Heston Rovers 4, Newton Stewart 0
John McNaught at Maryfield, Dumfries
Matches between Heston and Newton Stewart are usually close-run events – just as it was two weeks ago when Newton beat Heston by the odd goal in seven at Blairmount Park.
This time around, though, four goals separated the sides at the end of the match – but the scoreline did not tell the whole story.
The visitors pressurised Heston right from the start and an opportunity fell to Calum Dunn to open the scoring in the second minute but his back-post effort was superbly saved by Kieran McCulloch, It was to be the first of many stops by the keeper.
Six minutes later, poor defensive work saw Newton keeper Harry Fidler coming off his line to clear the ball, which fell kindly for Heston’s Grant Learmont and he slid it into an open goal from the edge of the 18-yard box.
In the 12th minute, a Dean Fyfe effort just missed the target as Newton attempted to pull back the goal and efforts from other Newton players were similar or saved by keeper McCulloch.
With 25 minutes played, Heston went two ahead when poor marking allowed striker Sean Kearney to score from an acute angle. A minute from the break, with Newton dominating play, Micky Sutherland ran clear but again his shot was off target and another goal-scoring chance was missed.
The second half continued very much as the first, although there was a major let off for the visitors only two minutes into the period when keeper Fidler was beaten only to find defender Martyn Henry clearing from the goal line.
In the 55th minute, striker Andrew McEwan again pulled out an excellent stop from the Heston keeper and in the 68th minute Newton had the opportunity to put themselves right back into the match when Graeme Blain was pulled down in the box. Calum Dunn stepped up to take the spot kick only to find the ball striking the upright and cleared.
Newton Stewart tried in vain to beat the keeper but found him in excellent form with efforts from McEwan, Sutherland and Dunn all being saved by the man of the match.
However, the lack of firepower came back to haunt the visitors eight minutes from time when an unmarked Sean Kevin fired in a fierce header from a free kick on the left.
A minute from time, though, disaster struck Newton when a casual pass back from Blain was misjudged by Fidler and, although making contact, he only managed to help the ball into his own net for goal number four.
In a four-goal victory it is unusual that the keeper is the man of the match but this certainly was the case in this contest with Keiran McCulloch completely dominating his goal throughout the match to keep a clean sheet to avenge his sides previous defeat at Blairmount.