IT’S all nip and tuck at the top of the South of Scotland League which will now go down to the wire to decide this season’s champions.
Results from Saturday, 30th April.
South of Scotland League
Creetown 3 Nithsdale Wanderers 2
Dalbeattie Star 3 St Cuthbert Wanderers 1
Mid-Annandale 1 Heston Rovers 3
Stranraer 5 Abbey Vale 0
Wigtown and Bladnoch 2 Threave Rovers 5
Of the three challengers only St Cuthbert Wanderers lost ground on Saturday when they were beaten by three goals to one by fellow contenders Dalbeattie Star.
Striker Roman Soltys was playmaker for the first two goals when he firstly played in Craig Ferguson and then Scott Milligan to give Star a two goal half time advantage over their Stewartry rivals. There were no more goals until the final five minutes of the match when Adam Johnstone headed Saints back into contention but in the final minute with the visitors pushing for an equaliser Stars Milligan broke up field to round the keeper to secure the three points with goal number three.
The other title contenders, Threave Rovers, were securing their three points in a five goals to two victory at Trammondford Park over Wigtown and Bladnoch. First half goals from Paul Cook and Andrew Donley were countered by a Scott Forrester effort to give the Castle Douglas side a narrow lead at the break.
In the second half Donely scored his second and his sides third with Danny Dunglinson and Cook adding one each with Wigtown scoring a second through Stuart Cluckie.
These results mean that the title race will be decided over the next few games with the three teams, Threave, Dalbeattie and Saints locked together at the top and with Star and Threave playing each other next Saturday this match could decide the destiny of the championship. Nithsdale Wanderers though could have a very big say on the outcome as they have home matches against both Saints and Star in the next week when all will be revealed.
Gale force wind storming across the pitch made it very difficult for both Creetown and Nithsdale Wanderers to control the ball in their encounter at Castle Cary Park. In the 16th minute Nithsdale’s Paul Kearney had a good chance at goal but headed the ball over the bar and Creetown forced a good save out of Richard Dalziell in the Nithsdale goal in the 31st minute. Four minutes before the interval, keeper Dalziell tipped another scoring effort by Creetown round the post for a corner kick but the first half remained goal-less. Three minutes into the second half Ryan McKie opened the scoring for Creetown sending a high swirling ball over the keeper’s head into the net. Seven minutes later Creetown’s top scorer, Scott Mazza, notched their second goal before both Ian Bell and Paul Kearney had excellent efforts saved by the home keeper before Kearney pulled one back for Nithsdale in the 84th minute. Two minutes later Geoffrey Paterson equalised for Nithsdale from the penalty spot but with only four minutes remaining Scot Mazza broke clear of the Nithsdale’s defence to score the winning goal for the home side in which was their final match of the season.
In very blustery conditions at Lockerbie, Mid-Annandale took advantage of the strong wind in the first half when the long ball created problems for Heston Rovers’ defence. The first goal came just before half time when a pass from Mids Ally Sloan found Chris Norvel on the edge of the 18 yard box to fire a shot into the far left of the net giving keeper McCulloch no chance. Immediately after the half time break Heston equalised after good work from Maxwell who found Tweedie with a pass and he shot from 20 yards high into the net. In the 53rd minute Heston took the lead when a cross from McGeorge found Maxwell at the back post and his looping header beat goal-keeper Crolla. In the 65th minute a Sean Kevan corner found Magee at the back post and his low shot beat the Mids’ defence to give Heston Rovers a three goals to one victory.
Heston Manager Raymond Boyd said; “This was a very good display from our lads as we played football, kept the ball, defended well and created chances. We are delighted with the progress of our squad.”
Goals from Ian Millar, Rodey Cooksley, Neil Erskine, Angus Cochrane and Jamie McHarrie gave Stranraer a convincing victory over bottom placed Abbey Vale at Stair Park as the home side completed their league programme ending it on the forty point mark.
South football is reaching a very exciting climax with three Cup finals due between now and a week on Saturday with the league championship also having to be decided during the same period.