Lennon on song for Thorniewood . . . but Bellshill held to draw

Thorniewood v Neilston. Hat-trick hero Chris Lennon calmly slots his second goal past the diving Neilston keeper. (Pic by Drew Russell)
Thorniewood v Neilston. Hat-trick hero Chris Lennon calmly slots his second goal past the diving Neilston keeper. (Pic by Drew Russell)

A hat-trick by Chris Lennon earned Thorniewood a crucial 3-0 win over fellow strugglers Neilston at Robertson Park on Saturday.

The win provided a much-needed boost for the Viewpark side as they battle to beat the drop from the Super League First Division.

Neilston had the first early threat when Kennedy spun and fired just over after being found by a good Stevenson cross.

In a contest devoid of any real goalmouth action Thorniewood took a 23rd minute lead when LENNON and visiting ’keeper Digney competed for a through ball on the edge of the area and the United striker came out on top, his deflected effort finding the bottom corner.

Neilston’s best chance 
of the half arrived in the 37th minute but ’Wood centre-
back Davie Hamilton 
produced a superb block 
to defy Cameron’s six-yard effort.

Looking the more likely at the start of the second period, United carved out an opportunity in the 50th minute when a classy piece of play from John Paul McBride played in Lennon with only the outstretched arms of Digney saving the day.

A minute later a Stefan Law ball found Brian Johnston with only a last gasp Neilston challenge doing enough as 
the ball sailed narrowly over.

A Lennon shot from a McBride cutback ricocheted around the six-yard box before being cleared as ‘Wood continued to press and Lennon then had a goal chalked off for offside.

The visitors at last registered a shot in the 70th minute when Cameron’s angled drive was saved by home ’keeper Chris Fitzpatrick.

With the play becoming stretched LENNON scored a vital second in the 80th minute, outstripping the Neilston defence to slot home.

Thorniewood were on easy street and four minutes later LENNON completed his hat-trick, again showing his pace to round Digney and find the net.

Thorniewood: Fitzpatrick, Green, Smith, Hamilton, Fleming, McSorley, Lennon, Law, Johnston (Trialist 67), Grant (Trialist 85), McBride (Getty 59). Subs not used: Forbes, More.

Meanwhile League leaders Bellshill Athletic had to settle for a point from their Central League First Division match at Renfrew on Saturday.

The draw stretched Bellshill’s advantage at the top of the table to five points, although closest challengers Lesmahagow now have three games in hand.

Brian McGinty’s side had to battle back after falling behind in just 90 seconds.

Chris Dolan needlessly pulled Renfrew striker Arthur back and GILMOUR fired the resultant penalty into the net.

Athletic reacted an Andy Selkirk shot following a Lee Nichol corner was cleared off the line by Mulgrew and a Dolan free-kick was pushed behind by ’keeper Burgess.

Ryan Connelly headed a Max McKee cross behind and Burgess then did well to keep out a Darren Ferguson effort.

However Bellshill equalised after nine minutes when FERGUSON netted with a powerful low drive following a Nichol corner.

Renfrew stepped up the pace and Bellshill ’keeper Alexander Cowie pushed a Boyd free-kick behind.

At the other end a Ferguson shot was kept out at the second attempt by Burgess and a Nichol drive was blocked by Mulgrew.

Just before half-time Jason McKay sent Connelly clear but Burgess raced out to save his attempt and the teams went in all square at the break.

Bellshill pushed forward from the restart and Dolan sent Selkirk clear but Burgess pushed his well struck effort behind.

Renfrew’s Barton went close with an effort from 20 yards and a Chisholm free-kick was saved by Cowie as the home side drove forward.

Bellshill substitute Gary Millar shot wide after being sent clear by Callum Brady and a Connelly shot was saved by Burgess before Bellshill claimed in vain for a penalty for Burgess pulling Connelly down as he raced in on goal.

In the closing stages Bellshill threw everything into an attempt to secure all three points.

Nichol went close with a 25 yard free-kick and Ferguson, Burke and Millar all had decent tries saved by Burgess but the home side held out to deny them the win they wanted.