Fightback just falls short

This season’s Regional Challenge Cup dominated South football at the weekend with some very exciting first round matches being played.

Nithsdale Wanderers came back from being four goals down against Glasgow University only to lose out by a single goal with the university side winning the match 5-4.

Crichton showed some resistance against Dalbeattie Star at Hospital Park but went down by 3-0 with all the goals coming in the first half. Lewis Sloan opened the scoring for the visitors in the 15th minute when his fierce drive entered the net just inside the upright, giving the home keeper no chance. Gary Kerr found Paul Cook inside the penalty box in the 27th minute to slot home number two and, four minutes later, Kerr himself latched onto a John McBeth pass to find the third and final goal of the game.

Mid-Annandale avenged their previous week’s defeat at the hands of Abbey Vale when they ran out comfortable winners by 5-1 at New Abbey. In the 20th minute Nathan Muir saw the home keeper off his line to score the first goal from 25 yards and, a minute later, Grant Scouler doubled the score with a header from a Matthew Copeland cross. In the 28th minute the goalscorer turned provider when Scouler found Muir with a good crossfield pass to slide in number three from six yards out. Three minutes later Copeland scored his second and his side’s fourth to give Mids a comfortable advantage at the break. In the 69th minute Chris Norvel made the game safe, though Vale scored a consolation a minute later with Lee Malin finding the net following a goalmouth scramble.

Fleet Star were on the wrong end of a rout when Gretna 2008 beat them 12-3 at Raydale Park. Three goals from Adam McMath, doubles from Niall Renwick and Adam Main and a single from Jordan Connelly put the East of Scotland side in easy street by the interval, with Greg Laurie scoring only a single for the visitors. Philip Middlemass added another for Gretna after the restart with, Dean Armstrong grabbing a double to complete the rout, though Dale McCutcheon and Josh Maxwell did manage to score for the visitors.

The match at Maryfield between Heston Rovers and Wigtown and Bladnoch was evenly matched until the 39th minute when Jonathon was pulled back in the penalty box by Adam Dougan with the Wigtown player being sent off and Craig Adamson scoring from the spot. Two minutes from the break a deflected 20-yard shot from Sean Kearney sent the visiting keeper the wrong way. Nine minutes into the second half, a through ball from Gary Tweedie found Sean Kevan in space to lob the keeper from 18 yards. Wigtown battled away and were rewarded with a consolation goal two minutes from time when Ross Drysdale scored from a corner which the Heston defence failed to clear. Heston manager Raymond Boyd commented: “After Wigtown lost a player we dominated play and were it not for some great defending and goalkeeping we could have scored more than we did. I was very pleased with our performance as we more or less controlled the play for most of the game. My players put in an excellent display.”

The match at Blairmount between Newton Stewart and St Cuthbert Wanderers was even until three minutes before the break when Saints were awarded a penalty when Jason Gallacher was adjudged to have fouled Justin Nichol in the box, Ian Millar converting from the spot. Seven minutes after the interval, Millar scored again from a setpiece with a great free kick from 30 yards which found keeper Harry Fidler’s top right corner of the net. With time running out and the home side pushing to take something from the match, substitute Davy McKie ran onto a long pass through the middle to score the visitors’ third goal.

The one South of Scotland League match was at Castle Cary Park where Creetown hosted Threave Rovers, with the visitors running out comfortable winners by 5-0. However, the Castle Douglas side – who have recently been awarded the National Club Licensing from the Scottish Football Association which means they can now progress to Senior football if and when the opportunity arises – only managed to find the net once in the first half when Russell Parker side-footed home just before the half-time break. Singles from Jamie Struthers and Michael Swan gave the visitors a comfortable lead with Parker adding another two to complete his hat-trick as Threave went nap to take the three points.

Results from Saturday, September 22.

Regional Challenge Cup – South, round one

Abbey Vale 1, Mid-Annandale 5

Crichton 0, Dalbeattie Star 3

Glasgow University 5, Nithsdale Wanderers 4

Gretna 2008 12, Fleet Star 3

Heston Rovers 3, Wigtown and Bladnoch 1

Newton Stewart 0, St Cuthbert Wanderers 3

South of Scotland League

Creetown 0, Threave Rovers 3