Dalbeattie Star finally got the result they have been waiting for all season on Saturday as they returned from Gretna with a 4-2 victory.
A hat-trick from Steve Degnan and a goal from Phil Middlemiss earned the Islecroft outfit the points which moved them up to 12th in the Lowland League table.
While the performances of Richie Maxwell’s side haven’t been matched by results for the most part this season, Star headed for Raydale Park determined to put that right and secure their first-ever league win there.
They started well and were a goal up in seven minutes, Degnan sending home keeper Cameron Copland the wrong way from the penalty spot after Declan Tremble was tripped by Daniel Martins.
Star were well in control and their dominance was rewarded midway through the half when they were awarded another penalty. This time, Lee Wells was fouled; once again, Degnan made no mistake.
The home side were struggling badly but whatever manager Chris Humphreys said to them at half-time clearly worked as, within six minutes of the restart, they were sensationally back on level terms.
Both goals came from Star not dealing with a couple of corners. Centre-back Martins headed past Vinnie Parker to pull one back and, barely a minute later, Dean Makunike pounced on a loose ball in the Star area and shot high into the net to bring Gretna right back into the match.
This was a huge blow to Star but they took the setbacks in their stride and were soon back in the lead. Degnan completed his hat-trick with a superb goal as he turned brilliantly at the edge of the box and fired high past Copland from 18 yards.
And the points were sealed in the 72nd minute when substitute Middlemiss headed home Connor Graham’s cross.
This time, there was no way back for Gretna and Star cruised through to the end of the match.
Star’s next league match is a home game against bottom-of-the-table Vale of Leithen and victory would open up a healthy nine-point gap over the Borders side.
But, before then, they have a cup double header, starting with a trip to Broadwood to face Cumbernauld Colts in the first round of the South of Scotland Challenge Cup.
That’s followed by the first round of the senior Scottish Cup on Saturday, September 21, when Gala Fairydean Rovers visit Islecroft.