Newton Stewart 2 Wigtown and Bladnoch 2.
John McNaught reports from Blairmount Park.
This local derby match was always expected to be close and that’s exactly the way that it turned out with the teams sharing four goals and the points.
First exchanges were fairly even although Wigtown’s Blair Dougan was first to test Newton ‘keeper Harry Fidler after five minutes. Six minutes later following some good play, Dean Black’s effort flew high and wide over the Wigtown crossbar. The game settled down with both defences on top but, with twenty minutes played, a long ball from Newton defender Micky Wilson found striker Robert Middleton who was only inches away from heading the home side into the lead. Eight minutes later the Creesiders did take the lead when Ryan McKie unleashed a left foot shot from twenty-five yards which beat the Wigtown ‘keeper going in off the upright.
Newton’s joy was short lived as Wigtown went immediately into attack mode and a defensive mix-up between ‘keeper Fidler and central defender Wilson allowed Dougan the easiest of tap-ins from ten yards into an empty Newton net. Five minutes from the break the visitors had the opportunity to take the lead when striker Robert Jamieson’s header from a free kick few across goal but there were no takers and a great chance was lost. However, within a minute the home side restored their lead and again McKie was involved when his cross-field pass from right to left found the head of Martyn Henry at the back post. He duly headed the ball home to give his side a half-time break advantage.
Wigtown dictated play at the beginning of the second -half but the Newton defence was resolute although a good out-field move on the hour mark put Dougan in but his effort just missed the target. Thirteen minutes from time the match was all square again when a free-kick on the right found central defender Scott Forrester who lashed the ball past ‘keeper Fidler for an equaliser.
Play then raged from end to end with chances falling to both teams and in the ninetieth minute Newton substitute Jason Gallacher looked to have sealed victory when he rose unchallenged for a header close in but screwed the ball past the upright when it looked easier to score.
This was a very good game of football which was a credit to South football with some good skilful play from players on both sides and in the end a draw was probably about the right result from a fairly even match.