Forth 1 Carluke 1 - Forth win 4-3 on Penalties

Forth set up a Clydesdale Cup Final against either Lanark or Lesmahagow after beating Carluke on penalties after an entertaining, if at times feisty, match at Kingshill Park tonight.

The decent weather, or perhaps the recent lack of football, brought out a fair-sized crowd who witnessed if not a “rip-roaring” cup-tie then certainly an incident packed one.

The Forth team bore little resemblance to that which finished last season although a handful of familiar faces were in evidence. New signings  Wright and McGroarty were unavailable due to holiday commitments, as were another three of the Wanderers squad. This goes some way to explain my use of numbers rather than names below.

A minutes silence was observed prior to kick-off in memory of Carluke stalwart Clara Kay.

Forth began brightly and the number 11 rattled the Carluke crossbar twice with shots from distance although Carluke should have taken the lead when a defensive mix-up let in their striker whose shot was just the wrong side of the post. Forth created another couple of chances, one of which looked easier to score than miss, but half-time came around with the game still goalless.

The first half was also notable for a vociferous Carluke ‘worthy’ who was relentlessly berating the Forth centre-half, who had a solid game overall and went on to score the deciding penalty, until taken to task in no uncertain terms by said players father. Cue a rather sheepish and less vociferous Carluke ‘worthy’ for the rest of the half. On behalf of those within earshot of the worthy – thanks for that !

Half-time entertainment was provided by the Haddington Athletic match secretary, who, on attempting to retrieve a ball, ended up on his bahookie much to the amusement of the crowd and especially the Forth substitutes. Take a bow son, take a bow.

The tackling seemed to step up a notch in the second half with the referee taking a more active part in the game. Forth took the lead when a mazy run and shot from the number 10, which took him past several players, deflected back from the keeper leaving the Forth number 11 to stroke the ball into the net. Forth’s trialist keeper then made a tremendous save as Carluke tried to get back on level terms.

The referee then took centre stage with some baffling decisions and the first Forth player was dismissed for a petulant kick, after what seemed like a far meatier challenge went unpunished minutes before. Carluke were coming more into the game and equalised when a cross from the right setup an easy finish. Forth were then reduced to 9 men when a second yellow card was issued to the Forth number 10 after a late tackle. An increasingly frustrated Forth manager, Jamie McKenzie, was then also sent off after questioning several of the referee’s decisions in an honest and heartfelt manner.

The nine men of Forth comfortably held out during the remaining minutes and penalties it was. Before they could be taken, another animated discussion took place between the referee and the Forth gaffer as to whether he would be allowed to talk to his team on the pitch prior to the shootout - he wasn’t.
Carluke began the shootout and put away their first three penalties and gained the advantage when Forth scored the first two but put the third over the bar. Then the trialist keeper took centre stage saving the final two Carluke penalties and with Forth scoring their fourth (eh?!) it left  the Forth number 5 to coolly slot away the deciding spot kick as you can see in the header picture above.

Overall, an entertaining game and a positive start from a Forth perspective. On this evidence we’ll certainly not lack for effort or commitment although I’ll reserve judgement on the discipline for now !