East Kilbride 4 Forth 4
East Kilbride Thistle picked up their first point of the season at the 11th time of asking as a spirited performance from the hosts saw them share eight goals with a somewhat lacklustre Forth. Thistle had led on three separate occasions but it took a fortuitous goal in the dying embers of the game to finally rescue a point.
There had seemed little danger when Colin Irvine fired in a speculative effort from way out on the right touchline but the ball somehow deceived Forth goalkeeper JC Hutchison and nestled in the back of the net, sparking wild celebrations amongst the home bench and supporters. Hutchison held up his hands to the error after the match but he had earlier pulled off two excellent saves at 2-1 to keep the Wanderers in the game and is generally one of the most consistent keepers in the league, his performances winning the Wanderers numerous points over the past couple of seasons.
Thistle had began the game brightly and were ahead with only three minutes on the clock when Fraser Craig rose unchallenged to head home a corner from the right. Their lead was short lived however as Tony Traynor acrobatically fired home the leveller on 9 minutes after the ball broke to him following a Wanderers corner. Undaunted by this setback, Thistle were looking dangerous every time they attacked and Bryan Felvus did well to block a goalbound shot on the line after 14 minutes and only an offside decision prevented them from regaining the advantage a minute later. Forth were having difficulty defending Thistle corners and it was no surprise when John Murray fired the hosts back into the lead following another corner on 24 minutes. Hutchison then did well to deny Billy Young before making another fine stop on the half hour mark as Thistle sought to increase their advantage. In response a Stephen McQuade shot which was headed for a corner was the nearest Forth came to equalising in a half in which East Kilbride were the dominant side.
Forth made a a tactical switch at the break replacing full back Marc Howson with forward Chris Lennon and were level within two minutes of the restart. Bryan Felvus headed across goal and as Chris McGroarty gathered the ball he was fouled by Scott McKellar and a penalty awarded. Yamikani Misanjo stepped up and made no mistake from the spot despite the best efforts of home keeper Greg Aitken. Those who thought Forth would now go on and comfortably win the game didn’t reckon on a new found resilience within Alan Wardlaw’s side and they once again edged in front on 55 minutes when Billy Young converted a cross from the left.
Chris Lennon then came close for Forth, firing a free kick narrowly wide on the hour mark before Jamie Lindsay replaced Bryan Felvus for the Wanderers and the recent acquisition didn’t take long to make an impact heading home a tremendous cross from McGroarty on 75 minutes to tie the scores at three goals apiece. A minute later and the Wanderers supporters were celebrating again as Forth took the lead for the first time in the match when John Watson drilled home an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box after the ball had broken out to him. And that looked to be that until Irvine’s late equaliser.
A draw probably was a fair result in the end, Thistle having the better of the first half and Forth dominating the second and it would have been cruel on the hosts not to have taken something from a game they put so much into.
The Wanderers now have two vital games ahead, against fellow promotion challengers Vale of Clyde and Wishaw, after which we should have a better idea of our promotion chances.
‘Mon the Forth
Forth team : Hutchison,Howson(Lennon),McQuade(Corbett),Canning,Watson,Brown,Gilchrist,McGroarty,