Newmains 3 Forth 4
With the Wanderers 3-0 up after a mere 16 minutes and having missed a penalty to boot, it looked a case of how many against Newmains at Victoria Park this afternoon. However, a resilient United came storming back and in a crazy 5 minute spell just after the hour mark they pulled 2 goals back and missed a penalty before Forth gave themselves daylight with a 4th on 73 minutes. Even then, Newmains reduced the deficit with virtually the last kick of the game.
Jamie Lindsay hit a double, having missed a first minute penalty, and the other Wanderers goals came from Martin Harty and Andrew Gilchrist. Ex-Forth man Bryan Felvus was dismissed for the hosts.
Forth began in determined fashion and won a penalty with barely a minute on the clock. A perfectly weighted Jim Dick ball saw Jamie Lindsay run clear towards goal but home keeper KP McAlister rushed from his line and brought down the Wanderers striker. Lindsay stepped up to take the kick but McAlister redeemed himself saving down to his left. Lindsay had another effort on 4 minutes but McAlister saved at the second attempt.
A storming start from Forth and it was no surprise when they took the lead with 6 minutes on the clock. Martin Harty, deployed in a forward role this afternoon, received the ball just outside the area, looked up to see McAlister off his line and chipped the ball over him and into the net for a composed finish.
At the other end Glenn Weir was called into action to save from Higgins but that was merely a brief respite for the beleaguered home defence as Forth continued to dominate, with Harty going close again with 7 minutes gone, firing just wide of the post. A second Wanderers goal looked to be imminent and it arrived on 10 minutes, this time Jamie Lindsay was the marksman lobbing the ball over McAlister for a finish not dissimilar to the first.
Tony Traynor almost increased the Wanderers lead after 14 minutes but McAlister, at full stretch, did well to turn the ball away for a corner. Robbie Brown then came close a minute later but his fierce shot flew wide. However, the third goal was only delayed for a minute and what a strike it was. Andrew Gilchrist received the ball on the left, cut inside and made himself space before unleashing a tremendous shot which gave McAlister no chance. At this stage it looked a case of how many as the Wanderers attacking was relentless and Gilchrist again came close, before Traynor’s dipping effort just cleared the crossbar.
Gradually however Newmains began assert themselves on the game and they had a decent attacking spell just prior to the break. Ex-Wanderer Bryan Felvus fired a couple of attempts over the bar and Declan Duffy couldn’t get a decent connection on the ball and shot wide following a long throw from the right, but overall it was a half in which Forth were the superior team.
Newmains started the second half in a positive manner and could have reduced the deficit after 47 minutes but Martin McAteer volleyed over from a good position. A warning for the Wanderers that this game wasn’t dead and buried. Tony Traynor had the ball in the net for Forth on 57 minutes but it was rightly chopped off for handball and Martin Harty fired wide four minutes later. It was Newmains who had been the more threatening however and they deservedly reduced the deficit with 63 minutes played, when Robert Boyle drilled a free kick into the bottom corner.
Newmains now seemed to sense that the game was far from over and three minutes later it was 3-2 when McAteer converted a cross from the right. Worse was to follow for the Wanderers on 67 minutes when Jim Dick was penalised in the box and a penalty awarded to Newmains. McAteer stepped up and sent Weir the wrong way only to see his effort rebound from the outside of the post. A huge let off for Forth which Traynor almost capitalised on after 70 minutes but, after a good run, his final shot ended up in the side netting.
Newmains were then reduced to 10 men after 72 minutes when Bryan Felvus was dismissed for a challenge on Kris Dick and Forth took full advantage a minute later when a Lindsay shot squirmed under McAlister to make it 4-2. It was almost 5-2 after 78 minutes when Stephen McQuade met a teasing Gilchrist cross at the back post, but the Wanderers man fired narrowly wide.
Newmains were making light of their numerical disadvantage and continued to attack a nervy Forth defence as the minutes ticked down. They got their reward with virtually the last kick of the ball when McAteer fired home, but there was no time for another as the referee brought the game to a close after the restart.
A proverbial game of two halves with an excellent first half performance by the Wanderers and a stirring second half comeback from Newmains. And if that penalty had gone in to make it 3-3 …
Forth team : Weir,J.Dick,McQuade(Cooney),McMullen,Grant,Brown(McLean),Harty,K.Dick,