Saints edge derby thriller

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The match of the day last Saturday looked as though it would be the South of Scotland League encounter at Meadow Park where Threave Rovers played hosts to Stewartry rivals St Cuthbert Wanderers – and that is how it was, turning out to be an exciting and entertaining spectacle.

The visitors went ahead after only a couple of minutes when Ross McCrindle crashed the ball into the Threave net from close in.

In the 25th minute the Castle Douglas side drew level when Sam Warren found the head of Jamie Struthers with a cross, but seven minutes later Craig Rudd restored Saints’ lead with a shot from the edge of the six-yard box.

The Kirkcudbright side took their slender lead into the break and after the restart, although there were goal-scoring chances for both teams, none of them found the net and Saints ran out the winners to take a valuable three points as they chase the league leaders, Dalbeattie Star.

Saints have now beaten Stewartry rivals home and away this season and have put themselves into a very good challenging position with games in hand over the top two.

The only other match that managed to beat the weather was at Galabank, where Mid-Annandale played Heston Rovers on the 3G pitch. The Maryfield side were the first to settle and controlled the match from the start. And in the 15th minute Gary Tweedie was pulled down just inside the 18-yard box and was awarded a penalty as a result. Jamie Phillips stepped up and fired the ball into the top right corner to open the scoring.

The same two players were again involved when the second goal came just before the half-time whistle when a Phillips cross found the head of Tweedie to hit the net from eight yards out.

After the restart Mid-Annandale were thrown a lifeline when Phillips scored an own goal as he attempted a clearance but on the hour mark a shot from Sean Kevan came off the crossbar and Jonathan Boyd was first to react to control the ball and pass to Grant Learmont who shot home from 25 yards for Heston’s third and eventual winning goal.

Mids’ second goal was another own goal in the 71st minute when this time a clearance came off keeper Keiron McCulloch and ended up in the net to complete the scoring.

Heston manager Raymond Boyd said after the match: “We were looking forward to playing on the surface and we played some excellent football today. In the first half we were unstoppable with everyone playing their part in the build-up to the second and third goals. We had some great individual performances from Jonathan Boyd, Paul Gray and Jamie Phillips but man of the match was keeper Keiron McCulloch. He pulled off five or six great saves when Mids were pushing for an equaliser.”

Mid-Annandale secretary George Trudt agreed with this assessment when he commented: “This was a game of two halves with Heston good in the first. Their keeper earned them the points in the second half.”

Results from Saturday, January 19

South of Scotland League

Creetown v Wigtown and Bladnoch – match postponed

Dalbeattie Star v Fleet Star – match postponed

Mid-Annandale 2, Heston Rovers 3

Newton Stewart v Nithsdale Wanderers – match postponed

Threave Rovers 1, St Cuthbert Wanderers 2

South Challenge Cup – Round One

Crichton v Abbey Vale – match postponed