Irvine Meadow 1 Largs Thistle 1
Largs Thistle had to settle for the share of the spoils in a scrappy encounter with second top Irvine Meadow in the battle of the promoted sides to the Premier.
Meadow had been making confident noises before this encounter that they wanted to get one over Largs after they served up a humiliating seven goal demolition job when the sides last met at Barrfields in September.
Largs, arguably at their weakest ebb all season, knew before this Premier match that they had to steady the ship after leaking in nine goals in the past three games.
Martin Orr teamed up with Creag Little in the centre of defence while Stuart Faulds was restored to midfield after not starting since the Scottish Cup win over Kilwinning due to injury, and were missing former-Meadow men Ben Black to injury and Ryan Begley from the starting line-up.
Thistle started from the first whistle on the frontfoot with some good passing moves so it came as a complete surprise when Meadow suddenly countered and scored in under two minutes.
McLaughlin went on a mazy run and managed to blaze in a a diagonal effort from the left hand side which Largs keeper Farrell parried in the air but the ball came bouncing down over the line despite the keeper's best efforts to try and prevent it.
The early goal saw Meadow gain some confidence as they had a good measure of control as Thistle were struggling to clear their lines in the early stages.
And on 20 minutes Thistle carved out a good opening as John Carter raced on to a long shy into the box which somehow evaded the Meadow defence's attention as the Thistle forward blazed a half volley over the bar from close range. 
Meadow felt that they had a good penalty claim when McLaughlin was sent tumbling under a challenge from Faulds but the referee waved away the claims.
Ryan McKie was showing some wing wizardry on the left and beat a few players near the byeline but a defender managed to clear the cross as Largs were beginning to turn the screw towards half-time.
Millar blazed an angled free kick into the wall during a period of sustained pressure.
Largs had an early substitution to make after an injury to McKie with teenager Ross George coming off the bench to provide the creative energy down the wing, with one dangerous cross well saved by the Meadow keeper.
The leveller came on 36 minutes and it was a dangerous curling corner from Millar on the left which caused all sorts of problems for Meadow as keeper Newman and players all stuck out their legs in the stramash only for John Carter to fire over the line at the far post.
The second half started with a head collision between Meadow's Sharpe and Creag Little as both players received treatment.
Sharpe's free kick flashed wide of target as the home side has the better of the openings after the interval, with McLaughlin's blazing effort from the right bringing out a good save from Farrell in the Largs goal.
Thistle had Laurie McMaster to thank for an excellent blocking tackle to deny Meadow sub Paterson the opportunity to race on through on goal.
Gary Fleming picked up a yellow card after a foul and complaining to the ref and things were getting heated as Irvine Meadow boss McGinty also saw red for vociferously complaining about an offside decision.
Thistle were riding their luck at times in the second half and a quick move down the left nearly yielded a winning goal for Meadow.
McGuire and Pearson were involved and with Paterson having an open goal he couldn't make clean contact as he cracked an effort over the bar from six yards.
Sub Scott Adam came off the bench but received an early caution from the referee as Largs were desperately looking for an opening. Paul Harkins also came off the bench to replace Carter in the final minutes for Thistle.
Largs had a late opportunity with Fleming, who put in a typically industrious shift, curling an effort well over the bar with time running out.
Meadow perhaps edged the second half but Thistle defended resolutely enough to earn their point and will feel that they perhaps should have got another goal when they were on top of matters before the break.
Given Largs have had a testing time of it with injuries and absences in recent weeks, one victory, two draws and a solitary defeat in the past four fixtures is certainly not the worst outcome and keeps Largs in a good position to rise up the table when the league re-commences following the massive double header against Hurlford.
LARGS: Farrell, Orr, McMaster, Miller, Little, Faulds, Muir, Fleming, Carter, Struthers, McKie. Subs: Adam, George, Harkins, Begley, McGowan (GK). 
IRVINE: Newman, McLennan, Latta, Gow, Millar, Spence, McGuire, Slooves, McLaughlin, Pearson, Sharpe. Subs: Connolly, Wells, Paterson, Bannister.#
Photo: John Keachie