Newtongrange Star goalkeeper Keiron Renton will happily settle for unattractive victories if it means the New Victoria Park men continue to climb up the table.
Stevie McLeish’s men made it back-to-back wins on home soil with a workmanlike display against Camelon, which wasn’t pretty but secured a vital three points against a side who’ll likely be around them in the Super League standings come the end of the season.
It was Renton’s second home clean sheet in succession having returned to the club in the summer after a season with Musselburgh Athletic.
“We know we can play better than that, but we’d have taken a win like that before the game,” said the 33-year-old.
“The boys have defended really well from the forwards right through to the back four. We’ve looked strong and I didn’t feel like we were going to concede.
“Thankfully we got a goal at the other end and we held out. I never really had a save to make all game. I just tried to organise everybody, and the more you organise the simpler my job is. The boys have been brilliant the last couple of games. We’ve not played as well as we’d like to, but we’ve managed to get six points out of six.
“I’m enjoying being back, it’s a good place to be and hopefully we can go on a wee run now.”
Star could have been ahead with barely two minutes on the clock after a defensive mix-up allowed Kyle Lander a free shot at goal, but he sent his effort straight at visiting keeper Dean Shaw.
The home side didn’t have to wait too long for the opener, however. Winger Kenny O’Brien was set to pull the trigger when he was impeded by Jason Deans in the area and left-back Dale O’Hara gleefully dispatched the resultant penalty.
The hosts didn’t seize the initiative and build on their early lead in the remainder of the half, with the final pass eluding them all to often.
Indeed, it took them until the 49th minute to look like troubling Shaw again, as Sean Lally’s effort flashed just wide of the top corner.
Renton had little to do himself, with Star’s defence imposing with centre back pairing Sean Melvin and Dale Richardson reluctant to let the visitors get a sniff of goal.
Melvin showed his capabilities up the other end of the park too, on 68 minutes. The stopper nicked possession off Alan Sneddon midway inside the visitors’ half, then strode forward to the byline before picking out Lander, whose shot was pushed over for a corner.
Referee Dan McFarlane might have cost Star all three points having somehow added a needless six minutes of injury time, with Alan Docherty almost securing an undeserved point with almost the last kick of the ball, his effort flashing just wide of Renton’s far post.
Star boss McLeish was pleased to be on the winning side of a game which would likely have gone against them last season.
“It was no classic, but that’s how it’s going to be sometimes,” he said. “In the past these kind of games have gone against us, but it went our way.
“We looked like we could go and score again in the first half, but we just backed off and backed off. I lost the plot at half time with them because it just wasn’t right. We managed the game better in the second half, we didn’t manage it at all in the first half.
“Your home games are massively important and if you can go unbeaten in as many as you can, it gives you a chance. Slowly but surely we’re getting there.”
Elsewhere, league leaders Penicuik Athletic made it ten games unbeaten in the Super League with a 4-1 success over Broughty Athletic.
They didn’t get off to the best of starts, however. A goalkeeping howler in the opening minute handed the hosts the lead, with Kyle Allison deceived by a bobble from Scott McCrory-Irving’s pass back.
Striker Lumbert Kateleza brought Johnny Harvey’s men level soon after and strike partner Aaron Somerville put the Cuikie head going into the interval.
Kateleza and John MacDonald added to their lead after the break, with the home side ending the match with just nine men after two sendings-off.
A Tommy Coyne-inspired Linlithgow Rose maintained their challenge with a 5-2 victory on the road against Jeanfield Swifts. Their long-serving striker bagged a hat-trick while Ruari MacLennan and Owen Ronald both got their names on the scoresheet.
Bo’ness United secured a much-needed 3-1 away victory over Lochee United to lift themselves off the foot of the table.
Centre back Stuart Hunter who this week came out of retirement to aid his old club after hanging up his boots in the summer, gave them a 1-0 lead. Lochee pulled level from the penalty spot, but a Ryan Miller double handed Bo’ness victory.