Forth 4 East Kilbride 1
Three goals in the last 10 minutes gave the Wanderers a vital victory by four goals to one against East Kilbride this afternoon. Tony Traynor put Forth ahead early on but Fraser Craig equalised for the visitors minutes later. Craig was then sent off on 64 minutes for kicking out at Chris Lennon but it took Forth until the 80th minute to regain the lead through Jordan Smith. A Jamie Lindsay penalty and one from Chris Lennon wrapped things up.
The Wanderers made two changes to the side which faced Newmains, Dean McLean and Jamie Lindsay replacing the unavailable Stephen McQuade and Barry Canning. The kick off was delayed for 5 minutes when the referee insisted the East Kilbride keeper change his socks as they were the same colour as the Wanderers ones, and once underway it was the visitors who threatened after 4 minutes but Fraser Craig shot high and wide.
At the other end, Chris Lennon attempted a backheel from an Andrew Gilchrist corner but his effort was blocked by an East Kilbride defender. Forth then forced a couple of corners as they searched for an opening but there were no takers on either occasion. Alan McFadden was prominent for East Kilbride in the early exchanges and Forth keeper JC Hutchison had to punch clear a dangerous cross from him, before Jordan Smith produced a timely block to deflect his on target shot for a corner after 10 minutes. Craig got his head to the resultant corner and directed it across goal but Robbie Brown was on hand to hook the goal bound effort clear.
The stalemate was broken 3 minutes later and it was the Wanderers who took the lead. John Watson was fouled around 22 yards out and when visiting keeper Jack Wardlaw couldn’t hold the initial free kick from Jamie Lindsay, Tony Traynor pounced to net the rebound from around 5 yards. Traynor almost doubled the Forth lead after 15 minutes when a knockdown from Jordan Smith fell to him but his shot on the turn was headed over the bar by an East Kilbride defender.
Forth were enjoying a decent spell of pressure at this point but after Wardlaw had easily held a Smith header, it was East Kilbride who raced up the park to equalise. The Forth defence didn’t deal with a long ball and Fraser Craig was able to rob David Grant before calmly slotting under Hutchison and into the net on 17 minutes. The game pulsed from end to end although clear chances were at a premium, the best one fell to Jordan Smith after 26 minutes when keeper Wardlaw did well to save with his legs, at the expense of a corner. A fairly even half thus ended with the teams level at a goal apiece.
The second half continued the pattern of the first with East Kilbride matching the Wanderers in every department and after 10 minutes Forth brought on the experienced duo of Chris McGroarty and Bryan Felvus to try and turn the game in their favour. The former almost had an immediate impact when his dangerous inswinging corner had to be clawed away by Wardlaw in the visiting goal after 58 minutes.
However, perhaps the pivotal moment in the second half came after 64 minutes when Craig of East Kilbride was sent off for a senseless off the ball kick at Chris Lennon. Forth tried to take immediate advantage of their numerical superiority and a surging Lennon run down the right wasn’t matched by final cross which sailed harmlessly over the bar. Lennon came closer after 69 minutes when his drilled free kick looked to be heading into the bottom corner before a slight deflection directed it past the post for a corner.
East Kilbride were not content to sit back and play for the draw however and on a couple of occasions the Forth defence were called into action to defend swift counter attacks,and although most of the play was now in the visitors half the Show Park men looked comfortable enough at this juncture. Wardlaw was again called into action after 75 minutes to block a goal bound David Grant header and it was beginning to look as if it wasn’t to be the Wanderers day as the clock ticked down.
Jordan Smith, who had popped up all over the park throughout the game, had other ideas though as he fired the Wanderers back in front after 80 minutes. Smith ghosted in at the back post to meet a Gilchrist free kick and rolled the ball home from a tight angle to the delight of the home support. Two minutes later and the points were in the bag. A Wardlaw clearance cannoned off a visiting defender and back towards the goal where Jamie Lindsay reached the ball just in front of the keeper, who had little option but to bring him down and concede a penalty. Lindsay himself converted the penalty with the minimum of fuss to make it 3-1.
Chris Lennon then went close with an audacious chip with 5 minutes remaining before the same player completed the scoring on 90 minutes. Lennon looked to be offside when he received the ball from Gilchrist but he played the whistle, rounded the keeper and stroked the ball home to make it 4-1.
The final result wasn’t a true reflection on how the game played out and was undoubtedly harsh on a competitive East Kilbride side, but it’s another three points toward our promotion quest. The ability to dig out results like this, when not playing particularly well, may prove crucial come the end of the season.
Next up, yet another tough encounter away at the new Community Stadium in Port Glasgow, another team who have improved as the season has progressed.
‘Mon the Forth.
Forth team : Hutchison,Howson,McLean,Smith,Grant,Watson,Traynor(Felvus),Gilchrist,