Gartcairn were the visitors at the John Cumming Stadium for today’s West of Scotland League game. Gartcairn are riding high near the top half of the league and this was going to be a challenging game for Carluke Rovers. However Carluke welcomed back Mark Cassidy for his first start in months to help tighten up the defence.
The first opportunity in the match fell to Gartcairn when the ball broke to their No7 in the 4th minute but he pulled his shot wide of the far post. Then in 8 minutes the Gatcairn keeper made a terrific double save. The ball was won for Carluke by Mark O’Reilly who fed it to Dillon Duddy whose shot was first parried by the keeper before a follow up effort by Dom Small was also saved.
Then in the 30th minute a great long cross field pass from Mark Cassidy found James Frame in space on the left but his shot was high and wide of the target. At this stage there were chances being created at either end with Jonny Wilson clearing a goalward shot from the Carluke goal line.
Carluke nearly took a lead into the second half when in the 43rd minute a long kickout from Dean Wilson in goal made its way over everyone but Dillon Duddy was first to react fending of the centre half before trying to lob the keeper who was out to close the angle. Unfortunately in trying to get on the end of his own lob the ball went too close to the bye line and effectively Duddy could only square the pass across the frot of the goal but there was nobody up in support and the chance was lost.
The second half got underway and it was clear from the outset that there was more urgency in the Gartcairn play. They were closing down quicker and moving the ball with more crispness. This coupled with the fact that in the 51st minute Mark Cassidy went off in his comeback start in central defence was not a good sign for Carluke. In fact was it to take only an additional minute for Gartcairn to open the scoring. The ball was crossed into the backpost from the right and although the initial shot was well saved by Wilson in the Carluke goal the ball fell to another Gartcairn player who ran in and had the easiest of tap ins to make the score 0-1 to Gartcairn after 52 minutes.
Then a further blow for Carluke came in the 62nd minute when a freekick from 25 yards somehow found its way round the wall and into the bottom corner of the goal to make it 0-2 to Gartcairn.
In previous games Carluke heads might have went down but to their credit they continued to plug away and got back into the match in the 68th minute. Good interplay on the right side saw the ball threaded through to Dom Small whose shot hit off the diving keeper but still found its way into the net. 1-2 to Gartcairn.
Unfortunately for Carluke this fightback was short lived lasting only 3 minutes. A ball was crossed in from the right at pace and was missed by a couple of players before finding its way to the backpost where the Gartcairn striker bundled it into the back of the net to give them breathing space again. 1-3.
There was a couple of chances created at either end before Gartcairn got their fourth and final goal in the 82nd minute. A long pass through the middle of the park caught out the Carluke defence and the Gartcairn No10 passed the ball into the net when one on one with Dean Wilson in the Carluke goal to make the final score 1-4 to Gartcairn.
The scoreline flattered Gartcairn and Carluke were not far away from getting a result in this one. Things will start to improve now for Carluke as they get their injured players back. However next week will be a particularly tough game when they welcome Clydebank to the John Cumming Stadium for a West of Scotland Cup game with a 1:30pm kickoff.Match Report to follow
Photography by Kevin Ramage