Your online local sport by Millar Stoddart

Ten-man Lanark United fall short at promotion contenders Bellshill

Injury to Sean Taggart added further misery to a disappointing afternoon for the Moor Park side

Lanark United suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Bellshill Athletic at Rockburn Park last Saturday, playing most of the second half with 10 men and dealt a further blow when Sean Taggart suffered a broken ankle for the Royal Burgh outfit.

Colin Slater’s side fell behind early in the game when Richard Kane headed past Gareth Hallford.

Shaun Gallagher equalised for the Yowes soon after but Alessandro Savarese restored Bellshill’s advantage on the stroke of half time before he extended their lead 10 minutes after the interval.

Lanark have just three games remaining in their Central District Second Division campaign and occupy eighth place in the table, although they will already be focusing on next season.

United fell behind to the home side in the very early stages of the match when they were caught out on the right and a cross was headed home by Kane after only two minutes.

Lanark responded to going behind in the best way possible when they took the game to Bellshill and produced a great chance when Ronan Kearney was set free on the left, evading the Athletic defence, but his effort failed to trouble Bellshill goalkeeper Jordan Brand.

Although Lanark’s persistence paid off when Cammy Lawson found Shaun Gallagher with a great pass and the forward made no mistake with a powerful finish.

Bellshill did threaten the Lanark goal on occasions and it took a great save from Gareth Hallford to keep the scoreline level.

Hallford was called into action again when he produced a fine point-blank save to deny the hosts.

Lanark’s best chance to take the lead came shortly after the half hour mark when Sean Taggart, who had replaced the injured Stewart Annetts, set Kearney free but his effort hit the post.

The woodwork spared Bellshill’s blushes but the home side took the lead moments before the break when Alessandro Savarese found the back of the net from close range.

The second half proved to be a costly one for Lanark and they started on the back foot when David Shaw’s looping header went just wide of Hallford’s goal.

Athletic seemed to be enjoying more success in the aerial battles and a dangerous cross was met by the head of Savarese and his effort evaded Hallford, despite Lanark’s claims of a foul on a defender.

Lanark failed to rally from this set back and were further up against it when Taggart, who had only come on as a substitute, was on the end of a harsh challenge from Shaw which resulted in him taken off.

United were then reduced to 10 men when PJ O’Donnell was ordered off for a second caution.

Hallford and his defence put in a good shift for what was left of the match to keep the score respectable but ultimately it was a poor result and a poor showing from Lanark.

The injury to Sean Taggart later proved to be a broken ankle, ruling him out for the end of the season as the Yowes look to regroup ahead of next year.