Following defeat against Gartcairn in midweek it was important for Carluke Rovers to put in performance and get their first league points on the board in this second fixture against Royal Albert from Larkhall. Carluke also welcomed back skipper Mark Cassidy from a 1 match suspension.
The game kicked off in brilliant sunshine at the John Cumming Stadium and it was Royal Albert who opened the brightest. In the first minute a long through ball found Albert’s No 10 who tried to lob the onrushing Dean Wilson in the Carluke goal only to see the ball go wide of the post.
This was an indication as to how the first half was to play out with Royal Albert defending in numbers and hitting Carluke on the break. Carluke were finding it difficult to create any real chances but in 14th minute a corner from James Frame was met by the head of striker Ryan Watt but his effort went wide of the post.
Carluke had plenty of possession in the Royal Albert half but their play was laboured resulting in very few attempts on goal. Royal Albert had pace up front and they put this to great use when in the 20th minute their No 9 ran through on goal unchallenged from the halfway line but fortunately for Carluke his resultant effort crashed off the inside of the post and was cleared to safety.
Carluke continued to dominate possession and got an opportunity themselves in the 35th minute when James Frame met a great cross fired in by Dillon Duddy on the left byline but his volley went tamely past the far post.
The second half got underway and for the first 15 minutes the pattern followed the first half with plenty of possession for Carluke but not much else. However things started to change in Carluke’s favour in the 61st minute as they started to pierce through the Royal Albert rearguard. The signs of things to come was started with a great cross from Steven Frame to the feet of Ryan Watt who turned and shot but it was directly at the Keeper for an easy save. This was followed up 2 minutes later when James Frame cut into the box but his shot was also too direct and straightforward for the Albert Keeper. Royal Albert were still dangerous on the break and their No 9 was through on goal but a great interception tackle from Connor Jamieson saved the day for Rovers just as he was about to pull the trigger.
Carluke had control of the midfield throughout the game but the introduction of Jonny Wilson from the bench gave the team a little more impetus moving forward and there was now incessant pressure on the Royal Albert defence. In the 71st minute Greg Kane picked up the ball on the left wing and beat his man before firing in a brilliant low cross that just missed the outstretched foot of Steven Frame from 2 yards out. You could sense the goal was coming and this was further helped when the Royal Albert No 15 was shown a straight red card for a needless last man tackle on Dillon Duddy when the Royal Albert Keeper had the ball covered.
The resultant free kick from 25 yards was taken by James Frame. The Keeper could only parry the ball out and there was Dillon Duddy to show some composure and side foot the ball into the empty net much to the relief everyone in royal blue. 1-0 Carluke. This goal was the one that Carluke needed and was the signal to open the flood gates. It was Duddy again who was on target for the second goal. After great one touch interplay between Steven Frame and Tayler Jessimer on the right hand side the ball was squared into Dillon Duddy who had the easiest of tap ins. 2-0 Carluke.
Duddy then returned the favour to the hardworking Steven Frame when 2 minutes later he beat his man on the left and cut the ball into the path of Steven Frame who slotted the ball home t continue his good goalscoring run and make the score 3-0. It was the same player in the 83rd minute who completed the scoring when a good run and shot from James Frame was blocked but the ball broke to Steven Frame who volleyed in from close range. 4-0 Carluke Rovers.
The game finished without further incident and Carluke Rovers were deserved victors in the end albeit a couple of scary moments particularly in the first half. It is now away to Thorniewood United this Wednesday with a 7:30pm kickoff.Match Report by Stevie Kane
Photography by Kevin Ramage