Your online local sport by Millar Stoddart

Lanark United thrash Johnstone Burgh to end league season on a high

United are aiming to book a place in the last 16 of the Central League Cup on Saturday

Lanark United concluded their Central District Second Division campaign with a third straight victory as they hammered Johnstone Burgh 5-2 at Moor Park last Saturday, with the Yowes now occupying sixth place in the table.

The Royal Burgh outfit could slip to seventh if results go against them, but they can be pleased with how they finished their season.

New manager Colin Slater has much to ponder during the summer break, with the next young crop of United players impressing during his short spell in charge.

United started their season slowly and their committee relieved Paul Burns of his duties in February, believing that the former Carluke Rovers manager was the right man to lead the club forward.

Slater’s side have impressed in recent weeks and asked questions of the visitors in the early stages, with Danny McHugh finding Ronan Kearney with a slick pass but his effort was wide of the target.

Johnstone soon began to fashion scoring chances of their own, when a dangerous corner was met by the head of Steven Fitzpatrick but Gareth Hallford produced a sensational save low to his right to deny the visitors.

Callum Strang started in midfield for United after impressing as a substitute in their midweek clash against Bellshill Athletic, and the youngster put his side ahead when he met a Cammy Lawson header from a corner kick.

 Strang repaid the faith shown in him by the Lanark manager by doubling their lead just 60 seconds later when he got on the end of a Scott Schoneville cross to divert the ball past Cameron Sinclair in the Johnstone goal.

Ronan Kearney almost added a third for Lanark when his deflected free kick was parried wide by Sinclair before being scrambled clear.

Johnstone pulled a goal back soon after the half hour mark when David Edwards collected a stray United pass and went on a mazy run before stroking the ball past the onrushing Hallford.

Lanark thought they had regained their two-goal advantage on the stroke of half time when Danny McHugh had the ball in the back of the net but his effort was disallowed after he was judged to have committed a foul on Sinclair.

United started the second half brightly and were causing problems down the flanks all game, with a low Lawson cross finding Kearney but his effort went narrowly wide.

Lanark had the ball in the net for the fourth time after Peter O’Donnell brought a good cross down on his chest before striking a ferocious volley but he was judged to have been offside.

United were creating most of the attacking chances but carelessness in defence allowed Johnstone to break through on goal with Hallford called into action once again with a fine save.

Johnstone’s chance acted as something of a warning for Lanark, with Martin Smith then going on a surging run and finding Kearney with a pinpoint pass and the forward evaded hid marker before firing the ball past Sinclair.

Substitute Jordan Callan then released Kearney and he drove towards goal before finding Sconeville who added Lanark’s fourth goal from close range.

However Lanark failed to act on their earlier warning at the back and a misplaced pass allowed Jack Heron to collect the ball and beat Hallford with a terrific chipped effort.

Kearney then completed the scoring after meeting a squared pass by Shaun Gallagher to round off a strong performance and one that will give Lanark plenty of confidence to take from as they look to reach the last 16 of the Central League Cup.