Forth Wanderers 2 East Kilbride Thistle 1
Forth Wanderers achieved promotion to the Central 1st Division on Saturday with a last gasp 2-1 victory against East Kilbride Thistle at Kingshill Park. With just over 90 minutes on the clock Jason Corbett rose to meet a Wullie McLaren free kick to bullet home a header and spark wild celebrations amongst the Wanderers largest crowd of the season.
It was the visitors who began brightly however and they came close to taking the lead after 6 minutes, when Liam Sloan met a corner only to see his header rebound from the bar to safety. Sloan was involved again a minute later this time heading the ball against his own post after a mix-up with Thistle keeper Chris Treacy. East Kilbride continued on the front foot and a Christopher Prete shot was comfortably held by David Cherrie in the Forth goal after 15 minutes.
Gradually Forth began to assert themselves on the game and a McLaren shot beat Treacy only for Conor Johnstone to clear from the line. The Wanderers came close again on 21 minutes when a McLaren corner was met by John Rennie at the back post but Treacy did well to block his shot and the follow up from Lachlan Tait. Another McLaren corner a minute later was played to Dick on the edge of the box and his shot was touched over by Treacy.
Barry McGeechan was next to try his luck for Forth but again Treacy blocked his deflected shot and then held a long range effort from Craig Gupwell as the Wanderers continued to press. At the other end, Liam McLaughlin headed an Adam Boyle cross wide before a Prete cross was headed into the path of Alan McFadden by McLaughlin but Cherrie saved well from the Thistle skipper.
Just when it looked like the game was heading for an interval stalemate, up popped Wullie McLaren with a bit of magic to give Forth the lead. A long ball from Stephen Tait saw McLaren beat the Thistle offside trap, and, with his back to goal, he flicked the ball over his head, over the keeper and into the net for his 21st goal of the season, to give the Wanderers a one goal half-time advantage.
Forth began the 2nd half positively and a neat turn and shot from Martin Hannaway on 47 minutes wasn’t far away. Warren Grenfell was then pulled back well into the Thistle box, but to the astonishment of the crowd the referee gave a free kick just outside the box which came to nothing. David Cherrie then handled outside the box after a quick Thistle counter and was relieved only to be given a yellow card rather than the expected red.
Thistle then wasted a couple of free kicks from good positions, firing well over on each occasion while McLaren came close for Forth, Treacy again saving with his legs. The visitors were looking dangerous when they attacked and leveled things after 63 minutes when McFadden was given time to advance and fire a low shot into the corner just out of reach of Cherrie. The game was now opening out and McGeechan flicked a Dick ball into the arms of Treacy before Cherrie did well to turn a Prete shot around for a corner.
Ryan Carnwath then fired an angled shot narrowly over as Thistle enjoyed a good spell although as the game entered it’s final 10 minutes it was Forth in the ascendancy, as they pressed for the goal which would secure promotion. Ian Harty came close after 80 minutes when he met a McLaren free kick but Treacy held his effort at the second attempt. Barry Devine then shot narrowly wide for Thistle after the ball had fallen to him following a corner but it looked like a point apiece until Corbett headed home that late late winner.
Promotion secured, the Wanderers now require 3 points from their final 2 games to go up as Champions, starting with the visit of Lanark on Wednesday night for a derby with much at stake for both teams.
Forth team : Cherrie,L.Tait,S.Tait,McMullen,Gupwell,Rennie(Harty),Grenfell(Scott),