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South Lochaber Thistle (SLT) ensured that their last away fixture of the year ended in fine style with a thumping victory over table topping Dumbarton outfit St Patrick’s FPs 2nd XI.
Thistle’s cup form meant they began the tie 29 points behind the hosts, albeit with a stonking nine games in hand to make up the deficit.
And, despite the final score it was the Kinlochleven outfit who began slowest with St Pats keeping the ball well.
The Jags’ bad start in terms of performance then cost them on the scoresheet too when the ball was chipped to the back post and a Pat’s player made no mistake with his header.
But SLT are nothing if not determined. A fine piece of play in the middle of the park saw club veteran and founding father David Forbes continue his recent evergreen form. Shaping a pass superbly he set up skipper Martin Munro who, as he so often does, drove the ball into the net to equalize from 20 yards.
This goal looked to act as a catalyst for the visitors who fashioned a great chance for striker Archie Gillies but his selfless decision to pass saw St Pat’s able to scramble the danger clear.
Deadlock at the break.
Not satisfied with being a provider, Forbes projected Thistle into the the lead with a firecracker of a shot from 25yrds to edge the Highlanders ahead 2-1.
Controversy then occurred as the towering midfielder, and magnet for brutal challenges, Andrew Maclean was clattered to the floor with a shin high, studs up challenge. The decision of referee James Gallacher to deem this only a yellow card saw an outraged Barry Macdonald on the sideline, manager Gray whilst on the field to treat the felled midfielder and Maclean himself all also joining the offending St Pat’s player in Gallacher’s notebook for the vehemence of their protest.
Undeterred, the Jags utilised this injustice in the best possible way. First, Gillies scored his first goal for SLT. The youngster rounding off an excellent move move involving Munro and Maclean to widen the gap.
The home side were now the ones looking sluggish and Gillies’ aerial prowess was soon seen again as his flick on was gathered by Munro to secure his brace.
Finally, as the clock wound down, Munro secured the hat trick his Man of the Match performance deserved. Gathering the ball deep in defensive territory, the scampering winger broke from his own half to round the keeper and add the flourish of a final score of 5-1.
Club Secretary Rebecca Small, said: ‘Overall, this was a great performance, probably the best of the season so far.
‘With St Pat’s being so far ahead in the league, it was vitally important that we sent a message to the rest of the teams in the division as the calendar year winds down and this is a signature result.
‘Obviously, we wish St Pat’s all the best for the rest of the season and look forward to getting them at the Kinlochleven Astro soon.’
South Lochaber Thistle finish the year with a home game against Westerlands AFC in Kinlochleven on Saturday at 12 noon.