Hurlford United 0, Largs Thistle 1

STUART FAULDS struck the only goal of the game as Largs Thistle climbed to fourth place in the Premier Division table with a hard-fought win at Blair Park on Tuesday.

It was a fourth straight league win for Stuart Davidson's side, and a seventh victory in the last nine - and with five games to go, there's still plenty of scope to finish even higher.

Thistle had overcome Hurlford 3-1 in one of their best performances in a stop-start first half of the season at Barrfields and they got off to a good start at Blair Park.

Laurie McMaster skillfully weaved his way through the home defence and fired just beyond the goal on eight minutes, and then tricky winger Jamie Martin forced a low save from the Hurlford keeper four minutes later.

The hosts had their first dangerous attack of note on midway through the half, but Whittaker blasted wide, and a minute later Martin had another opportunity but fired over.

Thistle's top scorer Will Sewell swooped for a free kick but his header flashed over the top.

The first half ended goalless but with Largs very much holding the upper hand, and the visitors' pressure continued after the break when David Ramsay raced down the wing and teed up Sewell to go close with a header.

And Ramsay's creativity was very much of things when Largs did make the breakthrough three minutes later, with his next cross picking out Faulds for a well placed effort which gave the Hurlford keeper no chance.

Largs survived a scare a moment later as Hurlford thundered an effort off the post in reply, but the visitors remained the dominant force in the game - though that didn't mean there weren't any hearts in the travelling supporters' mouths when a shot towards Joe Wilton's goal required a deflection to take it away from the target.

Hurlford's hopes of pulling the game level suffered a major blow when Lewis Morrison was shown a red card on 72 minutes, and Largs nearly doubled their advantage three minutes later when home keeper David Wilson pulled off a last gasp save to prevent team-mate Calum Watt scoring an own goal.


And the visitors nearly made the most of that narrow squeak when Wilton had to look smart to beat away a Kris Kerr free kick.

Largs, though, would have been justified in feeling hard done by if they'd come away with anything less than full points, and skipper Scott Adam almost added a second when he got his head on the end of another top quality Ramsay delivery, only to see Wilson make an alert save.

Hurlford had the last chance of the match on 88 minutes but a header drifted wide as Thistle secured a third straight clean sheet and a move above Darvel, Pollok and Auchinleck Talbot into fourth spot in the table.

Next up for Largs is another away day this Saturday, April 20, to face an Irvine Meadow side whose relegation to the second tier was all but confirmed in Tuesday night's other Premier Division tie, in which Glenafton secured another priceless point in their survival battle by holding champions Beith to a goalless draw at Loch Park.

Thistle's game at Meadow Park on Saturday kicks off at 2pm.



THISTLE: Wilton, McLeod, McMaster, McCreath, Hughes, Faulds, Ramsay, Davidson, Sewell, Adam, Martin, Subs; McGrath, Lapsley, Tennent, Cumming, Lapsley.