Forth 4 St.Roch’s 2
Forth recorded their first league victory of the season emerging 4-2 winners after an enthralling encounter with St.Roch’s at Kingshill Park this afternoon. Despite falling behind twice, the Wanderers won the three points with a first Forth goal for Ian Harty and a hat-trick from the unlikely source of Jordan Smith.
It was the Wanderers who created the first chance of the match in the opening minute, Ian Harty breaking through but his chip sailed narrowly over the crossbar. In response, St.Roch’s, backed by a large and vociferous support, came close in the third minute when the impressive Martin Shiels latched onto a great ball into the box, only to see his shot turned around the post by Forth stopper Paul Smith. A minute later and Thomas McCluskey shot wide as the Roch began to assert themselves in a game which was already flowing from end to end.
Chris Lennon was then presented with an opportunity after Roch skipper James McKnight was short with a back header with 9 minutes on the clock, but the Wanderers man saw his lob fly over Ryan Dakhil’s bar. Forth came even closer on 13 minutes when a superb ball from Lennon out on the left was beautifully controlled by Andrew Gilchrist in the box, but his powerful shot rebounded off the post with Dakhil beaten and the rebound was just behind Barry Canning who headed over.
A let off for St.Roch’s and they took full advantage after 19 minutes, when a searing run from Martin Shiels down the left saw his cross turned into his own net by Forth skipper David Grant. Shiels was enjoying himself and a minute later went close with another run and shot which was deflected away for a corner.
Forth replied with a Canning free kick easily held by Dakhil before Gilchrist fired over from a good position. However, the pressure was mounting and it came as no surprise when the equaliser arrived on 32 minutes. Marc Howson released Gilchrist down the right wing and his cutback was coolly converted by Ian Harty for his first Wanderers goal. Gilchrist then fired a free kick wide before Dahkil misjudged a Forth free kick but fortunately for the Roch keeper, the waiting Jordan Smith couldn’t direct his header on goal and the chance passed.
Half time arrived after an entertaining first half in which both teams had their share of chances, with a draw being a fair reflection of the play.
It was the visitors who started the second half the stronger and after Smith had kept out McCluskey with his legs, Kris Dick was penalised for a trip in the box and McCluskey fired the ball down the middle and into the net from the spot. And St.Roch’s could have gone further ahead after 52 minutes when Chris McFadyen found himself with space in the box but, fortunately for Forth, he could only fire weakly at Smith.
However, after this bright start, St.Roch’s seemed to fall out of the game allowing Forth to take control and the Wanderers leveled the scores on 57 minutes through Jordan Smith. The Forth stopper had caused problems for the Roch defence from almost every set piece in the first half and they evidently hadn’t learned their lesson and were duly punished. Smith peeled away at the back post to meet a Lennon free kick and his header was deflected off Roch man Mark McDonnell and into the net.
Ten minutes later, and the Wanderers were ahead for the first time, and again it was that man Smith, stooping to head home a pinpoint Gilchrist corner. At the other end, Dominic Febers saw his shot deflected for a corner but the visitors were handed a lifeline when Chris Lennon was sent off for two quick bookings, the second of which he received as he was walking off the park to be substituted.
Strangely, the dismissal didn’t seem to upset the Wanderers rhythm and they continued to play some good passing football, with Ian Harty as lone striker holding the ball up well and bringing others into play. That being said, it was a slender lead and St.Roch’s were most definitely still in the game until the Wanderers fourth goal arrived with 86 minutes played. Once again, it was Jordan Smith the scorer, receiving the ball in the Roch box before drilling the ball into the corner for his hat-trick, giving Dahkil no chance.
A vital win for the Wanderers, who are on Cup business over the next two games, and hopefully one that can be a springboard to kick start the league campaign.
Forth team : P.Smith,Howson,McLean(McGroarty),Grant,J.Smith,Brown,Canning,K.Dick,