After recent success in friendly matches Carluke Rovers entered the fray of the West of Scotland League with their first match of the season. The opposition was away to Gartcairn who are seen as one of the favourites for the Division. Due to suspension and injury Carluke had several key players missing but the strength of the squad is such that a strong first eleven was still fielded.
The game kicked off and for the first hour the match was a pretty even affair with chances at both ends. The first real chance of the first half fell to Carluke when Dillion Duddy got the better of Gartcairn’s Josh Gracie in the 3rd minute. He got past the defender along the byeline and flicked the ball into the box. It was met by a brilliant overhead kick by in form Rovers striker Steven Frame which looked to be going into the roof of the net from 10 yards. However the Gartcairn keeper pulled of a miraculous save to knock the ball onto the bar and it was cleared to safety.
Gartcairn responded in the 8th minute when a corner was headed goalward but after a scramble in the box the ball came off the Carluke post. However in a game where Carluke plotted their own downfall the first goal for Gartcairn came shortly afterwards in the 10th minute. A headed backpass was intercepted by Gartcairn No 9 who rounded Dean Wilson in the Carluke goal and slotted the ball home. 1-0 Gartcairn.
In the first 20 minutes Gartcairn enjoyed a lot of possession without creating much in the way of chances but this was mainly down to Carluke clearing the ball long from defence and simply giving possession away. When Carluke started playing out from the back the game took on a different complexion. As Carluke grew into the game they created several chances approaching halftime. Firstly a great cross field pass from James Frame found Marc Smith who tried to curl the ball round the last man from just outside the box only to see his shot deflected wide. From the resultant corner Steven Frame headed over at the back post.
The first half finished 1-0 for Gartcairn but Carluke could consider themselves unlucky not to be at least level at the break.
The second half started the way the first half ended with Carluke looking for the equaliser. In fact in the 49th minute Carluke had their best chance of the match. James Frame, whose pace and trickery had been a handful for the Gartcairn defence, rounded his man in the box and from the penalty spot unleashed a shot on goal. Unfortunately for Rovers the Gartcairn Keeper got a toe to it and deflected it wide. Had that chance gone in then it would have given the team a real lift.
However the opposite happened as Carluke then imploded and plotted their own downfall. Firstly a poor clearance from defence went straight to the Gartcairn No 8 and he fired and unstoppable 25 yarder into the top corner giving Dean Wilson in the Carluke goal no chance in the 61st minute. This was a killer blow and the Carluke heads went down after all the hard work that had been put in against one of the top teams for the first hour of the match. However it does not explain what followed which can only be described as a capitulation.
80m. Gartcairn cross. Great pointblank save by Wilson. Rebound netted by Gartcairn No19. 4-0.
82m. Carluke Keeper passed directly to Gartcairn No7. who kindly returned it into the net. 5-0.
84m. Gartcairn cross from the left was volleyed in at the backpost to complete scoring. 6-0.
There was no further goalmouth incidents after this and the game petered out to finish 6-0 to Gartcairn. The result aside there was enough in that first hour to suggest that Carluke Rovers can look forward to the season ahead. Gartcairn have invested heavily in the pre season and Carluke gave as good as they got in the first hour and had they taken any of their chances the outcome would have been lot less convincing than it was.
This Saturday Carluke Rovers host Royal Albert at the John Cumming stadium with a 2pm kickoff. A great opportunity for all supporters to get along and judge for yourself the quality of the team for the season ahead.Full Match Report by Stevie Kane
Photography by Kevin Ramage