East Kilbride 4-1 Cambuslang Rangers
Abercorn 1st Division
Wednesday 28thth May
Report by Craig Anderson of www.ekthistlefc.co.uk
EAST Kilbride Thistle finally found their winning touch at
Showpark on Wednesday night and managed to shunt the Cambuslang Rangers train
off the title tracks in the process.
And while Lang still have games to realise their aspirations of returning to the Super League process, they would have been hugely disappointed at not taking anything from their local rivals. For Thistle though, it was a good three points to get in a season that has gone badly wrong in the last couple of months and the goals, courtesy of Martin Fellowes, Stephen Brogan, Martin McVey and a superb James Bruce free kick, would have pleased John Brogan.
Proceedings could have started a little earlier when a short Stephen Brogan found Colin Mitchell on the right of the Lang area. His cross-cum-shot though caused Lang keeper Craig Rowan some concern and he had to tip it over the bar. It was another Brogan corner that led to the first goal for Thistle on 12 minutes when his lofted ball in found the Lang defenders all at sea, allowing McVey to slot it left to Fellowes, who smashed home from close range.
Following a dangerous effort from Alan McCrae that skidded wide of the Thistle post, it was the home side; that doubled their advantage. Chris Sweeney, playing an unfamiliar right back role, hurled a long throw into the Lang box where Tom Maider got the slightest flick to play it on for Brogan, who nodded home at the back post.
One of the pet hates that John Brogan has had to contend with this season has been shambolic decision making by referees and once again John was furious when a long innocuous pass from Stephen Watson was retrieved by former Thistle captain Martin Feenie, who suddenly had Martin McVey snapping at his heels. With nowhere else to go, Feenie played it back to his goalkeeper Rowan, who picked the ball up with his hands. Furious shouts erupted around Showpark for a backpass that somehow went unheeded by referee Derek Nicholls, who later claimed he didn’t see it.
Nicholls again faced the wrath of a vociferous EK support on 34 minutes when Craig Bryson picked up the ball just outside the area and was the subject of a blatant two-footed tackle by Feenie, but again he shook his head in disagreement and no punishment was awarded. That was soon forgotten about as Thistle got more daylight on their rivals with a third goal on 35 minutes when the old wise head of Colin Mitchell lofted a high pass over the heads of the Lang defence, where McVey latched on to it and slotted it past Rowan, the keeper he scored against in the 2002 Sectional League Cup Final.
The enigmatic McVey could have bagged a second minutes before the break when he glanced a header wide after meeting a good cross from Chris Sweeney. Thistle went in at the break three goals up and looked very comfortable, with Danny Moy failing to be troubled in the entire first half but you couldn’t help thinking Cambuslang would come out all guns blazing in the second 45 minutes. They were proved right when Craig Ferguson’s flighted cross from the right was missed by Alan Paterson but met by McCrae, whose on-target header was scooped away by Moy.
The Somervell Park side had a lifeline on the 50th minute when Alan Paterson’s cutback was handled by Jags skipper Ian Penman, somewhat unlucky as he was falling to the ground. Referee Nicholls awarded a spot kick and it was McCrae who converted by sending Moy the wrong way. Lang had now gathered a little momentum and another former Thistle man Jimmy Coulter could have pulled another goal back on 58 minutes when Paterson’s corner found the midfielder unmarked on the edge of the area and he thumped it first time, forcing Moy to plunge low to stop it.
More Cambuslang pressure followed and a scramble in the Thistle box saw more handball claims from the Lang bench after the ball appeared to strike Bryson’s arm and Moy spilled Galloway’s shot, but the Thistle defence were resolute. Thistle themselves created a few chances despite the urgency of Lang and Dougie Brownlie, on as a sub for McVey, was unlucky as he twisted and turned inside Paul Burns before getting a shot off but it failed to trouble Rowan.
It was another Brownlie v Burns clash that earned Thistle a free kick on the edge of the Lang area on 78 minutes. From the dugout, boss Brogan roared for James Bruce to take it and his call was spot on as Ryan Kelly’s step over allowed Bruce to blast a thunderbolt that smashed the post before burrowing into the net and give Thistle a healthy 4-1 lead. With the match slipping away from the promotion challengers, tempers were frayed as Lang scorer McCrae took exception to a challenge from Penman, to which he retaliated by shoving the Thistle captain. A small melee followed and once things had calmed down, James Bruce and McCrae received yellow cards.
East Kilbride Thistle – Moy, Sweeney, Penman (Taylor 86),
Mitchell, Maider, Watson, Bryson, Brogan, Fellowes (Bruce 71), Kelly, McVey
SUBS NOT USED – Graham, Lees
Cambuslang Rangers – Rowan, Ferguson, Burns, Feenie, Martin (Galloway 54), Coulter, Paterson, Doak, Holmes, McCrae, McCarroll
SUBS NOT USED – Archer, Stoddart, Love, Carmichael