Report: Mick Hydes
Arthurlie made it two consecutive 4-0 home wins to move themselves further away from relegation fears with a comprehensive display against their struggling Ayrshire rivals who looked tired after their Scottish Cup run and who themselves now face a desperate fight to stave off looming relegation to Super Premier First.
Two goals in each half did the damage for the Barrhead men with the partnership up-front of Paul Stewart and James Marks now starting to look the real deal and must give the club hope for next season.
It was a slightly disappointing crowd at Dunterlie although a combination of the drab rainy weather and a Champions League semi on ‘council telly’ may have been telling factors. Thistle though did their best to creating a slight European action feel to the evening by starting the game with a Number 15 Craig Little in their line-up after Number 2, Barry McLaughlin, pulled up in the warm-up.
Largs started well by creating some openings with Paul Quinn and Euan Lindsay keeping home keeper Jamie Ewings busy in the opening exchanges.
It was slightly against the run of play on eighteen minutes when Arthurlie created their first effort on goal with Ryan Deas feeding Paul Stewart who raced in on goal to fire past Stephen Connick with a positive finish to give the Lie a precious lead. Six minutes later the lead was doubled when from a disputed corner, Stewart headed downwards for James marks to lash home.
Stephen McKeown went close to adding a third before any chance Thistle had of a comeback were dashed when centre-forward Euan Lindsay received ayellow card for a foul on Steven Crawford and then immediately a second yellow for disputing the decision with the referee to recieve his marching orders.
Half-Time – Arthurlie 2 Largs 0
Thistle came out fighting early in the second period and could have snatched a goal back when Gary Philips played a ball into the box that substitute John Robertson ghosted into space but somehow the ball eluded him with only Ewings to beat in goal. With Thistle’s faint hopes of a revival gone, Kie were left to rack up two late goals with Marks grabbing his second by tapping home a loose ball after Stewart had done well to win a header under pressure and substitute John McLay rifled home the fourth with two minutes to spare after a flowing four man move.
Arthurlie’s next game is at home to Ashfield on Saturday with Thistle travelling to Kilbirnie. Arthurlie have only two remaining league games to Thistle’s seven with both sides now free from any cup commitments.
Arthurlie: Jamie Ewings, James Lundie, Steven Crawford, David Merriman, Sandy Hodge, Alan Muir (John Johnston 67), Steven McKeown, Michael Keenan, Paul Stewart, James Marks (John McLay 76), Ryan Deas (Ian Chisholm 78). Subs Not Used: Paul McLeod, Robert Walker, Stephen Gallagher, Kieron Cannon
Largs: Stephen Connick, Craig Little, Paul Coyle (John Robertson 45), Eddie Walton, Robert Cochrane, Gordon Lappin, Willie McLure (Sean Price 69), Martin Dow, Euan Lindsay, Paul Quinn Kevin Struthers 76), Gary Phillips. Subs Not Used: Grant Weir, Joe Connolly, Alan Barnes