Your online local sport by Millar Stoddart

Kerr hat-trick helps Lanark topple Ardeer Thistle

Hugh Kerr was the star man for United last weekend

Lanark United maintained their strong start to the season by beating Ardeer Thistle 3-2 at Moor Park last Saturday thanks to hat-trick hero Hugh Kerr.

The Yowes were ahead after just 30 seconds when Kerr found the back of the net with a ferocious strike.

Ardeer equalised moments later when Jamie Donnelly’s header from a corner beat goalkeeper Gareth Hallford.

Lanark regained the lead on the stroke of half time when Kerr scored from the penalty spot after being brought down inside the box.

Kerr completed his hat-trick with 20 minutes remaining but Thistle replied in the closing stages of the game when Kwaku Nyame fired home from close range.

Lanark should have won this match by a more comfortable margin but a combination of unforced errors and poor finishing saw them overcome their visitors and take second place in the West Region League Two table.

Lanark have found the back of the net 27 times in just eight league outings, level with Lesmahgow for the most in the league, and they made the perfect start when Declan Lafferty’s first time cross into the box was fired high into the Ardeer net by Hugh Kerr.

Although United’s lead lasted a matter of minutes when a dangerous corner was sent to the front post and goalkeeper Gareth Hallford was beaten to the ball by Jamie Donnelly.

Stuart Annetts thought he had put Lanark ahead again when his header seemed destined for the back of the net but Martin Johnston produced a fine save to deny the hosts.

Lanark Cammy Lawson was next to try his luck when the defender charged forward and unleashed a powerful strike that forced Johnston to produce another good save.

United regained the lead moments before the interval when Kerr evaded one defender and weaved into the box before being brought down for a penalty. He dusted himself down and duly made no mistake from 12 yards out, much to the delight of the home dugout.

Colin Slater’s side started the second half strongly when a Shaun Gallagher met a corner but his header went over the crossbar.

Kerr should have had his hat-trick on the hour mark when he found himself through on goal and rounded the onrushing Johnston but he allowed a defender to come in at the last moment and clear the danger.

Kerr then found Ian Watt with a perfect pass but the forward’s strike was straight at Johnston.

While the Royal Burgh outfit were creating chances they were proving to be somewhat wasteful in front of goal, and with only a slender advantage they knew that adding to their tally was vital.

Substitute Jordan Fraser then collected the ball on the right flank for the hosts before beating an opponent and threating a pinpoint pass to Kerr who completed his hat-trick with a composed finish.

Watt could have put the game beyond the reach of Ardeer but his effort flew over the bar.

Lanark created a nervy end to the match when a slack pass from Josh Gracie left Hallford in no man’s land. United’s defence panicked and conceded an indirect free kick after a pass back. Despite the first effort being blocked by the Yowes rearguard, Kwaku Nyame was on hand to collect the ball and beat Hallford.

Thistle battled bravely in the closing stages in a bid to snatch an equaliser but United and are now just one point away from going top of the league.