Lanark United and Lesmahagow Juniors in shoot-out to win league

Lesmahagow Juniors manager Robert Irving
Lesmahagow Juniors manager Robert Irving

This season’s battle to win the McBookie.com League Two crown is rapidly turning into a straight shoot-out between leaders Lanark United and second placed Lesmahagow Juniors, writes Craig Goldthorp.

Lanark won their 12th straight match with a 5-2 home success over Thorniewood United on Saturday (see page 39), while Lesmahagow prevailed 3-2 at Annbank United to stay five points behind their Clydesdale rivals with a game in hand.

Lesmahagow manager Robert Irving told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette: “It looks like a two horse race but I have always said Lanark are the main challengers this year.

“Any team that finishes above Lanark will win the league. I watched Lanark last week and I was impressed with them.

“They have some really good boys in the team, don’t concede goals and score them which is a good recipe.”

Irving has been impressed by Lanark duo Ian Watt and Hugh (Shug) Kerr, who have scored 38 goals between them this season.

But the ’Gow boss was at pains to point out that his front men Jonny McStay and Paul Woodlock are also prolific.

McStay has netted 25 goals this term, with Woodlock scoring on 14 occasions.

“We have two really good scorers who are being backed up by other players,” Irving added.

“Elsewhere in the team, Kyle Weir has scored 10 and Ryan Innes and Jason Thomson seven each.”

Saturday’s 3-2 win at Annbank saw Lesmahagow denied a penalty after only 10 seconds when Thomson went down after rounding the keeper.

But ’Gow took the lead on 10 minutes. Clarke’s free-kick into the Annbank box led to Neil Schoneville being pulled down by a central defender and Kyle Weir scored with the resultant penalty.

The visitors went two up when a luckless Annbank defender put ball into his own net after Matty Clark had beaten a couple of defenders and blasted the ball across goal.

Annbank pulled a goal back midway through the second half but Innes restored Gow’s two-goal lead.

Annbank then scored the best goal of the game with Sloan hitting a great shot high past Thomson.

But ’Gow held on for another valuable three points to maintain their 100 per cent record away from home in the league this season.