains but it pours”. On 24 minutes, they were caught by a defence splitting pass from Iain Fisher that left Kevin Struthers through on goal and as Kyle McAusland blocked his path to goal he cutely curled the shot round the defender and into the corner of the net beyond the reach of McGarrity at full stretch.
The visitors rallied briefly and on the half-hour mark keeper Graham was forced to rush out his box to head clear a through ball as Andrew threatened and he could only look on as Carter’s attempt to find he vacant goal from 35 yards out sailed off target. Graham then dealt comfortably with a Ryan Borris shot from outside the box.
Largs however looked the livelier in all areas of the pitch with the contribution of attacking full-back Fisher catching the eye. On 34 minutes the hosts doubled the lead after James Marks slipped the ball to the overlapping Struthers tight on the right flank who quickly whipped the ball to the near post to for Marks to rise unchallenged and head home to complete an exquisite one-two.
It was almost a case of ‘from saint to sinner’ for the Largs hit man ten minutes after his high boot caught keeper Brian McGarrity in the face, however the referees judged a yellow card sufficed leaving the visitors further aggrieved. Minutes later Marks nearly rubbed salt in that wound after a Struthers pass set him free in the box however with team-mate Matty Bennett in acres of space waiting for the tap in the striker opted for a shot at goal that was well held by McGarrity.
H/T Largs 2 Glens 0
Glenafton brought on striker Chris Dallas for midfielder Ryan Borris as the league leaders tried to salvage something from a game that was passing the 10 men by. Within two minutes of the restart they came within a whisker of halving the deficit after David Gray’s shot from outside the box cannoned off a defender and fell for Joe Andrew to take up a touch and line up a shot from six yards only for the alert Fisher to block his effort.
Two minutes later Fisher turned provider launching a long ball from the half-way line into the box and while the Glens defence waited for the offside flag Matty Bennet continued his run, collected the ball and then lobbed it high over the head of the advancing McGarrity and into the gaping net. The 10 men now 3-0 down with 48 minutes gone!
The visitors then enjoyed their best spell of the match and pulled one back on 56 minutes after Ally Park and Dallas combined well in the middle of the park before setting McAusland free down the right flank to whip the ball into box for Joe Andrew to guide it home from six yards out amid claims for offside from the Largs defence.
Glens made a couple of changes and brought on Darren McGill for David Gray and then Dan Orsi for John Carter while the visitors replaced Bennet with Robert Love. The visitors continued to press and a back-post header from Dallas was well saved by Graham but few further clear cut chances were created before the visitors added to their tally.
Thistle’s fourth goal came on 79 minutes just after the ball had found net only for the flag to go up to award the hosts a corner kick which was dispatched to the back post where the unmarked Marks bulleted home a header.
With 5 minutes to the Glens had a chance of a late consolation after Orsi forced his way into the right-hand side of the box before his ball across the goal took out three defenders & goalkeeper and although the incoming Dallas got an outstretched leg to the ball he couldn’t guide it into the net.
F/T Largs 4 Glens 1
GLENAFTON ATHLETIC: 1.Brian McGarrity 2. Kyle McAusland 3. Alan Cairns 4. Craig Menzies 5. Ryan McChesney 6. David Gray (14. David Gray 7. Ryan Borris (12. Chris Dallas)8. Ally Park 9. Joe Andrew 10. John Carter (15. Dan Orsi) 11. Cameron Marlow
LARGS THISTLE: 1. Sean Graham 2. Iain Fisher 3. Lauri McMaster 4. Eddie Walton 5. Vicky Jamieson 6. Jamie McDonald 7. John Tennent 8. Gary Fleming 9. James Marks 10. Kevin Struthers 11. Matty Bennett Subs. 12. Matthew Ashe 14. Kris Littler 15. Glen Thomson 16. Robert Love 21 Ross Lundy
More photos here
One bright note of the day was meeting up with former Glenafton goalkeeper Gary Matthews now on the coaching staff at Largs Thistle.