Newton Stewart 6, Heston Roveres 0
This contest had been expected to be a close-run encounter as matches between the two have been in the past but this was not to be the case on this occasion.
In the end, Newton Stewart ran out easy winners.
The visitors will look back at the sending off of David Bradbury as being a turning point in the game but by the half-hour mark when he was red-carded the Creesiders were already a goal ahead and dominating.
The early exchanges were fairly even although mostly confined to midfield play. But with Newton’s Ryan McKie in full flight, it was the home side who looked the likelier to score first. That is exactly what happened in the 16th minute when McKie crossed a superb ball into the Heston goal area and Calum Dunn made no mistake.
The match was very competitive and, with Heston already playing on the 3G pitch at Palmerston Park, it was at a fast pace. With 25 minutes played, the visitors should have squared the match when Sean Kevan was through one on one with keeper Harry Fidler but fluffed his shot and put it past the post.
Five minutes later Heston were reduced to 10 men when Bradbury received a red card for a tackle on Newton central defender Micky Wilson.
Newton dominated proceedings after this but it took until four minutes before the interval for them to find the net again. Following some good work by midfielder Graeme Blain, youngster Robert Middleton found the net for goal number two to give Newton a comfortable advantage at the break.
At the start of the second half the visitors applied early pressure to try to reduce the deficit but Newton’s defence stood strong, including Fidler, who handled the ball confidently and seldom looked troubled by anything that came his way.
This confidence spread throughout the team and in the 53rd minute Middleton showed good pace and footwork to score the third after some fine work by McKie. The goal of the match came in the 65th minute with McKie involved once again and when the ball reached Middleton on the edge of the 18-yard box a deft touch by the youngster deceived two defenders and the striker picked his spot just inside the left upright giving keeper Kieron McCulloch no chance of and giving him his second hat-trick this season.
Three minutes later Newton went nap when a McKie corner was headed into the ground by Jason Gallacher before bouncing over the keeper’s head for a great fifth goal for the Creesiders. With 15 minutes left, Middleton could have had his fourth goal but was denied by keeper McCulloch with a diving save.
Newton had a scare in trying to keep a clean sheet with five minutes to go when Calum Dunn cleared the ball off the line following a goalmouth scramble.
Two minutes later, though, Heston were hit for six when the home side were awarded a penalty with central defender Dean Thomson stepping up to convert from the spot. McCulloch guessed right and got a hand to the ball but the power with which it had been hit carried it into the net.
This was an excellent performance by Newton Stewart who now have only two matches to play before the festive break. They are a league game against Mid-Annandale this Saturday and a Potts Cup semi-final against Wigtown and Bladnoch on December 14, with both games Blairmount Park.