Newton Stewart 3, Fort William 1
A terrific hat-trick from striker Liam Muir gave put Newton Stewart into the second round of the William Hill Scottish Cup for this first time since the competition was re-vamped in season 2007/2008.
This William Hill Scottish Cup first round replay tie was played at Trammondford Park by courtesy of Wigtown and Bladnoch Football Club as Blairmount is still not available with the construction of the new 3G pitch.
Having played out a goalless draw last weekend, both teams showed intent from the start to ensure this was not the case this time around, with the Creesiders’ striker Liam Muir being man of the match with a hat-trick.
The first 10 minutes or so were hectic, with both teams playing at speed although the first real chance on goal came in the 12th minute when a Stewart Taylor effort was headed clear. Ten minutes later, Ryan McKie was clean through on goal but he was adjudged to have been offside and a minute later the same player found space to test the visiting keeper but his shot was weak.
In the 24th minute, with Newton Stewart dominating, Johnny Fisher saw his effort fly high over the Fort William crossbar and then a Calum Dunn effort saw his shot well handled by keeper Robert Donaldson. From a McKie corner on the right, Dean Thomson headed narrowly past at the back post before Dunn saw another attempt go close as the home side continued to pressurise the Highland League team.
The pressure was rewarded in the 32nd minute when Fisher played in McKie on the right wing to cross the ball into the middle for Muir to connect perfectly to place a curling shot past the stranded keeper. Seven minutes later the home support were euphoric when the same duo combined again for Muir to head McKie’s cross in a the back post.
Newton continued to dominate proceedings and four minutes from the break the dynamic duo combined again only to see Muir’s superb effort saved by the Fort keeper before the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Michael Gillespie saw red having been given a second yellow card.
The home side then received a let-off after defender John Lowe made a rare mistake to allow Gordon McCarroll to run through on keeper Harry Fidler, who made a great stop to maintain his side’s two-goal advantage, which they took into the break.
The Creesiders continued to push forward as the second half started and three minutes in Calum Dunn came close once again. In the 52nd minute, McKie and Taylor combined as they made space but the latter’s effort was just off target.
Eleven minutes later, the visitors were thrown a lifeline when defender Martyn Henry was adjudged to have brought down McCarroll as he ran though on goal and was red-carded for a last man challenge. Darren Quigg stepped up to send keeper Fidler the wrong way from the spot.
Two minutes later Calum Dunn had an opportunity to restore the two-goal advantage but his effort on goal was well defended.
But in the 72nd minute Newton’s two-goal lead was restored when central defender Dean Thomson found McKie on the right wing and he, in turn, found Muir with a great cross when the striker connected with the ball with a diving header for the goal that ensured victory with the visitors looking well beaten by this time.
Six minutes from time McKie was involved again and this time found substitute Robert Middleton whose header was just off target.
Newton Stewart played out the match as they had done throughout: very much in command as they progressed to round two for the first time since the competition was revamped in season 2007/2008.
Newton Stewart will now play Culter Juniors in a home match on Saturday, October 5, following this very well deserved victory.