New Farm Loch 2 Largs Thistle AFC 1
Largs suffered a hammer blow in the Division Two promotion race, conceding two late goals to hand league leaders New Farm the points, in a pulsating clash in front of a partisan home crowd at Dean Park, Kilmarnock.
New Farm took control of the first half launching wave after wave of attack and enjoying a series of corners, but were unable to create any clear cut chances in the opening 30 minutes.
Largs had the first real sight of goal when James Tyler fired into the side netting from close range, having latched on to a fine through ball from McMunn.
New Farm continued to press and had one effort cleared off the line and another sail narrowly wide as they kept up the pressure on the Largs goal. Robson at centre half was instrumental in keeping the scores level, throwing his body on the line on more than one occasion to thwart the attack, whilst McGill at right back was kept busy by New Farm's attacking left winger.
New Farm remained in the ascendancy in the second half, but Largs gradually gained a foothold in the game with Marshall snapping into tackles and then using the ball to fine effect to create a number of openings, whilst Tyler and Russell offered good outlets in the wide areas.
The game swung in Largs favour at around 60 minutes when a Largs corner fell to Donaldson who, with his back to goal, turned and slammed a low shot into the bottom corner of the net, marking one of the striker's finest goals since joining the club. A melee which followed the goal resulted in a New Farm man seeing red, for aiming a kick at Largs defender Ben Connor.
The numerical disadvantage didn't dampen the New Farm attack, which continued to lay siege on the Largs goal, but was met with robust resistance from an in-form defensive line and a conveniently placed cross bar, with two New Farm free kicks smashing off the up-right.
Largs continue to cause New Farm problems on the counter attack with McGowan, McMunn and Marshall creating openings and giving an excellent account of themselves in a fierce midfield battle.
The outcome of the game was shaped by a number of critical events in the closing stages. First Largs lost centre back Robson to a hamstring injury which required an impromptu re-shuffle with the introduction of Wilson.
Largs then spurned a golden opportunity to seal the points when Donaldson latched on to a Marshall pass and raced clean through to cut back to Tyler. The experienced striker then fired wide from close range when it seemed harder to miss the target.
The old footballing adage of "failing to take your chances" came back to haunt Largs soon after. Following a New Farm corner, the home midfielder was allowed space to advance and blast a long range shot low past the diving keeper and in off the inside of the post, with 83 minutes on the clock.
Buoyed by this late equaliser New Farm smelled blood and continued the push for the winner. In doing so, space opened up for Largs and the away side had chances to sneak the win in the closing stages, with Donaldson and Tyler both finding space to unleash shots on the New Farm goal.
The winning goal came with seconds remaining as New Farm hit Largs on the counter attack with a long ball forward, allowing the left winger to bear down on goal and cut back to the unmarked striker who tapped home, sending the home crowd into raptures.
The loss was undoubtedly a sore one for Largs, who competed well throughout the game, but New Farm's ability to grind out the win from a losing position demonstrated why they remain unbeaten for this league campaign.
Largs must now regroup as they face Crosshouse Waverley in Largs next Saturday.
The club would like to thank JG Sharps and Largs Thistle Community Club for their continued support.
Team: Cunningham, Turley, Connor, McGill, Robson (Wilson), McGowan, Marshall, McMunn, Russell, Tyler, Donaldson: Subs: Russell, Fraser