Creetown 0 Fleet Star 2
Dale McCutcheon was Fleet Star’s hero as they took their first win of the season against Creetown.
After a goalless first half, McCutcheon ran on to a long ball five minutes after the break and chipped the keeper for Star’s opener.
And when the home goalie saved a 68th minute shot McCutcheon gathered up the rebound before beating two men and slotting home the second.
There was a late blow for Star when trialist Terry McKie, who had only been on the park for 10 minutes, was sent off for an alleged kick, but they were able to see the game out to end their losing run.
Thrilled Star coach Tommy Maxwell said: “I was more chuffed for the players as anything else – it’s them that did the work, not me, so credit to them.
“They fought away hard, it was a scrappy game and we maybe rode our luck in the first half as they had the better of the chances, but we were more determined and stuffier than we have been and scored when it mattered.
“Fair play to Creetown for getting the game on – it was quite a heavy park so they must have worked away to get it on. They had the better chances in the first half but we stuck at it, we got the ball down and tried to play football as we’re not a big physical team. It wasn’t ideal with the ground and it doesn’t suit us but they battled away and defended well.
“Two or three times I saw boys throwing themselves in front of the ball, which I hadn’t seen before, and it was maybe a bit more self belief than anything as it was basically the same boys.
“Dale McCutcheon held the ball up well and his first goal was a cracker – he beat their defender, chipped the keeper and it went in nice as ninepence.”
Creetown chief Callum Henderson felt his side were made to pay for not converting their goalscoring opportunities.
He said: “I’m disappointed with the result but I’m probably more disappointed that it was a game we could have won based on the chances we had. I think it was a case of Fleet Star taking a couple of the chances they made and we couldn’t take any of the ones we made and unfortunately we ended up losing the game as a result.
“We beat them 5-0 at Gatehouse earlier on in the season and that day it was a similar story – that day we made a lot of chances and managed to take quite a few of them but on Saturday we didn’t. In my opinion we were the better team in the first half but went in 0-0 as we hadn’t taken any of the chances. They made two or three chances in the whole game and took two of them.”
Dalbeattie Star 7 Crichton 1
A Lewis Sloan-inspired Dalbeattie Star took all three points with a crushing win over Crichton.
Lee Wells headed Star in front before Sloan got his first, collecting a great pass from Rab Harkness before hammering home.
After an uncharacteristic miss from Scott Milligan Crichton got one back through a dipping Ross Newlands shot to give themselves a chance in the second half, but five minutes after the break Grant Parker played in Sloan who chipped Rab McColm for his second. His hat-trick was rather more fortunate as his cross ended up in the net into the net.
After that there was only ever going to be one winner and Star turned on the style in the last quarter of an hour. Sub Jak Dingwall got the fifth before creator Hugh Cameron made it six.
And late on Craig Fergusson’s cross was converted by trialist Grant Middlemiss to complete a terrific day for the champions.
Crichton boss Jim Thomson said: “I’ve no complaints and I suppose it was what I dreaded coming back after Christmas haven’t not trained. I know it sounds like an excuse but we couldn’t get anywhere to train, although it’s down to individuals wanting to train as well.
“My worst fears came true in the second half. We were still in the game at 2-1 at half-time and I said to them not to give the ball away cheaply. The third knocked the stuffing out of us and after it went to four it killed the game.
“Dalbeattie are a far superior team than ourselves with experience and ability and we’re a young, inexperienced side. We can compete when our tails are up and we’re confident, but once we go behind we struggle.
“The first goal was a completely free header, the boy made a run and got to it. The boy who was meant to be marking him put his hand up and at half-time I told him I admired his honest the responsibility lies with him to get in and make the blocks.
“Dalbeattie are a very good side with the fire power of Sloan, Cameron, Milligan and Parker. When you’re up against those four you’re certainly going to have a difficult game and it was the usual first day back after the Christmas period.”
Heston Rovers 1 Abbey Vale 0
Heston Rovers started off the year with a narrow win over Abbey Vale.
In an even game between the two Maryfield Park sides the only goal arrived just before the break through Heston’s Gary Tweedie.
Vale manager Keith Stenton said: “It was a horrible game from start to finish.”
Mid Annandale 2 Newton Stewart 0
Mid Annandale kicked off the new year with a win over Newton Stewart.
The first half finished goalless, although both sides had efforts ruled out for offside while Newton keeper Harry Fidler pulled off a good save to deny Grant Schooler.
After the break the visitors perhaps had the better chances, Jonathan Wilson seeing a fierce shot turned behind by keeper Ross Wilson who then denied Mickey Sutherland.
And his efforts paid off in the 69th minute when Adam Smith’s corner found Scott Martin and after his shot was blocked Schooler forced home the rebound.
Wilson continued to repel Newton, injuring himself while making one save, while Mids’ Ally Sloan and Scott Martin both tried their luck from long range.
Hill should have brought Newton level 10 minutes from time when he shot over from close range and was made to pay in stoppage time when Sam Cook got into the end of a Chris Norvel past and shot past Fidler for his first senior Mids goal.