BONNYTON Thistle needed late goals to defeat a hard-working Giffnock SC Thistle team on Saturday who had gone down to ten men in the first half.
Goals from Sam McCloskey and Andy Hunter won sealed the match for the hosts who found it difficult to penetrate a Giffnock side who equalised through Blair Lyons after Ian Paterson put Bonnyton ahead.
The game kicked off in blustery conditions and the weather only worsened towards the end of the game. This perhaps reduced the amount of real quality football on show than we would have expected from these two clubs but nonetheless we were treated to an exciting spectacle from the off.
Giffnock came out of the blocks to press the hosts and their efforts landed them the first opening of the match on five minutes but Connor Daniels couldn’t capitalise on Bonnyton giving the ball away in defence. Daniels had two pops at goal but both were blocked by defenders.
Moments later Daniels almost made it third-time lucky, this time from a free kick 20 yards out but it smacked off the bar before being cleared from danger.
Giffnock made it hard for Bonnyton to initiate any flowing moves but on 11 minutes Chris Kelly wiggled his way past two defenders at the left by-line after getting on the end of a through ball from the middle and then cut the ball back from inside the 18 yard box for Steven McCarrison. The striker fired a shot at goal from the penalty spot but his shot was blocked for a corner. However, the danger wasn’t over for Giffnock.
From the ensuing corner, an enticing ball in between the defenders and goalkeeper caused confusion in the Giffnock defence and no-one could match the height Ian Paterson achieved on his jump and he nodded the ball into the net past the helpless Stephen McPhee.
Despite only being just under 15 minutes into the match it could be argued that, in terms of chances, Giffnock didn’t deserve to be behind, although Bonnyton had controlled more of the possession.
With that in mind the visitors manufactured the next chance of the game just before the 20-minute mark. James Duncan picked the ball up from outside the area and shot from 18 yards with the outside of his boot but Scott Purdie made a good save for the home side to keep a clean sheet – for now.
Purdie was left defenceless as Giffnock equalised after Bonnyton again lost possession in their own half. Matthew Doherty won the ball and played a good through pass in between the Bonnyton full back and centre half for Lyons to pounce onto. The move was perfectly timed and Lyons took one touch before lobbing the bouncing ball over the keeper with aplomb from just inside the penalty area.
This gave Giffnock some confidence and they further began to impose their physicality and high pressing on Bonnyton.
This didn’t dissuade the home side from trying to unlock Giffnock and indeed they were unlucky not to go ahead on 29 minutes. McPhee made the first of a number of great saves he would later pull off as he denied McCarrison at the near post following a throw in, parrying superbly.
Five minutes later Lyons was almost able to lob Purdie, this time coming from the right channel as opposed to the left, after he was put through one-v-one. He skewed this effort wide of the goal from the corner of the box and left the scores level – as it would remain until half time, despite Oliver Lincoln having another go for Giffnock at Purdie before McPhee made another great save as he denied Ryan Golightly. McPhee also denied ex-Rangers striker Paul Kane wit a great save of the forward's left boot.
While Bonnyton weren't playing superbly - if it wasn't for McPhee it could have been 3-1 or 4-1 by now.
Just before half time Giffnock had a man sent off by the referee for what appeared to be an off-the-ball incident.