Thornton Hibs 0, Kennoway Star Hearts 4
It was derby day at Memorial Park in what promised to be an explosive encounter, with both teams pushing for promotion from the North League.
It was a chance for Hibs to close some ground on their opponents but KSH were simply too strong in what was a thoroughly convincing victory.
KSH almost had the perfect start inside two minutes when Field weaved past his marker on the left and swung an inviting cross to the edge of the penalty area, where Simpson crashed a volley narrowly over the crossbar.
Thornton hit back as a free kick was delivered into a dangerous area for Ireland. The striker crashed into Small and, much to the relief of the away support, a free kick was given.
Play raged from end to end in the opening quarter with tackles flying in from all angles. It was a typical derby game and the healthy crowd was enjoying both team’s efforts on a difficult pitch.
KSH started to have more possession in the final third and some last-gasp tackles from the Thornton rearguard were keeping them at bay. However, a foul was conceded 20 yards out and Simpson, just as he has so many times this season, stepped up and curled a terrific free kick past the wall and the home `keeper for the first goal of the game.
With 15 minutes of the half remaining, Thornton looked to get Thomson and Ireland on the ball as often as they could. Kennoway’s defence, superbly marshalled by Lee, handled the barrage and this allowed the away side’s wide players to counter with pace.
On the stroke of half time, Craig burst through the Thornton defence and was crudely fouled 25 yards from goal. Simpson stepped up again but, this time, his shot was blocked. However, but the midfielder showed great vision as he swept a cross into the six-yard box, where Gray volleyed the ball high into the net off the underside of the crossbar.
The second half started and a foul on Gray wide on the right gave KSH another set piece. Simpson was the architect again as his delivery was prodded past Rowbotham by Field for the killer third goal.
Thornton tried various permutations to try and get back into the game but Small dealt with everything that entered his penalty area.
A few substitutions were made from either side as the game was coming to a close. Simpson and Band linked up on the left and Simpson saw his shot rebound off an upright and to safety.
Band with his direct running was causing problems for the home defence and with three minutes left he was sent crashing to the ground for a penalty.
Despite the support’s willingness for the youngster to take the penalty, seniority was the order of the day as Simpson completed the scoring with a well-taken spot kick.
Man of the match for Hibs was Nick McGowan.
Thornton Hibs: Rowbotham, Clark, Drummond, McGowan, Shields, Adam, Crichton, Hepburn, Ireland, Gordon, Thomson Subs: McNab, Gay, Shanks, McNeil, Leslie.
KSH: Small, Boylan, Bremner, Lee, Brewster, Craig, Gay, Byers, Field, Simpson, Gray Subs: Lornie, Band, Thomson, Davidson, Young.