Largs Thistle 1, Ashfield 2

Largs were knocked out of the South Challenge Cup on Saturday after a toothless display against First Division Ashfield in monsoon-like conditions at Barrfields.

Heavy rain lashed down as the visitors burst into a two goal lead in the fourth round tie - though Largs halved the deficit before half-time, and were expected to mount a second half fightback.

However, too many chances were wasted - and though Thistle were aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty, Ashfield always looked dangerous on the counter and could have added another before full-time.

Thistle were missing key defender Cory Hughes, and number one Joe Wilton, and Ashfield had a chance in the opening minutes but the effort was cleared.

The visitors had another chance as Largs keeper Eliasz Zalewski rushed off his line to block, but the offside flag was raised.

Thistle's first opening came with Darryl Duffy sending in an angled header which was saved by the Ashfield keeper.

Simon McBryde's deflected effort from distance found Will Sewell on the left and his 12-yard strike tested the Ashfield keeper Lochhead, who palmed it out for a corner on 19 minutes.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Will Sewell chance saved Will Sewell chance saved (Image: Newsquest)

Two minutes later, Lewis Davidson sent in a free kick piledriver from 25 yards which was well held by Lochhead.

Ashfield took the lead on 19 minutes with a high quality strike as Jonathan Black cut in from the right wing and launched a low rifled shot into the bottom left corner from the edge of the area.

And Shaun Grady doubled the visitors' advantage on 33 minutes as he accepted a lay-off before diagonally racing into the box and slamming the ball low into the bottom right corner.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: Ashfield score their second at Barrfields ParkAshfield score their second at Barrfields Park (Image: Newsquest)

The loss of the second goal was a shock to the system for Largs, who pulled a goal back on 38 minutes as Ryan McCreath leapt highest to direct a header into the top right corner of the net.

Thistle were snapping at Ashfield's heels for the remainder of the half with David Ramsay's quick-fire effort from the edge of the box saved by Lochhead who narrowed the angle.

McCreath got on the end of a free kick which was only partially cleared but his long range effort was deflected over the bar.

The second half didn't start off so well for Largs, with Ashfield coming close to restoring their two goal advantage as they struck the left-hand post.

Largs and Millport Weekly News:

Will Sewell then brought out the best in the Ashfield keeper as his curling effort from 18 yards was beaten around the post.

Sewell was again unlucky as he cut in from the left but his effort was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Lochhead as the chances kept coming for Thistle who were totally dominating.

Ashfield had a late counter-attack which they blasted across the face of goal, but Thistle spurned more opportunities - with late calls for a penalty kick waved away after skipper Scott Adam was sent tumbling in the box.

Thistle certainly had plenty of intensity about their play but lacked the finishing touch which deserted them against an Ashfield side who soaked up the pressure and took their chances to make it through to the next round - gaining revenge in the process for their Junior Cup exit at the hands of Stuart Davidson's men just two weeks previously.

LARGS: Zalewski, McLeod, Devine, McCreath, Forbes, Faulds, Ramsay, Davidson, Sewell, Duffy, McBryde. Subs: Adam, McMaster, Martin, Cumming, McLean, Johnston (GK).