Newton Stewart 5 Dalbeattie Star 3
History was made on Saturday when Newton Stewart defeated league champions Dalbeattie Star in what will be the last competitive match played on grass at Blairmount Park.
The pitch is being replaced with the installation of a 3G pitch this summer.
Newton Stewart showed due respect for their visitors conquests’ this season and formed a guard of honour to applaud them onto the the pitch before the match but then went all out to inflict only their second league defeat this season.
The home side had an edge to their play with virtually nothing at stake except the three points, which would not affect league table placings, and the fact that they wanted to end the season on a high.
There was a lively start to the contest and in the ninth minute Alistair Fisher cam close for the home side before a Micky Sutherland effort was off target.
In the 16th minute, though, the visitors took the lead when a cross was deflected off the head of a defender and flew across goal with Jak Digwall the first to pounce to fire a header into the net to open the scoring.
Star’s joy did not last long and three minutes later Calum Dunn levelled the match from an acute angle close in.
The game was very even at this point and for the next 20 minutes or so, with chances falling at both ends but with defences on top. However, five minutes from the interval the Creesiders took the lead when Sutherland sent over a corner from the right which Liam Muir rose above the Star defence to head into the net.
Four minutes later things got even better for the home side when they scored a third goal, again from a Sutherland corner on the right. This time Lewis Dunn was unmarked at the back post to slide the ball under the diving keeper to give Newton a 3-1 half-time advantage.
Eleven minutes after the restart Star were right back into the match when a Lewis Sloan cross found prolific scorer Scott Milligan at the far post to reduce the deficit to one. A minute later Star were awarded a penalty for an infringement inside the box and Milligan made no mistake to record his 52nd goal of the season.
Almost from the kick-off Star were again in possession and as Sloan bore down on keeper Harry Fidler his attempted lob over the keeper’s head went over the crossbar.
In the 66th minute the visitors almost regained the lead when the Newton players were relieved to see a Milligan free kick find the upright and be cleared to safety.
But with nine minutes left to play, a Calum Dunn cross found the head of Sutherland, Newton’s top scorer of the season, to give the home side the lead once again.
However, two minutes later the home side were reduced to 10 men when Newton’s player of the year, Alistair Fisher, received a straight red card after clashing with Star keeper Alister Cathro. The 10 men played out of their skins to prevent the champions from coming back at them and, in fact, with two minutes to go increased their lead to two when Muir volleyed home at the second attempt after his first effort on goal had been deflected.
This was a superb team effort from Newton Stewart and one worthy of marking the historic occasion.
Newton Stewart; Fidler, Henry, Welsh, Richardson, Patterson, Blain, Sutherlnd, L. Dunn, Muir, Fisher, C. Dunn, Subs; Hyslop, Taylor and Gallachar.
Dalbeattie Star; Cathro, McMurdo, Wilson, Wells, Muirhead, Ferguson, Cameron, Dingwall, Middlemass, Milligan, Sloan, Sub. Parker.