Sectional League Cup
East Kilbride Thistle4
Report by Calvin Berry
A FIRST half hat-trick from Aaron Connolly helped East Kilbride Thistle bounce back from a heavy midweek defeat to sink Blantyre Victoria.
After the 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Rutherglen Glencairn, Thistle picked up the first win of their Sectional League campaign with an impressive performance.
Thistle started the better of the two sides and in the opening minutes tested the Blantyre keeper.
Gordon Douches’ shot was saved by the keeper and Aaron Connolly pounced on the rebound, only to see his shot hit the side netting.
But less than a minute later Thistle were in the lead as Connolly made no mistake with his second chance of the game, slotting past the keeper to give Thistle the lead.
The Jags continued to push and Douches thought he had doubled the lead when he chipped McIntosh in the Blantyre goal, but his chip landed just wide of the post.
Blantyre couldn’t handle the pressure and were nearly two down when Liam Sloan’s dangerous cross found Gerry Craig in space in the box and his shot was tipped away by the keeper.
After 21 minutes, though, it was 2-0. Thistle’s pressure paid off as Connolly managed to nick the ball in the Blantyre box and he fired the ball off the post and in to double Thistle’s lead.
Going two goals down seemed to be a wake-up call for Blantyre and Greg Coyle fired just over the bar as the visitors tried to get back into the game.
Coyle made no mistake with his next chance, though, as he latched on to a Jordan Dow cut-back to pull a goal back for Blantyre.
The fightback did not last long as with five minutes remaining in the first half it was 3-1.
A corner was cleared by Blantyre but only as far as Connolly, who fired an unstoppable shot into the net to seal a fantastic first half hat trick.
The second half was a more tense affair as both teams cancelled each other out, but with three minutes to go Thistle managed to get a chance to kill the game off when they were awarded a penalty.
Blantyre goalkeeper McIntosh took down Douches in the box and Douches made no mistake when he stepped up to strike the spot-kick and make it 4-1.
There was time, though, for Blantyre to grab a late consolation when William Holms struck in injury time.
l On Monday night, Thistle lost 2-1 at home to Cambuslang in third match of their league cup section.
They now face Vale of Clyde tonight (Wednesday), kick-off 6.45pm, before starting their league campaign on Saturday away to Dunipace at 2pm.