McBookie Championship



THIRD-placed Thistle hosted second-placed Bens in a highly entertaining match at Merksworth Park.

Bens raced into an early lead after only three minutes when a move down the left was dispatched into the net from 12 yards by the number nine.

Then 12 minutes later, good work from the Bens forced a corner which the number 5 flashed past the post when he should have done better.

Marc Fisher in the home goal produced the first of a series of excellent stops in 17 minutes when the Bens thought they had doubled their lead only for the Dalry number one to thwart them.

Thistle's main threats were coming from set-pieces from left-back Kyle Lochhead, whose deliveries into the box were causing panic. In 24 minutes a quite sublime Dalry move ended in an equaliser that seemed to shake Dalry into life. A wonderful ball inside the full back by Ian Cashmore was cut back by the speedy Kyle Cummings and that man Kieron Oliver was there to steer the ball home from eight yards.

In 33 minutes Cashmore pounced on a loose ball in the visitors' box but he couldn’t keep his shot down. In 39 minutes a long ball over the top of the Dalry rearguard broke to the impressive Benburb right winger but his shot was brilliantly tipped over by Fisher in goal. The resultant corner was flashed past the near post on the volley.

The second half started in much the same vein with both sides going for it and Bens having the better of the early stages. Ineed isher got down smartly to his left to save and hold onto a free header from a corner. In 55 minutes a great ball by Cummings into Oliver was diverted wide by the visiting goalie's legs.

Another cross from Cummings was flicked on by Cashmore and Oliver really should have buried it. In 72 minutes Dalry really should have taken the lead, a brilliant delivery by Lochhead resulted in a free header from almost point-blank range for Dalry number eight Jordan Stuart, only to be denied by a wonder save from the Bens keeper.

Thistle were pushing for the winner now and a 20 yard free-kick from Lochhead went wide before another top drawer save from the Bens keeper in 83 minutes after great play by Cashmore and Oliver fashioned a chance for Cummings. The visiting 'keeper then had a further say in the outcome with another two brilliant stops in 85 and 87 minutes. Both sides deserved a share of the spoils in a very entertaining game but on clearcut chances Dalry will feel unfortunate to only take a point.

It’s now six games unbeaten for the men from Merksworth Park.

DALRY THISTLE: Fisher; Lavery (Turner 68) Kirkwood, McGowan, Lochhead, Gardner (Browning 45) Hannah, Stuart, Cummings, Cashmore, Oliver.