Lucky 13 for rampant Rovers

Newton's Calum Dunn wins this encounter against Star's Hugh Cameron
Newton's Calum Dunn wins this encounter against Star's Hugh Cameron

Last Saturday there were five matches scheduled to be played in the South’s most prestigious competition, the Challenge Cup.

The competition involves all the association’s senior clubs – Queen of the South, Stranraer and Annan Athletic – along with the South of Scotland League clubs.

Two of the first round ties were lost due to the weather but in the three that went ahead there were a total of 22 goals scored by the respective winning teams with none in reply by the losers.

The highest score was at Garries Park where the hapless Fleet Star went down by an unlucky 13 goals to nil against Threave Rovers.

Top scorer was Jamie Struthers who netted no fewer than six times, with the others being spread between six players with a single each and an own goal.

James Baty opened the scoring followed by Struthers’ first strike of the day. Michael Swan added number three before Struthers struck again to send the teams in at the break with the visitors holding a four-goal advantage.

Phil Middlemass continued the rout at the start of the second half with Struthers adding three in a row to make it eight. Liam Patterson got in on the act with goal number nine, with Sam Warren finding the net to take his side into double figures. Number 11 came from Struthers, followed by an own goal from Star’s Keiron Marshall, with Sean Milligan completing the scoring to take the tally to 13 without reply.

Following a goal-less first half at Hospital Park, Crichton eventually saw off the challenge of Abbey Vale with a great second-half display that saw the home side find the net four times.

Striker Roman Soltys started the scoring two minutes after the break with a headed goal, followed by another header from Mark Leighfield to double Crichton’s score.

With 15 minutes left to play, Darren Johnstone scored goal number three, Chris Clark having set up all three goals for his team-mates to finish off. Five minutes from time a poor clearance from the Vale keeper was picked up 35 yards from goal by Ross Newlands who fired home for goal number four to put Crichton into the second round of this particular competition.

Dalbeattie Star also cruised into the second round after going nap against Newton Stewart at Blairmount Park although the match was much closer than the scoreline suggests.

A defensive blunder only two minutes into the match gave Star the lead when a loose passback was intercepted by a slick Lewis Sloan to fire into the Newton net to give the visitors an early lead.

The home side came more into the game after the early setback but, when prolific scorer Scott Milligan was left unmarked eight yards from goal, his effort from a cross on the right doubled the visitors score. Seven minutes from the interval, central defender Stuart McPherson rose unchallenged at the back post to head home from a corner on the left.

Although three goals behind at the start of the second half, the home side pushed forward in search of a goal but were punished when Star broke away with Gary Kerr finishing for goal number four. Seven minutes from time the visitors went nap when substitutes Grant Middlemass and Jack McMurdo combined, with the latter scoring from 15 yards.

Results from Saturday, February 16.

South Challenge Cup – Round 1

Creetown v St Cuthbert Wanderers, match postponed

Crichton 4, Abbey Vale 0

Fleet Star 0, Threave Rovers 13

Newton Stewart 0, Dalbeattie Star 5

Wigtown and Bladnoch v Nithsdale Wanderers, match postponed