A crowd of 130 braved the cold frosty evening last Friday and were not disappointed with the entertainment provided in the Potts Cup semi-final at Palmerston Park between Heston Rovers and neighbours Crichton.
The visitors had the early pressure and in the 10th minute Scott Alexander opened the scoring when he raced onto a through ball and neatly lobbed it over the advancing Kieran Mcculloch in the Heston goal.
Heston then controlled the match and created chances for Russell Jardine and Jonathan Boyd but their efforts on goal were off target.
In the 22nd minute a Craig Adamson shot was deflected by Fraser Magee inside the box, leaving the keeper rooted to the spot. Russell Jardine set up Darren Brown with a fine pass in 35 minutes and he slotted home from 12 yards to give the home side a lead which they took into the break.
An error from keeper Mcculloch gave Graeme Bell an easy pass into an empty net after 64 minutes to square the match.
Grant Learmont came off the bench and created chances for Magee and Jardine and, with three minutes left to play, Learmont was tripped inside the box, giving Russell Jardine a penalty to win the match and put his side into the Potts Cup final.
They will play the winners of the Newton Stewart versus Wigtown and Bladnoch match, which will be played on a date still to be arranged.
Heston Rovers manager Raymond Boyd said: “Crichton started brightly and scored early. However, once we made a change to our formation we dominated the first half and should have gone in with a higher scoreline.
“Crichton came back into the match with a gift of a goal but we threatened time and time again. The penalty was a stone-waller with no complaints and with Jardine on fine form I had every confidence he would score to win the match, which he did.”
On Saturday Lochar Thistle gave up home advantage to play Wigtown and Bladnoch in the first round of the South Regional Challenge Cup at Trammondford Park and were beaten 3-0.
Ian Millar put Wigtown ahead in the first half from the penalty spot and although Lochar came close on two occasions when Ian Andrew and Mike McGauchie struck the upright, Wigtown cruised home near the end with goals from substitute Dean Agnew and Neil Erskine.
At New Abbey, Abbey Vale drew 2-2 with Creetown after leading by two goals at the half-time break.
Chris Melon gave the home side the lead after 26 minutes, with Findlay Steele scoring a second seven minutes from the interval. Creetown struck back in the second half though with Ross Landers scoring twice in two minutes in the 65th and 67th minutes to give his side a share of the points.
Mid-Annandale and Fleet Star shared four goals and the points in their match at Galabank, with all the goals coming in the first 36 minutes.
The visitors took the lead in the ninth minute when Gavin Williamson was first to react to a rebound from Mids stand-in keeper Alan Smith for the opener. Star’s joy was short-lived with Conner Murray scoring with a 15-yard strike three minutes later. In the 23rd minute the home side took the lead when Scott Martin headed home from an Andy White cross and in the 36th minute Corey Thomson squared the match again from a 20-yard free kick to complete the scoring. Both teams had chances in the second half but failed to find the net and both had to settle for a share of the points.
Grant Middlemass scored after only 30 seconds in St Cuthbert Wanderers match at St Mary’s Park against Nithsdale Wanderers. Roman Soltys squared the game on the hour mark but striker Craig Rudd found the winner 15 minutes from time to give Saints the three points, which now sees them occupying second place in the league table behind leaders Wigtown and Bladnoch.
Result from Friday, November 8
Potts Cup semi-final
Heston Rovers 3 Crichton 2
Results from Saturday, November 9
South Regional Challenge Cup first round
Lochar Thistle 0 Wigtown and Bladnoch 3
South of Scotland League
Abbey Vale 2 Creetown 2
Mid-Annandale 2 Fleet Star 2
St Cuthbert Wanderers 2 Nithsdale Wanderers 1