GLENAFTON ATHLETIC 3 Larkhall Thistle 3
Scorers: Boyd, Beattie, Newall
Craig Flannigan looks on as Stuart boyd (out of picture) slams the ball beyond the Larkie back four
The Glens squandered a 2 goal lead to a Larkhall side that would not accept defeat, although the the 3-3 final score-line means more perhaps to league leaders Pollok, than to either of these sides at Loch Park today.
Henry Smith made a surprise return to the Glens goal today as stand-in for the injured Gary Matthews. His first touch of the ball was in picking it out of the net a few minutes after kick-off, following some neat passing play by Larkhall. The game then quickly settled in to a pattern of end to end play with both teams creating chances. Larkhall were unlucky not to go further ahead after their diminutive forward rounded Smith, but then contrived to put the ball beyond the far post. The Glens then upped a gear and Kevin McBride, Stevie Agnew and Richie Newall enjoyed great success on the left side, moving the ball forward with neat triangular passing. From one of the several corners they were now winning the Glens conjured up the equaliser. Agnew darted to the corner of the penalty box to receive Craig Bingham's corner and quickly found Stuart Boyd who in turn struck a sweet shot through a busy box and into the net.
Dale Beattie stars again to make it 2-1 to the Glens!
Larkhall survived a strong penalty claim when their central defender clearly controlled the ball with his hand, deep in his own penalty box. They were also fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men, when one of their midfielders got off with a stern lecture from the referee following a two-footed lunge at Dale Beattie, despite having already been booked. These injustices were quickly forgotten when just before half-time, Beattie drove an unstoppable shot from 25 yards past the Larkie goalkeeper Craig Marshall, who was having an excellent game. Half-time Glenafton 2 Larkhall 1.
Richie Newall picks his spot and it's 3-1
Ten minutes into the second half and the Glens appeared to be on their way to victory. Joe Carruth and Craig Bingham were now dominating the right side of the park and it was from one such passage of play that the Glens won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty box. Up stepped Newall to strike the ball brilliantly beyond Marshall. 3-1 to the Glens. The Glens were now pushing forward at will but ultimately would pay the price for failing to add to their tally.
Larkhall peg it back to 3-2 from the spot.
Larkhall served noticed that they had not yet surrendered when on a rare breakaway the aforementioned wee forward found himself through on a one-on-one with veteran Smith, on this occasion Smith guessed right and saved well. A few minutes later he was less fortunate. The Glens defence struggled to clear the ball and with Larkhall forward in numbers, Rikki Robb held back the Larkie striker in the box, giving the referee little option other than to award a penalty. Henry guessed right again but the pace of the ball beat him easily and Larkhall were back in the game at 3-2 down. Within 2 minutes it was 3-3. Again the Glens failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to a Larkhall player lurking close to the touchline, who hit a speculative shot through the crowded box. Larkhall's joy was equalled only by the Glens disbelief, as the ball deceived Smith, and ended up in the back of the net.
With 15 minutes or so still remaining the Glens did regain their composure but this time upping a gear was beyond them. Stuart Boyd did come agonisingly close to clinching a winner but in the end a share of the spoils was all that was left.
Auchinleck 1 Arthurlie 0, Johnstone 0 Maryhill 2, Kilwinning 2 Cumnock 6, Pollok 2 Renfrew 1, Troon 0 Bellshill 0