Newton stretch lead at top

Clever footwork from Thomson keeps himself out of trouble as he charges the Nithsdale lines. SGGY 240214 5
Clever footwork from Thomson keeps himself out of trouble as he charges the Nithsdale lines. SGGY 240214 5

Newton Stewart extended their lead at the top of the South of Scotland League to seven points on Saturday.

The Creesiders edged a narrow 3-2 victory over Mid-Annandale as Nithsdale Wanderers recorded a 4-1 win over Fleet Star to take them into second place for the run-in.

Newton Stewart did not find it plain sailing against an eager young Mids team playing their last league game of the season.

Following good play from both sides, the Creesiders took the lead through Liam Muir in the 33rd minute to give the Wigtownshire side a slender one-goal advantage at the break.

A Connor Murray free kick levelled the match seven minutes after the restart but two minutes later Newton were awarded a penalty when Ryan McKie was upended in the box and Dean Thomson duly dispatched the ball into the net to restore the visitors’ lead.

With three minutes left to play the home side squared the match once again through a Murray penalty with central defender Micky Wilson being sent off for a second yellow card offence.

A share of the points looked likely but well into time added on the never-say-die attitude of Newton paid off when Curtiss Wilson laid the ball off to Calum Dunn who slammed it home from 20 yards through a ruck of players.

Nithsdale Wanderers also took a slender lead into the break at Gatehouse with striker Roman Soltys making his mark a minute before the half-time whistle.

The Sanquhar side extended their lead in the 63rd minute when Colin Kirkpatrick scored following a goalmouth scramble and two minutes later goal number three came from a free kick by Soltys.

With a minute left to play Corie Thomson was brought down in the box and his brother, Nathan, scored from the spot. The visitors were not finished, however, and right on the final whistle Soltys completed his hat-trick with goal number four for the Sanquhar side.

Crichton beat a young Annan Athletic side at Hospital Park in a Challenge Cup second round tie with goals coming from Graeme Bell, Jamie Philips and Russell Thomson, although Annan made a comeback to level the match after the Dumfries team had gone two goals in front. David Ruddick missed a penalty for Crichton but they held on to progress to the next round of this competition.

Heston Rovers and Lochar Thistle fought out an exciting 3-3 thriller at Palmerston Park to force the cup tie into extra time where the home side found two goals to put them into round three.

There were three Challenge Cup first round ties scheduled to be played, although the match at Meadow Park between Threave Rovers and Abbey Vale was postponed as the pitch being unplayable.

Lowland League side and Challenge Cup holders Dalbeattie Star beat Stewartry rivals St Cuthbert Wanderers 7-3 at Islecroft.

Jamie Struthers and Hugh Cameron struck in the first five minutes to give Star a great start to the match but Saints settled and came back to score through Ross Hunter and Stephen Degnan to square. However, Star had plenty in reserve and goals from Struthers, Lewis Sloan and an own goal from Adam Johnstone gave the home side a comfortable 5-2 advantage at the break.

Six minutes after the restart Degnan gave Saints a glimmer of hope but a long defensive kick-out from young keeper Euan Drysdale deceived the visiting keeper and ended up in the back of the net for goal number six. Paul Cook put Star in seventh heaven before the end of the match.

Wigtown and Bladnoch switched their game against Creetown to Blairmount’s synthetic pitch to try to catch up on postponed matches and ran out easy winners by 12-1 to progress to round two.

Results from Saturday, February 22

South of Scotland League

Fleet Star 1 Nithsdale Wanderers 4

Mid-Annandale 2 Newton Stewart 3

Challenge Cup second round

Crichton 3 Annan Athletic 2

Heston Rovers 3 Lochar Thistle 3 (Lochar won 5-3 after extra time)

Challenge Cup first round

Dalbeattie Star 7 St Cuthbert Wanderers 3

Wigtown and Bladnoch 12 Creetown 1

Threave Rovers v Abbey Vale, postponed