Carluke made the short trip down the M74 to Viewpark to take on Thorniewood Utinted in this West of Scotland League match. On paper this looked like a difficult game for the Rovers as Thorniewood had made a good start to the season with 2 victories and a defeat. Rovers welcomed back influential players Marc Smith and Craig Stark from injury. This was to be an excellent game from start to finish with Carluke playing up the slight hill in the first half.
It was Thorniewood who were to show first when in the 12th minute a long ball to the back post looked as if it was going out only to be kept in by No 10 who rescued it on the touchline, rounded the Rovers defender on the right and flashed a shot which narrowly missed the far post. Thorniewood went close again in the 15th minute when the ball was flicked across goal by No 11 but it just went past the far post. Thorniewood were more familiar with the bumpy surface and tended to resort more to the long ball to the front men who were adept at holding the ball up while waiting for support.
That said Carluke were being just as effective playing out from the back through the midfield and it was starting to pay off. A minute after the Thorniewood chance James Frame picked up the ball on the right and went on a mazy run past a couple of Thorniewood defenders only to see his shot deflected off the post. The game was flowing from end to end at this point and next to miss an opportunity was Thorniewood No 15. The ball broke to him in the box but he could only volley it over 16 yards out.
Carluke were growing in confidence and at this stage midway through the first half were in control of matters. Firstly a freekick by Marc Smith from 25 yards was pushed over the bar by the Thorniewood Keeper.However it only took a further minute for the deadlock to be broken. Another great run by James Frame coming in from the right. He ran near the bye line, beat a couple of men and laid the ball back to Mark Cassidy who was well placed to bullet the ball in the roof of the Thorniewood net to make the score 1-0 to Carluke Rovers.
There was a couple of further chances at either end but in both cases the ball was headed over and a pulsating first half drew to a close with Carluke leading Thorniewood by 1-0.
Carluke made an enforced substitution at the start of the second half and also a change to the formation to combat the fact that it appeared to be 3 and against 3 at the back for Carluke in the first half and so an extra man was put in defence to combat this.
The second started much as the first with possession shared between both teams and defences giving a good account of themselves. However as the second half wore on Thorniewood United started to take control of proceedings and pushed Carluke back as they searched for the equaliser. They had several half chances but nothing clear cut due to the excellent defending by Carluke and safe handling of Dean Wilson in goal.
However in the 92nd minute just when Carluke thought they had weathered the storm the ball was played into the box. In an attempt to intercept it before the Thorniewood winger got there Dean Wilson in the Rovers goal was adjudged to have brought the player down. The Referee had no option but to award the penalty which was duly converted by Bowie of Thorniewood.
Carluke only had time to restart the game when the Referee blew for fulltime with a final result of 1-1. Carluke will feel that they nearly made it and were disappointed at the final whistle but on the same token Thorniewood deserved their point due to their endeavours in the second half.
We dust ourselves down and look forward to a return to the John Cumming Stadium on Saturday with a 2pm kickoff against Kello Rovers in our next West of Scotland league game.Match Report by Stevie Kane
Photography by Kevin Ramage