Carluke Rovers made the short trip to Wishaw with the objective of getting back on the winning track after 2 recent defeats. Wishaw for their part were hoping to kickstart their season after only one win against Lanark in their first 5 league games. Rovers also had their 2 new signings in the starting 11 who were Kevin Patrick McAllister in goal and left midfielder James Van Nuil.
The game kicked off in unusually hot weather for the time of year and it was Carluke who were to have the first real effort when a ball down the left by Mark Weir was picked up by Carluke striker Ciaran Lafferty. His shot at goal hit off the shins of Wishaw’s Scott Crone and went past his own post out for a corner.
Next it was Wishaw’s turn to attack the Carluke rearguard in the 6th minute when their striker, Matthew Clarke cut in from the left and shot at goal but fortunately for Carluke it was straight at debutant keeper KP McAllister who held it comfortably.
There was nothing between the teams during this period and no further clear cut chances were created until the 16th minute when Ciaran Lafferty of Carluke put through his fellow striker Murray Louden on goal but his shot was too direct and McMahon in the Wishaw goal cleared the danger with his feet.
Carluke were starting to get on top of Wishaw at this stage and were looking to press home their advantage. A Ross MacNeill cross from the right was met with glancing header by Lafferty but the ball went just wide of the Wishaw right hand post.
However Wishaw were resolute in defence and were not giving much away. In fact both defences were on top as there was a lack of creativity in the middle of the park with the result being very little quality service for the strikers. It took till the 38th minute for the next save to be made and it came when Wishaw midfielder Aaron Neill shot from outside the box and although the Keeper had plenty of time to collect the ball down at his left it squirmed out of his grip and went for a corner.
This was to prove costly for Carluke, in more ways than one, as the resultant corner was dummied by Arron Neill and the shot at goal hit Carluke midfielder Ross MacNeill hard in the face breaking to McGuire who scored from close range to make the score 1-0 Wishaw.
The hit on the face for Ross was more serious than first thought and the game was delayed for half an hour when an ambulance was called as a precaution. Ross appeared to have hurt his neck as well as suffering from concussion. Everyone wishes him a speedy recovery. As well as Ross going off Carluke were dealt a further blow when striker Murray Louden also went off with a recurring hamstring injury. This meant Carluke had to “shuffle the pack” with Neossi coming on and going into midfield with Paul Donaghy moving into the striker role alongside Ciaran Lafferty. Also Conor McDonald moved into right midfield to replace Ross MacNeill.
There was no more action in the first half with it finishing 1-0 to Wishaw.
Similarly to the first half it was Carluke who were fastest out the blocks in the first minute of the second half when Ciaran Lafferty made a great run down the right, beating the offside trap but his low cross to the backpost was intercepted by a Wishaw defender before it could reach the unmarked Conor McDonald.
However Wishaw were giving as good as they got and an unfortunate slip by Drew Lindsay was followed by a poor clearance by the Keeper with the ball going straight to Wishaw’s Anthony O’Kane. He bore down on goal but his shot was saved by the feet of Carluke Keeper McAllister saving the blushes of the back line.
Wishaw were not to be denied though and three minutes later a cross came into the Carluke box from Greg Miller and was collected by Matthew Clarke who side stepped a tackle from Reece Lowden and calmly slotted the ball into the empty net. 2-0 Wishaw.
This was going to prove a tough ask for Carluke to get back into this one as they had not really threatened much in the second half but they kept plugging away and got their reward. Good play by Maxi Neossi found Van Nuil on the left whose low cross was met at the backpost by the onrushing Conor McDonald who made no mistake with his first time strike giving the Wishaw keeper no chance. 2-1 Wishaw.
It was hoped that this would fire up Carluke as they searched for an equaliser but in truth both teams were cancelling each other out and Wishaw looked comfortable at the back. In fact it was to be a further 20 minutes before either team threatened the opposition goal when substitute Kevin Grant was put through by Eddie Haley and his shot from close range went agonisingly past the Carluke left hand post.
The last chance for Carluke came in the 89th minute when a Mark Weir corner was headed goalward by Van Nuil but it was too direct and the Wishaw Keeper collected it with ease. A couple of minutes later the Ref blew for full time.
This was another “bad day at the office” for Carluke Rovers who will need to find more fight and quality if they are to get anything when table topping Greenock visit next week.
Final Score: Wishaw 2 Carluke Rovers 0.Match Report by Stevie Kane
Photography by Kevin Ramage