CREETOWN 2 NEWTON STEWART 3
Newton Stewart kept up their challenge for this season’s South of Scotland League title but only after almost throwing away a three goal lead which left the Creesisders hanging on by a thread against a fighting Creetown outfit.
The visitors were the first to settle into their passing game and following some good outfield play a twenty-five yarder from striker Robert Middleton just missed the target in the first few minutes. In the tenth minute Creetown fired their first real chance over the Newton crossbar after the Creesiders central defender Micky Wilson was off the field receiving treatment to a leg knock which subsequently saw him miss the second half of the match. Almost immediately at the other end Johnny Fisher drew a good save out of Creetown keeper Callum Murray before a Lewis Richardson header from a corner was cleared off the goal line. In the twenty-second minute the Creetown keeper again did well to hold a free kick from Ryan McKie, but the pressure continued and when the ball was only partially cleared it was met on the volley by Robert Middleton on the edge of the eighteen yard box and ended up looping high into the net for what was an unsaveable shot and the goal of the match. The same player had a good chance of a second before the break after some good play from defender Kyle McCutcheon but again the keeper was the saviour.
Five minutes after the re-start Newton went two ahead when some good play from Richardson set up a shot for substitute Allan McKie whose effort seemed saveable but went low into the net through the goalkeeper’s hands. On the hour mark the home side had the opportunity to come back into the match when they were awarded a penalty which was taken by Micky Sutherland who missed the target and the chance was gone. Six minutes later Ryan Mckie found himself in space to run in on the Creetown goal but he too missed the target before, in the sixty-ninth minute, a corner on the right found Johnny Fisher at the back post to bundle the ball over the line with his chest for goal number three for the visitors. However, Creetown then started to show their fighting spirit and almost from the kick off went upfield which ended with Sutherland scoring with a great solo effort to make amends for the penalty miss. Two minutes later the same player put his side right back into the match when a deflected shot found the net past keeper Wayne Doyle. From there until the end of the match Creetown threw everything at their visitors and although coming close against what had become a disorganised defence they could not find an equaliser although coming close on several occasions. Newton Stewart held out to keep their title ambitions on track but will feel that they have to improve on their second half performance if they hope to maintain it. On the other hand Creetown should be credited for the way they did not let their heads go down and fought back to come narrowly to winning a point.