McBookie League Two



Report: Boyd Miller

Pictures by Elaine Robertson (Forth Photos

NEW Thistle manager Paul Kellington fielded a side sprinkled with new signings and trialists in his first home outing at Ardeer Stadium and his side gave a much-improved performance.

The cold swirling wind meant it wasn't going to be a day for silky football.

Early doors both teams struggled to put together meaningful attacks with most of the action coming in midfield. Forth Wanderers were the first to set up some goalmouth action when Redouane Boulbrachene's shot from just inside the penalty area brought Thistle trialist keeper John Brennan into action. The keeper reacted quickly to turn the shot away with an outstretched foot. A couple of minutes later John Brennan was called into action again when he saved a Sean Tidser 20-yard free-kick at full stretch.

Thistle were finding it difficult to create anything the Forth box and it was Brennan again who came to their rescue when he dived full length to palm away a 25-yard strike from Warren Grenfell that looked to be flying into the top corner. Ardeer finally got into gear and a good build-up in midfield saw Tommy McFarlane set up Mark Beveridge but his 20-yard shot drifted just wide.

The second half started with a couple of early chances for the visitors, first a short pass-back by Paul McKay let in Swann Vachet but Brennan pulled off another great stop to foil the striker. Then neat play by Swann Vachet and Boulbrachene left Boulbrachene in space in the box but with only Brennan to beat he shot wide when it looked easier to score.

Chris Lyon sent a free-kick into the Forth area to set up Paddy Frey but his neat flick glanced inches wide. Then good build-up play by Beveridge and Frey let Steven Gibson fire a dangerous cross into the penalty area which was scrambled clear by the Forth defence. Lyon and Gibson again combined to set up Frey but the final pass was just out of reach as the striker moved in on goal.

Kian Murdoch set up Paddy Frey with another chance but his goalbound shot was blocked by a Forth defender. At the other end, Euan Scott saw his 18-yard effort saved by Brennan. Frey was fouled outside the area as Ardeer pushed for what might be a winning goal but Steven Gibson saw his curling free-kick slide inches wide.

As the game moved into the last five minutes, both sides created chances Frey fired in a dangerous cross that was well taken by vistiing goalie Steven McPhee. Then Jamie Morgan made a great saving tackle on Scott as he moved in on the Ardeer goal. In the final minute Brennan again came to the home sides rescue with first a one handed save from a close range header from Ferguson then saving again from a Scott effort.

Man of the Match John Brennan was signed by manager Paul Kellington after the match as he looks to rebuild the squad. And he was pleased with the effort the whole team put in given that Ardeer started the match with four teenagers on the park who will only learn from their experience.

ARDEER THISTLE: Brennan; Morgan, Beveridge, Kelly, McKay, Finnigan, Gibson, Lyon, Frey, McFarlane, Dean. Subs: Murdoch, Kellington, Taylor, Gemmell, Robertson.