Dalbeattie Star 3, Newton Stewart 2
This first league match of the season, at Islecroft, should have been an easy three points for Star, under the new management of John McBeth, an ex-Annan Athletic player.
However, it turned anything but easy for the home side. Although thgey ran out winners, they were hanging on by the skin of their teeth in the final five minutes as the visitors hammered their goal looking for an equaliser.
Newton arrived with only 14 players due to holidays and other commitments with Lewis Dunn playing his first match for the club at full back. Robert Boyd accompanied Jason Gallacher in the centre of defence, while Gary Smith made his comeback after a period with Stranraer.
With Micky Sutherland the lone striker, the visitors took the game to Star with the Sutherland, Stewart Taylor and Calum Dunn all producing some good chances but failing to convert, andh the Star keeper turning on a brilliant performance.
However, the pressure failed to pay off and it was Star who took the lead when they broke through. But 10 minutes from the break Taylor put Newton level when he half-volleyed into the net from 20 yards. The visitors continued to impress but were hit on the counter-attack when McBeth was fouled inside the box and prolific scorer Scott Milligan, a target for Queen of the South, made no mistake from the penalty spot to send the teams in at the break with a slender advantage to the home side.
Newton continued to play well in the second half but Milligan’s quality showed through once again when he made space to score from 12 yards to increase Star’s advantage. Newton refused to buckle, though, and when a Stephen Beggs free kick was headed home by Sutherland, the quest for the points could have gone either way.
Having the bulk of the play was not rewarded and the home side held out to take the three points, much to the relief of all connected with Star.
While the champions got off to the best of starts, the effort and quality football displayed by Newton Stewart augurs well for the rest of the season for the Creesiders.