Beith Juniors 3 Largs Thistle 2
Report by Robbie Sanderson
Relieved Beith, managed to break their frustrating run of draws with a hard fought but deserved win over relegation battling Largs. The Bellsdale side’s threadbare squad afforded a rare start to Josh McArthur with Richie Burke also filling a defensive role.
A very low key start produced little to note apart from a half hit Collins shot that didn’t greatly trouble Largs keeper Lundy and the visitors being forced to make an early substitution with Glenn Thomson replacing injured Kevin Struthers.
Joe Bradley gradually began to have an impact in midfield for Beith and his probing led to the home side grabbing the lead after 19 minutes. A Bradley pass freed Darren Christie to burst into the box and his cut back, after being missed by others, was turned home at the back post by David McGowan.
Largs tried to respond and Little perhaps should have done better when his header from a corner went straight to Grindlay, and James Marks was inches away from getting a touch on a tempting McMaster cross into the box. However, it was the hosts who carried the bigger threat playing down the slope but they were failing to get shots on target from some good play despite Watt and Burke going close with efforts.
Largs rallied with half time approaching and Little missed the target when he was allowed another free jump on a Fisher free kick delivery, before his side drew level. When sub Glenn Thomson picked up possession just outside the Beith box and promptly let fly with a great left foot shot, that gave Grindlay no chance rattling into the net via the inside of the post.
Stung by the equaliser Beith opened the second half in a determined fashion, taking the game to Largs. Darren Christie looked to have scored when he cut inside off the left wing and beat Lundy with a fine shot only to see the ball rattle off the crossbar. The hosts kept the pressure on and duly went ahead a few minutes later when Joe Bradley slipped a pass through a pass to allow Thomas Collins to run behind the Largs defence and stab the ball into the far corner.
Largs responded again trying to get forward at any opportunity with ex Beith full back Iain Fisher shooting wide from a decent position. However, the visitors did pull level again when James Marks capitalised on a Richie Burke error. Burke’s miscue fell kindly to the striker just inside the box and he guided the ball past grounded keeper Grindlay into the far corner.
Play wasn’t the best of quality but the entertainment continued fast and furious with Beith again upping the ante to retake the lead on the hour when David McGowan applied the finish in the box to a fine move up the left side involving Burke and Christie.
Chances were created in the final quarter at both ends with Largs going for broke with nothing to lose and they scorned a decent opportunity when Thomson hooked a shot high over the bar. Beith also had a number of chances to kill the game with keeper Lundy saving from McGowan to deny him his hat trick, Collins heading inches wide and Christie and Bradley scorning decent opportunities before the end.
Beith: Grindlay, McGlinchey, Burke, MacDonald, McArthur, Wilson, Watt, Bradley, Collins, Christie, McGowan. Subs: McPherson, Frize, Sheridan, Elliot, Digney.
Largs: Lundy, Fisher, McMaster, Little, Jamieson, McDonald, Tennant, Fleming, Marks, Struthers, Bennet. Subs: Walton, Littler, Thomson, Love, Ashe.