Fort William 0 Newton Stewart 0
Following a long journey, Newton Stewart returned from their William Hill Scottish Cup first round encounter with a goalless draw.
However, this does not tell the whole story as this contest was packed with goalmouth incidents at both ends.
The home side dominated the first 45 minutes, with the South of Scotland side showing up well after the break.
With the first encounters fairly even, Newton keeper Harry Fidler was tested after seven minutes by Fort William’s liveliest player Gordon McCarroll and had to be at his best to prevent an opener. A couple of minutes later the visitors had central defender Dean Thomson to thank when he cleared a netbound shot from McCarroll off the goalline with Fidler beaten.
Iain MacLellan was next up with an effort after finding space on the left but his shot was well off target and did not trouble Fidler.
Play was being confined mainly to midfield with the defences on top and any shots from the home side being taken from long range. On the half-hour MacLellan’s free kick from 20 yards just missed the target although keeper Fidler looked to have it covered.
Four minutes later a good McCarroll effort was deflected by Thomson for a corner which was easily dealt with by Fidler. Five minutes from the break Fort William had the ball in the net but the referee’s whistle had blown prior to that for an offside.
As the referee blew for the interval the Highland League side looked the likelier of the two teams to find a goal but better was to come from the South side after the break.
Newton Stewart started the second half showing great intent as they took the game to their opponents. In the first 10 minutes, the visitors saw efforts from Johnny Fisher and Calum Dunn go close although 10 minutes into the second period Fort’s Gary Farquhar saw his effort sail over Fidler’s crossbar.
On the hour Newton saw their best chance go abegging when a long throw in from Thomson was headed into the goalmouth by Jason Gallacher but Liam Muir’s hurried attempt to score was fired over the bar with only keeper Robert Donaldson to beat.
Newton Stewart continued to dominate the second half and with 10 minutes left keeper Donaldson saved Ryan McKie’s shot from 18 yards. Two minutes later a rare defensive slip by Newton allowed McCarroll through one on one with Fidler but his shot was well off target.
As play surged from end to end Newton substitute Stewart Taylor saw his effort go narrowly past the upright and from there on the home defence were under severe pressure. Several players had efforts either saved or missed. With the referee adding five minutes Donaldson excelled to keep his side in the tie with some heroics as the Newton players seemed to line up to try to beat him as they attempted to score with a series of headers and shots.
Unfortunately, the home defence held out and Donaldson pulled off a tremendous save in the 94th minute from substitute Martyn Henry’s header.
The replay will be at Trammondford Park by courtesy of Wigtown and Bladnoch on Saturday, September 21, with a 3pm kick-off.