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MATCH REPORT BY JAMIE BANKS
St Cuthbert Wanderers were held to a 1-1 draw by ten men at Blairmount Park in matchday two of the South of Scotland Football League.
It was a game of missed opportunities for Saints who spurned a number of chances as well as the man advantage after the dismissal of a Newton Stewart player in the second half.
From the team that started the league campaign on Saturday, Jordan Williamson made two changes, new signing Scott Ballantyne was handed his first competitive start in place of Zac Hannay, while Elliott Harris was given the nod over Mark O’Rourke.
Saints started the match confidently, their first chance coming early with Thomas Kelly deftly gliding by two players before seeing his driven effort from distance beaten away be the Newton Stewart keeper.
There was a reward for their good start soon after though as a dangerous low cross from Lewis Ebbs could only be deflected as far as Russell Williamson. He expertly placed the ball into the right-hand corner of the net, and with that got his first competitive goal of the 21/22 campaign.
Saints nearly doubled their lead soon after, but Kelly’s curling free-kick effort was pushed around the post by the opposition keeper.
Kelly was again denied from the dead ball situation, this time the frame of the goal his enemy as free kick could only cannon off the right-hand post.
Against the run of play, Newton Stewart found themselves an equaliser. A long ball over the top caught out the backline, with a Newton Stewart forward able to win out in a scramble with the Saints defence and force the ball over the line.
Things could have been worse for Saints before the break as Newton began to build momentum. Finding space from a corner the Newton forward could only loop his header high above the crossbar.
The second half began in the same manner as the end of the first, a Newton Stewart cross was unable to be turned into the net with the resolute St Cuthbert backline doing enough to put off the opposition striker.
Saints were able to rebound from their wobble and began to assert control back over the game, Kelly again had the frame of the goal shaking, gathering Ballantyne’s cut-back and hitting a fierce drive against the crossbar.
That was to be the best of the chances that Jordan Williamson’s men could create though until Ballantyne forced the referee into action with ten minutes remaining. The Saints forward had broke the offside trap and looked to be through on goal but as he brought the ball down he was clattered by a recovering defender. The challenge left the referee little choice but to brandish the red card and send Newton down to 10 men.
St Cuthbert Wanderers though couldn’t take advantage and Newton Stewart held on through to the final whistle to secure a share of the points.
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