Penalties bring cup for Newton


(Newton Stewart won 4-3 on penalties after extra time)

Newton Stewart squeezed home in this Haig Gordon Cup first round tie at Blairmount Park last Saturday following a thrilling penalty shoot out.

These two sides met at Meadow Park in a League Cup first round tie when the result was similar but in favour of the Castle Douglas side. Bearing in mind the closeness of the last contest it was always expected that this encounter would also be close and that’s exactly how it turned out to be.

All the early pressure came from the visitors with the best effort coming after only five minutes play when Newton keeper Harry Fidler had to be at his best to keep striker Jamie Struthers at bay. Threave continued to dominate and after eighteen minutes, Michael Swan went close before the same player’s corner set up Alan Ingles five minutes later but his header also missed the target. A Danny Dunglinson effort then smashed off the Newton crossbar before a Scott Wilby free kick was superbly saved by keeper Fidler. Seven minutes later Wilby saw another attempt go the wrong side of the upright a minute before Struthers again found the crossbar with Fidler beaten. Newton’s best chance of the first half came five minutes before the break when Martyn Henry tested keeper Stefan Rajovic who made a good save to keep the game level going into the break.

Threave started the second half very much as they had done in the first and piled the pressure on the Newton goal with a Struthers effort being cleared off the line by defender John Patterson. The home side then began to play much better and were disappointed when some good play from Henry found Gary Smith with space only to see his powerful shot from eighteen yards beat the keeper but find the crossbar. Ten minutes into the second half Threave’s bad luck continued when a header from defender Andrew Forsyth again found the crossbar just before the home side were about to break the deadlock. Martyn Henry picked up the ball wide on the right and after beating two defenders he fired the ball past the visiting keeper from close in with a defender attempting to clear but only managing to make sure that the ball crossed the line. Threave really went for the jugular after this set-back but some good luck and stout defending kept the visitors out with another Dunglinson effort again striking the crossbar. He and Newtons Johnny Fisher were yellow carded after coming together. With fifteen minutes left to play there was a bit of controversy when keeper Rajovic was alleged to have handled the ball outside his box and was booked only to pull off a fine stop from the resultant free kick from Jonathon Hill.

Two minutes later though, the game was all square when a long ball found an unmarked Alan Ingles who managed to head flick the ball past the advancing Fidler in the Newton goal. Substitute Andrew McEwan had been introduced to the proceedings earlier and his speed and off-the-ball running was causing trouble in the Threave defence who had to play much deeper than previously which took the pressure of the Newton defence.

The striker had a couple of good opportunities with a high lob missing the target and another finding the Threave keeper again in fine form. The keeper came to Threave’s rescue again in the final minute of regulation time when a Patterson header was net-bound before the keeper leapt into action to ensure a thirty minute extra time period would be required.

Four minutes into the extra period, Threave striker Scott Milligan scored a superb goal from close in having turned his marker after controlling the ball perfectly to give the visitors the lead for the first time. There were no more goals in the first period but one minute into the second a McEwan header again brought the best out of the Threave keeper before substitute Micky Sutherland squared the match in the twenty third minute to send the contest into a penalty shoot out. Keeper Harry Fidler saved Threave’s first and third efforts while keeper Stefan Rajovic only managed to save Newtons third attempt and with all other penalties managing to find the net the home side ran out winners by four penalties to three with Harry Fidler deservedly being named as Newton’s man of the match.