Forth Wanderers 3 Newmains United 0
Forth made it four wins on the spin as they comfortably defeated Newmains United 3-0 at Kingshill Park on Saturday, to mark their first home game in almost five months with a victory.
The Wanderers received a setback after only 2 minutes when centre back Craig Gupwell was shown a record card after an off the ball incident with United manager Thomas McGauley whilst waiting on a free kick being delivered. Newmains sought to take advantage of their numerical superiority and Kieran O’Hear flashed a shot wide after 5 minutes but Forth re-organised and were soon in the ascendancy.
Good interplay between Willie McLaren and Martin Hannaway saw the former force a save from United keeper Colin McGraw and McLaren came close again after 8 minutes but McGraw again saved. Forth then forced a succession of corners as they began to dominate and they were awarded a penalty on 15 minutes when Declan Walker was adjudged to have fouled John Rennie. However, McLaren spurned the opportunity to put the Wanderers ahead, McGraw saving his spot kick down to his right.
Forth were playing some excellent football at times which Newmains had no answer to and they conceded a series of fouls as a result. One such free kick was met by Stevie Kane but again McGraw saved. A Wanderers goal looked to be coming and it arrived on the 20 minute mark when Hannaway met a McLaren corner at the back post to head home. At the other end David Cherrie saved from Mark Cassidy as Newmains mounted a rare attack. The visitors cause wasn’t helped when Ross Carrigan was shown a second yellow on the half hour mark. Already booked, he handled a cross ball at the back post as Newmains attacked and was promptly sent off.
Hannaway then came close when he met another McLaren corner with his head, but the ball flew narrowly over. McGraw again saved from McLaren as Forth increased the pressure and only a well-timed defensive block stopped John Rennie from doubling the Forth advantage just prior to half time. However, 1-0 it remained at the interval.
Newmains began the second half brightly and Mark Cassidy must have thought he’d levelled things up on 51 mins when he met a cross from the right with his head only to see Cherrie pull off a tremendous save. This was to prove crucial as Forth doubled their advantage a mere four minutes later. Barry McGeechan broke with the ball from the edge of the Forth box and after a piercing run played the ball to McLaren. There looked little danger as the Forth man was surrounded by defenders but somehow his quick feet enabled him to fox both them and the keeper and the ball nestled in the corner of the net for 2-0.
McLaren then had a shot blocked as Forth increased the pressure before he setup Warren Grenfell one on one with McGraw, but the Newmains keeper blocked the attempted chip and the ball was cleared. At the other end Cherrie saved twice from Gary Stewart, the second a fantastic save from a volley which he managed to turn away for a corner. Gaps were appearing in the United defence as they looked for a way back into the game and this was nearly exploited by Taylor Scott, again setup by McLaren, but he dragged his shot wide.
Newmains were then reduced to 9 men with 5 minutes remaining when Gary Stewart was shown a straight red for his violent reaction to a tackle. Forth substitute Tony Traynor then hit the side netting before he unselfishly setup Scott for a third goal, drawing the keeper before squaring for the young Wanderers striker to finish it off.
Another excellent team performance and another three points keeps the Wanderers in the promotion hunt, although another tough game awaits away at Vale of Leven on Saturday.
Forth team : Cherrie,L.Tait,S.Tait,Gupwell,McMullen,Grenfell,Kane(Traynor),Rennie(K.Dick),