Forth Wanderers 3 Newmains United 2
The Wanderers finished their league campaign with a hard fought victory over Newmains in an entertaining game at Kingshill Park on Saturday.
By all accounts, the visitors had put in some encouraging performances of late under new manager Johnny Fallon Junior, and it was Fallon himself who gave them the lead with under 3 minutes on the clock. An uncharacteristic blunder from Forth keeper Paul McKane, who spilled a long throw into the box, saw the ball drop to Fallon who swept the ball home unchallenged.
Forth responded well to the early setback though and Ian Harty fired a shot narrowly wide after 6 minutes, before a Robbie Brown 25 yarder was high and wide 5 minutes later. Jordan Smith then came close for the Wanderers, meeting a Kris Dick free kick, which had eluded Newmains keeper Martyn Meek, at the back post, but the ball was slightly in front of him and he couldn’t direct his header on target. This was a sign of things to come however, as Smith was a constant threat to the visitors at set pieces throughout the afternoon.
Smith came even closer after 25 minutes, rising to meet a Dick corner only to flash his header past the post with Meek beaten. It was mostly Forth at this stage although Bryan Felvus tried his luck from distance for the visitors without troubling McKane. Ian Harty was next to threaten for the hosts, heading a Gerry Ward cross over but the equaliser was merely delayed and arrived 3 minutes later. Jordan Smith rose to head a Gerry Ward free kick back across goal where Jason Corbett was waiting to stroke home to level things up at the interval.
Newmains began the second half well and regained the lead after 53 minutes when ex-Wanderer Bryan Felvus swooped to head home a dead ball from the right. This prompted the Wanderers into a couple of changes John Watson and Taylor Scott replacing Brown and Harty but it was the visitors who continued to look the more likely. Some neat play from Peter Byrne saw him evade a couple of Wanderers challenges before bearing down on goal, but McKane blocked his shot and the ball was cleared. Smith then sliced a clearance over his own bar as Forth continued to live dangerously.
Gradually however, the Wanderers began to take control of the game and forced a succession of corners, one of which resulted in Smith being impeded in the box and a penalty awarded. Kris Dick stepped up and made no mistake, firing the ball into the corner. It now looked as though Forth would take control and go on and win the game, but they were dealt a blow when Gerry Ward was red-carded for a last man challenge on the edge of the box with 15 minutes remaining.
Fallon then came close for Newmains, breaking through the home defence only to hit his final shot straight at McKane. At the other end, Scott Watson released Taylor Scott but Meek in the visitors goal read the danger and advanced to block his effort. Undaunted, Scott turned provider barely a minute later, setting up Alan Christie who turned and fired a first time shot past Meek for what proved to be the winner. Newmains created a final chance right at the death, but Byrne shot straight at McKane.
So the Wanderers finish an inconsistent league campaign with two victories and now await a date for the Central League Cup tie at Cumbernauld.
Forth team : McKane,Howson,Ward,Canning,Smith,K.Dick,S.Watson(Gibb),R.Brown(J.Watson),