Thornton Hibs leave it late in five goal thriller

Thornton's late scorer Chris Ireland (stock image)
Thornton's late scorer Chris Ireland (stock image)

The stats for this game read that Thornton had 19 goal-scoring opportunities with nine being on target; Harthill had nine opportunities hitting the target on three occasions.

This would suggest that the margin of victory should’ve been greater but at the end of the day the visitors from West Lothian will feel that they deserved to take something from the game.

Indeed, it was only a late header from substitute, Chris Ireland, that eventually secured all three points for Craig Gilbert’s men.

After the Hibs had squandered a number of opportunities, Harthill striker, Craig Johnston, showed them how it was done by racing from the half-way line before shooting low past Andy Warrender to give the visitors the lead.

And the same man on another day could have put his team out of sight as he had another three chances that he put wide of the goal.

Daniel McNab was desperately unlucky not to make it all-square with a superb curling shot that smacked off the junction of the post and crossbar but the equaliser came in the 39th minute.

Shaun Keatings’ free-kick was only partially cleared allowing Garry Thomson to smash the ball home from 12 yards.

Another free-kick three minutes later was struck in style by McNab giving David McGuinness no chance.

Despite creating lots of chances in the second-half, Thornton just couldn’t put this game to bed and the longer the game went the home supporters were wondering if they might rue this as Harthill were looking lively on the break with Luke Barclay in particular causing the home defence problems.

Seconds after another two chances were squandered by the Hibs, the visitors broke clear with substitute, Greg Fernie snatching the 75th minute equaliser.

Almost immediately Thornton sent on Chris Ireland and he rewarded the Hibs’ management for this decision by heading home Keating’s cross with four minutes left to play.

Thornton Hibs: Warrender, Ford, Crichton, A.Drummond, Shields, Orrock, Keatings, Cooper, B.Anthony, Garry Thomson, McNab. Subs: Ireland, Garry Thomson jnr; Coleman, S.Drummond, Costello.