Jags fall to stuffy East Kilbride side in second round trophy clash

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South Lochaber Thistle 2-4 East Kilbride YM FC

South Lochaber Thistle continued their disagreeable opening to the new year with a defeat to East Kilbride YM FC in the weekend’s second round of the Bobby Thomson Memorial Trophy, writes Pete Newman.

The Kinlochleven-based outfit had suffered a 5-3 defeat in last week’s league cup quarter final outing to GSC Amateurs and this was an opportunity to get back to winning ways.

However, East Kilbride, established in 1921 and regularly running six teams, are a side with a long history and not to be taken lightly.

The visitors were themselves coming off a defeat, having been pipped in extra time of the Scottish Cup by Aberdeenshire’s New Street AFC, the same team who had knocked out SLT.

After a delayed start due to the referee arriving late, the opening exchanges were tense.

The visitors began brightly testing the towering David Wilson in the home side’s goal. The Ballachulish stopper was in inspired form, however, preventing at least three seemingly certain goals.

With the half hour notched, the visitors made their break through. EKMY’s prolific forward Kyle Rankin opened his account for the afternoon with an accomplished finish.

Within 10 minutes, Matt Haggerty doubled the advantage for the away team, scoring to make it 2-0 at the break.

Manager Alan Gray and assistant Albie Robertson were very clear that the Jags needed not to surrender possession as cheaply and to make sure that they made possession count.

With this in mind, it was pleasing for the management team to see SLT pull a goal back through youngster Archie Gillies.

Putting  pressure on the defender, the striker stuck his foot in and turned over the ball to go one-on-one with the keeper. Taking time to steady himself, he knocked it past the EKYM keeper to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

Now would have been the time to turn the screw and press home the advantage but East Kilbride had other ideas, through the medium of Rankin. Bagging his second goal of the day, the striker edged the away team 3-1 up.

But Thistle are nothing if not resilient. Club founding veteran David Forbes and Gillies managed to win the ball in the midfield.

Bursting through with a turn of pace reminiscent of his youth, Forbes drove on and selflessly knocked it across the box to Gillies, taking the defender out of the game in the process and gift-wrapping Gillies his brace. 3-2

Sadly it was Rankin who had the last laugh. The Central Belter wrapping up his hat trick and putting the tie to bed 4-2.

Gray commented: ‘It was one of those days where no matter what changes were made, what effort the boys put in or what we tried, nothing came off.

‘There was a lot the boys can be proud of in terms of their effort and dedication but we were too lackadaisical in holding on to possession.

‘Archie Gillies and David Wilson at opposite ends of the park were in good form and there’s a lot of positives to take from two youngsters playing with such accomplishment.

‘We will be raring to go to get back to winning ways next week.’

For their next fixture, SLT make the trip to Glasgow as they return to league action with a fixture against Cambria AFC at the University of Strathclyde’s pitches.