DALBEATTIES Star lost their unbeaten record on Saturday when they went down by two goals to one to Stranraer at Stair Park.
Results from 16th April
Challenge Cup - Round Two
Mid-Annandale 2 Wigtown and Bladnoch 1
South of Scotland League
Heston Rovers 3 Crichton 3
Newton Stewart 5 Creetown 1
Nithsdale Wanderers 4 Abbey Vale 0
Stranraer 2 Dalbeattie Star 1
Threave Rovers 1 St Cuthbert Wanderers 3
Scott Milligan had put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot but Stranraer struck back to take the three points when Ian Millar converted from the penalty spot and Richard Jones headed the winner three minutes from time. This result, along with St Cuthbert Wanderers’ three goals to one defeat over league leaders Threave Rovers, throws the race for this season’s league title wide open with the Kirkcudbright side now being installed as slight favourites to take the title - although there may well be some twists and turns yet before the season ends and the destination of the title is decided.
Saints took the lead on the nine minute mark at Meadow Park through Gary Redpath but two minutes later the match was all square when Paul Cook found the net for the home side.
Johnny Nichol then put Saints ahead again in the 13th minute with a shot from the edge of the 18 yard box and with three minutes left to play keeper Sean Hutchison brought off a brilliant save to thwart a Threave equaliser.
In a minute of added time Adam Kaseem tied up the three points for the visitors when he broke up field to score as Threave pressed for a leveller to leave the two sides on the 50 point mark but with Saints a game in hand.
Dalbeattie Star have played the same number of games as the Kirkcudbright side and are now two points in arrears.
The league derby match at Maryfield started frantically with Heston Rovers scoring after only 20 seconds when a diagonal long ball was met by McCrone who fired in a cross to the back post. Sean Kevan’s shot was saved by keeper Muirhead but the rebound fell to Alex Maxwell who slotted the ball home. Seven minutes later Gordon Gibson attempted to round the Crichton keeper but Muirhead’s tackle upended Gibson and a penalty was awarded with Craig Adamson scoring from the spot to put the home side two ahead at the break. Crichton, though, got themselves back into the match a minute after the re-start when a long throw from Johnstone was met by Jamie Little and his strike found the back of the Heston net. Two minutes later Crichton were level from the penalty spot as Little converted his second of the day. With play swinging from end to end, Sturrock fouled Little in the box and the striker picked himself up to complete his hat-trick and to give Crichton the lead. With time running out in the final minutes of the game a cross from Colin Gordon found Sean Kevan to score the equaliser for Heston and a share of the points from a match which had been very evenly contested.
Nithsdale Wanderers recorded a comfortable victory over bottom placed Abbey Vale at Sanquhar to take the three points although they still find themselves lying in second bottom spot with 18 points.
Newton Stewart also had a comfortable victory at Blairmount Park in the local derby against Creetown which they won by five goals to one. The Creesiders took the lead in the 14th minute through a Jason Gallacher header and went further ahead nine minutes later when Andrew McEwan latched onto a poor pass back to beat keeper Roddie to the ball which he struck past the diving keeper for goal number two to give the home side a two goal half-time advantage. Although the home side had several good goal scoring chances after the re-start the heroics of keeper Martin Roddie kept them at bay but there was nothing he could do to stop the third goal when striker McEwan sent a glancing header into the net in the 68th minute.
With 15 minutes left to play Sean Taylor headed home from a Stewart Taylor cross and eight minutes later Graeme Blain scored a superb goal after beating a string of defenders as Newton went nap.
Creetown though did not let their heads go down and almost on the final whistle substitute Nathan Thomson scored a consolation goal for the visitors.
Mid-Annandale are through to the semi-final stages of the South Challenge Cup following their narrow two goals to one victory over Wigtown and Bladnoch at Lockerbie.
Mids striker Carlos Crosbie scored a first half brace finding the net in the fifth and 13th minutes. Mids had the ball in the net in the second half through Sean Bell but he was ruled to have been offside and although the visitors pulled a goal back through Ross Drysdale with 10 minutes left it was all too little too late and the home side progressed. Mids will now play Annan Athletic at Galabank on Monday 25th April with the winners playing against either Newton Stewart or Heston Rovers in the final on Wednesday 11th May.