McBookie League Two



By Boyd Miller

ARDEER Thistle and new manager Blair Gilmour came down to earth with a bump after their initial home victory the previous week against Vale of Leven.

Against a Johnstone Burgh team who had been fairly inconsistent of late they were made to pay the price for goalkeeping errors and slack defending.

Thistle made the first chance when Jack Ewing set up Frazer Dempsey for and shot at goal in the opening minute but his effort was blocked by Johnstone keeper Cameron Sinclair and the danger was cleared. At the other end Johnstone Burgh's Sam Esplin saw his angled shot from the edge of the box go narrowly wide. Dempsey turned provider when he set up Scott Colvin but the big strikers 20 yard effort was saved by Sinclair.

It was end-to-end play with chances coming at both ends of the park.

Esplin saw another shot saved by Martin Johnston before Chris Burns missed a glorious chance when his header bounced down and over the bar when he really should have scored.

Johnstone were though on goal again when both Burns and Paul McCallum were well offside, although this was not given by referee Regan Wallace, Martin Johnston pulled off a great save from a Burns effort. The visitors went in front on 29 minutes when Scott Robson collected a loose ball 12 yards out and scored through a ruck of players.

Ardeer were quick to hit back and levelled in 31 minutes when Scott Colvin - with his third goal in two games - headed home Dempsey's corner- kick.

They should have taken the lead five minutes later when Ewing was pushed inside the box by goalkeeper Sinclair. The referee gave the penalty and booked the keeper but Thistle skipper Frannie Kilpatrick's kick was saved by Sinclair. Ardeer were punished for that miss in 39 minutes when Esplin hit an angled 18-yard drive under the body of Johnston, who looked slow to get down to the shot.

The home keeper was at fault a couple of minutes later when the visitors went 3-1 up. He failed to catch a deep free kick and the ball dropped to Billy Davies who netted easily from 10 yards. Ardeer had a couple of chances before the break from Colvin with a header from a Lee McCrea free- kick which went inches past and Bob Hay's 20-yard effort which clipped the outside of the post.

Ardeer started the second half as they ended the first and good build-up play by Kilpatrick set up Dempsey, he beat a defender but his shot was just past the upright. Then McCrea set up Ewing to run in on goal on the right but though his shot beat Sinclair it ran agonisingly past the post. Dempsey then set up Colvin with a neat pass but the big striker's shot was saved by the keeper.

As so often happens Thistle were made to pay for missed chances when in 53 minutes Esplin sent in a curling cross - with the defence and goalkeeper standing watching - to the unmarked Paul McCallum to score easily. Dempsey and McCrea combined to set up Ewing but his header was just off target. Esplin bagged goal number five for the visitors in 75 minutes when he broke down the left and sent a curling shot past Johnston from 20 yards.

Ardeer had further chances when McCrea and Campbell combined to set up Colvin but his header was saved by Sinclair. Then the striker picked up a loose defensive header but his shot was deflected past the post. Colvin and Wieringa set up Tam McPhee for a header that was saved by Sinclair before.Johnstone substitute Jonny Boyd broke free on the right, ran unchallenged into the box and shot past Johnston from an almost impossible angle.

The score probably flatters Johnstone Burgh a bit, but they took advantage of the breaks they got and while Thistle created a good few chances, they didn't take them and gifted Johnstone Burgh probably three of theirs.

ARDEER THISTLE: Johnston; Beveridge, Campbell, Smith, McKay, Hay, Dempsey, McCrea, Colvin, Ewing, Kilpatrick. Subs: McPhee, McKee, Weiringa, Murdoch, McCarthy.