Lanark United are up to second place in McBookie.com League One – just one point off the top – after a great 4-1 win at home to Girvan, writes Craig Martin.
Saturday’s game marked a return to action for Ian Watt after a 10-week absence due to knee problems and Lewis Hill after a quad injury.
Watt started his first competitive match of the season and stole the show with a fantastic hat-trick.
The home side opened the scoring after eight minutes when Shug Kerr picked up the ball wide on the left before getting into the Girvan box and putting a low shot past Brown for 1-0.
Girvan played some good football as they looked to get back on level terms but Lanark keeper Colin McGraw was equal to anything they threw in his direction.
The best chance Girvan had came in the 35th minute when a free-kick found Mossie unmarked at the back post but McGraw got down well to turn his header away for a corner that came to nothing.
On 37 minutes Lanark fashioned another chance when Watt set Kerr free and he in turn laid the ball to Josh Gracie but his shot was wide of the target.
Lanark did double their lead in the 38th minute when PJ O’Donnell played an excellent free-kick to Watt who was wide on the right.
As Brown came out of his goal to try to challenge Watt he chipped the ball over the keeper and it found the net for a fantastic goal to see Lanark 2-0 up.
Lanark stretched their lead with a slightly fortunate goal just past the hour mark.
Cammy Lawson sent a good ball towards Kerr, who lost his marker and bore down on goal.
His mishit shot looked to be going well wide but in fact fell perfectly for Watt who drilled an excellent shot low into the net for his second and Lanark’s third of the match for 3-0.
This goal settled Lanark and they controlled most of the remainder of the match with Kerr having a couple of chances to stretch the lead further.
But he put a shot just wide after 72 minutes then saw a netbound effort cleared for a corner with 10 minutes to go.
Lanark produced a great chance on 84 minutes when a perfect ball from O’Donnell set Kerr free on the left and after reaching the byeline he cut the ball back for Sean Lindsay but his effort was well saved by the Girvan keeper.
Girvan had a rare break on the Lanark goal in the 87th minute as they attacked down the right but Smith saw his shot hit the side netting.
In the next attack Lanark put the match out of sight of their opponents when Jack Hamilton, who had replaced Martin, went wide on the left and reached the byeline then cut a perfect ball back for Watt to hammer the ball home for his third and Lanark’s fourth of the match for 4-0 after 88 minutes.
The last chance for Lanark came with a minute to go when Gracie put in a good run down the right before playing the ball into the path of Hamilton but his effort was saved.
Lanark lost a goal in the final seconds when they gave away a soft free-kick on the right that was taken quickly before being played across goal and Bell had a tap in for 4-1.
United visit leaders Bellshill this Saturday.