Today the visitors to the John Cumming stadium were local rivals Wishaw Juniors for this West of Scotland McBookie League One game. Although Carluke were 12 points ahead of Wishaw in the League, the visitors have 5 games in hand so this was an important game for both teams.
It was Carluke however who were to get off to the best possible start when in the 5th minute the ball broke to Jamie Dixon 20 yards out. The midfielder volleyed the ball on the bounce and it cannoned off the post onto the Wishaw goalkeeper before nestling in the bottom of the net.
This start helped to settle the Carluke team and they began to play with an authority and controlled all of the first half without creating much in the way of chances. It took till the 31st minute before the next meaningful chance was created and it was Jamie Dixon again who shot from outside the box narrowly missing the Keeper’s right hand post. It was then the turn of Wishaw to have a shot at goal when Wishaw’s number 18 hit a great shot that was well saved by Adam Brown on the floor at his right hand post.
The next opportunity also fell to Wishaw when a speculative free kick was headed onward by their number 8 but it was comfortably held by Brown in the Carluke goal. It was a mere 4 minutes later in the 38th minute that Carluke were to increase their lead with the best move of the match. It started in the Carluke half with a good interception by Lewis Murdoch at right back. He in turn passed to Mark Cassidy who then found James Frame on the left wing with a lovely pass. Frame still had a lot of work to do but managed to get to the byeline and crossed in a wonderful ball with his left foot that just eluded the outstretched arm of the Wishaw goalkeeper to find the head of Eddie Haley who outjumped the Wishaw defence and headed home from 3 yards out. This was nothing more than Carluke’s play had deserved in the first half and they were comfortable at halftime leading 2-0.
Carluke started the second half as they had finished the first, on the front foot, attacking the Wishaw rearguard. First up was a flashing header from Mark Cassidy following a corner which only just missed the Wishaw post. Then in the 55th minute Cassidy made a good run down the left and found James Frame. He then found Eddie Haley in space whose shot, when through on goal, was well saved by the Keeper.
Only 2 minutes later the game took a turn in Wishaw’s favour. Carluke were dispossessed in midfield and Wishaw pushed forward with the ball being fed to their number 11 who calmly passed the ball past Adam Brown in the Carluke goal to make the score 2-1 after 57 minutes.
This goal gave Wishaw a new lease of life and they started to believe they could get something from the game. Their next effort was fortuitous for Carluke when a header from 6 yards out by their centre half following a corner was straight at Brown who saved it comfortably.
Carluke were then hit with a further blow when Goalkeeper Adam Brown was sent off for pulling down a Wishaw striker outside the box when he was deemed to be last man by the Referee. This forced Carluke to reshuffle the pack and put on Reserve Keeper Gordon Bruce whilst sacrificing Jamie Dixon. Wishaw now smelt blood and pressed hard for the equaliser. On a couple of occasions they broke down the Carluke right and put dangerous balls into the box that the Carluke defenders managed to clear. The also had a clear cut chance which just slid past the Carluke post.
Against the run of play at this stage during one of Wishaw’s attacks when the bulk of their players were in the Carluke half the ball broke to James Frame. From inside his own half he had a run on goal with the despairing Wishaw defenders trying to catch him. However, with his pace, he left the defenders in his wake and bore down on the Wishaw goal. When he got within 12 yards he placed the ball wide of the keeper’s right hand and into the bottom of the net. This was in the 92nd minute and the relief within the players and home supporters clearly visible in the celebrations which followed this winner.
The game was played for another couple of minutes before the Referee blew for full time. This was a big game for both teams and a great 3-1 victory for Carluke in this roller coaster affair. Wishaw can feel aggrieved that they didn’t snatch a point in the end but Carluke march on with 7 points from the last three league games as they play towards league safety following a difficult few months. Next Saturday 25th January Rovers are away to Bellshill with a kickoff at 1:45 pm.Match Report by Stevie Kane
Photography by Kevin Ramage