Forth 2 East Kilbride 2
The Wanderers drew 2-2 with East Kilbride at Kingshill Park this afternoon. Tony Traynor gave Forth the lead on 16 minutes after good work from Chris Lennon, but the visitors scored two goals in just over a minute to give them the half time advantage. Thistle went down to 10 men early in the second half before Chris McGroarty equalised with a powerful shot to complete the scoring.
Forth lined up without injured trio Jordan Smith, Jamie Lindsay and Barry Canning but there were debuts for keeper Paul Smith and experienced striker Ian Harty while Chris Lennon returned from suspension.
Forth began brightly and Lennon tried his luck from distance after two minutes but his shot flew wide of the target. At the other end Liam Sloan connected with a corner from the right but he couldn’t get enough purchase on his header and the ball sailed harmlessly wide. The game was flowing from end to end at this stage although clearcut chances were at a premium.
That was to change on 16 minutes however when the Wanderers scored their first league goal of the season. Chris Lennon was the provider, running down the right, hitting the byline and cutting back into the path of Tony Traynor who fired home.
The Forth lead lasted a mere 10 minutes though, East Kilbride equalising from a David Atha penalty after Gary McMullen was penalised for a challenge in the box. This was the sixth penalty conceded by Forth in seven competitive games this season. Worse was to follow for the Wanderers a minute later when Craig Miles ran clear of the Wanderers defence, rounded keeper Smith and stroked the ball into the empty net to put the visitors ahead.
There was then a 5 minute delay due to treatment required by Thistle keeper Jack Wardlaw and the young keeper eventually had to leave the field on a stretcher, being replaced by Christopher Treacy.
We wish Jack a speedy recovery.
Kris Dick then saw his long range effort fly wide as Forth sought an equaliser but it was the visitors who came closest to another goal just prior to the half time whistle. A well worked free kick saw the ball finally fall to Colin Irvine but his shot narrowly missed the target, leaving the visitors 2-1 up at the break.
East Kilbride missed a great chance to increase their advantage at the start of the second half, when Alan McFadden ran clear of the Forth defence,but keeper Paul Smith raced from his goal and managed to deflect the ball away for a corner.
The Thistle cause was dealt a blow on 52 minutes when Greg Hannah was shown a straight red card for a crude challenge on Chris Lennon and Forth took full advantage of their numerical superiority to equalise five minutes later. Some neat interplay between Gilchrist,Lennon and Dick setup manager Chris McGroarty and his powerful shot gave Treacy no chance.
Lennon then came close to giving the Wanderers the lead after a surging run saw him break through the Thistle defence, but, with the goal at his mercy, he fired over the bar. Despite their ten men, East Kilbride were still very much in the game and Sloan came close after receiving the ball from a throw-in but he hooked the ball narrowly wide.
As the game wore on McGroarty saw another effort comfortably held by Treacy while only a fantastic save from Forth keeper Paul Smith, turning the ball away for a corner, prevented Mark Kinghorn from giving the visitors all three points after a fine run down the left.
Another disappointing result from a Forth perspective, although in hindsight a fair one, it’s cup business next week when Dufftown come calling in the 1st round of the Scottish Junior Cup.
Forth team : P.Smith,M.Harty,McLean,Grant,McMullen,K.Dick(Brown),Traynor,