East Kilbride Thistle 0 - 2 Blantyre Victoria
John Henderson (8’), Lewis MacDonald (60’)
The Vics travelled to the home of their rivals on the other side of the Calder, East Kilbride Thistle for the third meeting of the sides this season. After the two previous encounters ending in draws both sides were desperate to claim the crown of Kings of the Calder.
Within the first 15 seconds of the match East Kilbride had earned themselves a corner. As soon as their set piece was woefully squandered, however, it was all Vics for a long period of time.
Early on, Aaron Black closed down on Thistle defender Gray who was forced to play it back to Meldrum in goals. Due to high pressing from John Henderson the Jag keeper could only clear it as far as Ross Caldwell who picked out Lewis MacDonald. The wingers close range shot lacked power, as Meldrum easily scooped up the ball.
The visitors continued to press and eight minutes in they got the goal they deserved. Dale Jones picked out Henderson making a run through the middle of the East Kilbride defence. Despite very reasonable shouts from the home contingent, the referee waved play on. The centre-forward had the simple job of dinking the ball over the retreating keeper to give Blantyre an early lead.
The Tory, were not content with only a one goal lead clearly as they continued to push for a second. In the 19th minute, Black crossed a dangerous ball into the EK box which was awkwardly headed behind goal by Morgan, who almost conceded an own goal. From the subsequent corner, Black distributed the ball to MacDonald who took a shot from 25 yards but it was just off target.
Thistle did pull themselves back into the game, and got involved with a few chances. Most of which were squandered by wasteful efforts or cleared by The Vics. 25 minutes in East Kilbride had a cross whipped into the box. The ball bobbled along the floor before eventually been pressed to the byline before Trainor eventually clinched the ball amongst open play.
2 minutes from the break, Henderson found himself on the left flank. With MacDonald available on his left, he chose to take on Morgan which he succeeded in doing, only to be forced to the ground in the box. The calls for a penalty from the home bench swiftly followed, but the referee had deemed it a fair challenge.
44 minutes in the Vics were caught out by a EK counter attack. The Jags, after some great build up play, moved the ball out to the right flank before curling a deep cross into the Vics box. Diack headed a ball across goal, a goalmouth scramble then occurred, although Craig Kerr eventually cleared the danger to make sure the blues went in at halftime with a lead.
Steven McClung’s halftime team talk seemed to have made a difference as the second half started with East Kilbride looking much more dangerous. Although they weren’t composed enough to really pose any sort of danger to Trainor’s goal, especially with Vics centre-back Craig Kerr at the very top of his game.
At the hour mark and the Vics had the chance to put the derby to bed. Henderson dropped deep into the midfield, played a ball through the channel to find the path of the charging MacDonald. One-on-one with Meldrum he placed a left footed shot low and hard to the keepers left. A goal which was long overdue for the young winger.
In the 69th minute Black blasted a powerful shot toward goal, substitute Scott McKean redirected the ball to send the keeper the wrong way. The referee disallowed the goal due to the former East Kilbride man being offside, a decision which was doubted by the traveling support.
Late on in the 86th, Jones played an excellent ball over the top to pick out Kierin Coleman who was making a run beyond the Thistle backline. The goal was gaping for the midfielder who took his shot from just inside the box, but he drove it just wide.
A well deserved victory for Blantyre Vics who outplayed their rivals on the day. For East Kilbride on the other hand were surprisingly disorganised for large periods of the match. If they were still playing now they still may not have scored.