Forth 0 Wishaw 3
A disappointing performance from the Wanderers, missing 8 players for a variety of reasons, saw Wishaw emerge victorious by 3 goals to nil at Kingshill Park this afternoon.
Forth began brightly but Wishaw fought their way back into the game to lead 1-0 at half time through a spectacular strike from Keiran Downs. Second half goals from Jason Thomson and Clark Rafferty from the penalty spot sealed the victory. Both teams finished with ten men, Rafferty of Wishaw and Robbie Brown of Forth both receiving their marching orders in the second half.
Forth took the game to Wishaw from the start and after some good work down the left, the ball was met by Robbie Brown in the Wishaw box, but the Forth midfielder was penalised for high feet after his overhead kick. A minute later a fine ball to the back post was met by the head of Tony Traynor who could only direct his header wide thanks to the attentions of a visiting defender. 5 minutes in and Chris McGroarty flighted another tempting ball to the back post where Kris Dick was waiting, but it was cleared away for a corner before reaching him.
Wishaw had weathered the early Forth storm and created their first chance after 8 minutes when Kevin Grant cut in from the left and unleashed a shot which was deflected away for a corner. And from the resultant corner they took the lead from a move straight from the training ground. The corner was played out to the edge of the Forth box where the unmarked Kieran Downs was waiting and his sweet half volley gave Glenn Weir in the Forth goal no chance. An excellent strike which seemed to galvanise the visitors as they then began to take control of the game.
In fact, they should have made it two after 10 minutes when, following a Forth attack in which Gary McMullen appeared to be pushed in the box, they broke quickly up the field and Clark Rafferty fired over from a great position. Grant then headed over as Wishaw threatened again, before Michael Collinder was unlucky to see his shot rebound from the post and into the grateful arms of Weir.
Weir then saved from Grant before Rafferty volleyed just over as Wishaw turned the screw. Rafferty came even closer on 22 minutes when his well struck shot cannoned off the bar and was cleared for a corner. Grant then eluded the offside trap but failed to chip the advancing Weir. The Wanderers attacks were sporadic at this stage and they would’ve been relieved to reach half time only the one goal down.
Wishaw went further ahead after 53 minutes when Jason Thomson latched onto a through ball, advanced on goal and finished with aplomb. He did appear to be several yards offside however, but despite vociferous Forth protests, it was 2-0 to the visitors. Forth tried to attack when they could but the Wishaw defence comfortably dealt with any threat and goalkeeper Sandy Thomson was rarely troubled.
Wishaw continued to look dangerous on the attack and full back Chalmers fired just wide on 57 minutes before they increased their lead 7 minutes later from the penalty spot. Gary McMullen was penalised for a challenge in the area and Rafferty stepped up to send Weir the wrong way and make it 3-0.
Kris Dick had been the recipient of some tough tackling throughout the match and Rafferty was shown a straight red for a poor challenge on the Forth man after 76 minutes. Forth couldn’t make the extra man advantage count though and were reduced to 10 men themselves when Robbie Brown was dismissed with 12 minutes remaining.
Overall, a disappointing day for the Wanderers, perhaps mitigated somewhat by the depleted squad available. Having said that, Wishaw appear to have assembled a strong squad for the season ahead and were worthy winners on the day. With a solid back line and pace going forward, they may well exceed expectations in the Central 1st Division. We wish them well.
As for the Wanderers, next up is another tough tie away at a Carluke Rovers side no doubt smarting from their recent Clydesdale Cup defeat. Hopefully, manager Chris McGroarty will have more bodies available to him for this one.
Forth team : Weir,Corbett(Trialist),McQuade,McMullen,Grant,Brown,Canning,K.Dick,McGroarty,