East Kilbride Thistle 2 Forth Wanderers 3
Forth returned to competitive action after a two month lay off at East Kilbride on Saturday and, although showing some signs of their lack of recent action, showed great character to come from two goals down to record a welcome victory. Manager Jamie McKenzie included new signing Stevie Kane and Christopher Drummond a trialist right back in his attack minded starting eleven.
Both teams started positively on a pitch which, although heavy, was in remarkably good condition considering the recent weather. It was the hosts who struck first however, a long ball fro keeper Chris Treacy finding Craig Miles in space and he advanced on goal before firing a shot across David Cherrie and into the corner of the net after 13 minutes. Alan McFadden then shot wide as Thistle sought to double their advantage. The goal was only delayed however as Thistle made it 2-0 on 21 minutes. Cherrie appeared to slip when attempting to clear the ball and Ryan Carnwath won the ball and played it across to Liam McLaughlan in acres of space and he calmly finished.
The Wanderers reacted positively to this further setback and pulled a goal back three minutes later. A long McClaren free kick on the left was flighted into a crowded box and Barry McGeechan applied the finishing touch, flicking the ball past Treacy to reduce the deficit. This spurred Thistle into action and they had the better of the remainder of the half, Barry Devine hitting the post with a corner before Alan McFadden fired a shot over from a good position. However, the Forth defence held firm and half-time arrived with the hosts still 2-1 to the good.
The Wanderers began the second half brightly and were level within four minutes. Stevie Kane was tripped just inside the box and Willie McClaren scored from the resultant penalty. McLaughlin then sprurned a good chance for Thistle on 55 minutes firing wide after a cross had found him in space while, at the other end, McClaren chipped wide from what looked like an offside position.
Both teams continued to attack and the game swung from end to end, Cherrie saving comfortably from Thistle substitute Connor Johnstone before Taylor Scott got on the end of a McClaren cross for Forth, but he could get no power on his header and Treacy saved. McClaren then saw his header blocked and cleared as Forth threatened.
The game was finely balanced as it moved into the final 10 minutes, but ultimately it was settled by two chances within a couple of minutes of each other. Firstly, McGeechan slipped leaving Johnstone with a clear sight of goal, but the Thistle man shot agonisingly wide and this was to prove significant as Forth scored what proved to be the winner barely a minute later. A long ball found McClaren sprinting clear of the home defence and the Wanderers top scorer buried the chance with the minimum of fuss to make it 3-2 to Forth and complete the turnaround.
Thistle weren’t finished however and put the Forth under sustained pressure as the clock ticked down, winning a succession of corners to no avail as the Wanderers defence held firm.
An excellent three points for the Wanderers considering they were two down early in the match, although Thistle must be wondering how they failed to take something from a game they put so much into. Next up, Forth welcome Royal Albert, who have become a bit of a bogey team recently, to Kingshill for hopefully the first home match since the 17th of October.
Forth team : Cherrie,Drummond,Ward,S.Tait,McMullen,Grenfell,Kane(Hannaway),Rennie,Scott(Caddell),