Carluke travelled to Port Glasgow this week for a league game against the afore mentioned team. Both teams had a similar points total before kickoff in what is proving to be a very tight league so a competitive fixture was expected. However this was to be more of a war of attrition rather than a game filled with chances and free flowing football.
In a game of very few opportunities Carluke were to start the brighter and in 8 minutes a long ball down the right found Ciaran Lafferty who carried the ball a few yards to gain some space and crossed in a delightful low cross. This was met by the on rushing Stephen Larkin who in his attempt to place the ball into the bottom corner from six yards unfortunately knocked the ball wide. An early let off for Port Glasgow.
The game boiled over in the 19th minute when Port Glasgow’s Barry McLaughlin, who had been niggling the Carluke strike force from the start of the game, viciously punched Ciaran Lafferty off the ball in the face when the Referee was not looking. Unfortunately in the resultant melee, with both sets of players involved, Ciaran sought retribution by retaliating with the same player. The Referee had no option but to send Ciaran off along with Barry McLaughlin who allegedly has let his fellow teammates down on several other occasions this season with his behavior or lack of it.
When the football re started it was Carluke who were to create a half chance when Maxi Neossi got the ball around the penalty spot and with his back to goal turned and shot but there was no real power in his effort and the ball rolled into the Port Glasgow keeper’s hands.
Carluke were slightly in the ascendancy at this stage without really creating much in the way of clear cut chances. However when Carluke Keeper Adam Brown knocked a long clearance deep into the Port Glasgow half it was picked up by Van Nuil of Carluke who ventured in the box only to be pulled down by the Port Glasgow fullback. The Referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot for a penalty. The spot kick was taken by Stephen Larkin who struck it off the keeper but was on hand to knock in the rebound to give Carluke a 1-0 lead.
Port Glasgow had not created much either in the way of chances but in the 39th minute Brad Cooper beat a couple of players in the Carluke box but his resultant shot on goal slid past Brown’s right hand post.
The next opportunity fell to Carluke when Shaun McKenna controlled the ball along the Port Glasgow byeline and cut a pass back to Craig Grierson whose shot went directly into the arms of the Port Glasgow Keeper using his weaker left foot.
The last chance of the first half was to fall to Port Glasgow when a great through ball found Daniel Bamford but with a clear sight at goal he only managed to drag his shot across the Keeper and pat the left hand post. Half time 1-0 to Carluke.
With so few chances for either side in the first half Carluke’s lead looked quite formidable as the second half got underway however Port Glasgow knew they had to up the ante if they were to get back into the game and started the second half with more purpose than their visitors.
However this was a game of very few chances so when Port Glasgow left back John Gallacher fired in a cross from the left wing onto the head of Daniel Bamford who deposited into the back of the Carluke net to equalise it was a real body blow to The Rovers. The goal gave Port Glasgow renewed belief and they started to take more control of the proceedings but not turning their possession into any clear cut chances.
It was therefore a real body blow for Carluke when in the 63rd minute a speculative shot from Fraser McLaughlin from 25 yards caught out the Carluke defence and keeper Adam Brown could only parry it into the back of the net as it moved towards him at pace giving Port Glasgow a 2-1 lead.
The goal seemed to wake Carluke from their second half slumber and they began to take the ascendancy and push Port Glasgow back but both defences were relatively untroubled throughout the game and the only real chance Carluke created to eradicate the deficit was a Weir corner that was just missed by the head of Maxi Neossi in the 86th minute.
Apart from the goals in this ill tempered match the only other real bit of quality came from a magnificent Rabona from Stephen Larkin in the centre of the park out to winger Stuart Mitchell. If he had done this for the penalty he wouldn’t have needed the rebound! Final score 2-1 to Port Glasgow.Match Report by Stevie Kane
Photography by Kevin Ramage