First-half strikes seal vital three points for Newtongrange Star

Dwayne Coultress, left, gets on the ball during Saturday's victory . Picture: Ian Georgeson
Dwayne Coultress, left, gets on the ball during Saturday's victory . Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Newtongrange Star secured a much-needed three points and just their second Super League victory of the year with a comfortable victory over Carnoustie Panmure.

The New Victoria Park men had been crying out for goals – they came into this fixture the second lowest goalscorers in the league behind Tayport, but two first-half strikes put them in command at the interval.

Star boss Alan Miller, who has had to refute rumours that he was set to quit the club in recent weeks, was pleased with their showing and he insists he’ll leave other people to panic after this win came after three straight defeats.

“We’ve been working away behind the scenes,” he said. “The management team doesn’t panic – I’ll leave other people at the club to panic and I’ll leave other people to go on social networks and gossip about why players have left.

“I was particularly pleased with the first half and the front section of the team. Dwayne [Coultress] had a good debut. David Morris did well and his touch will get better as he gets more games and big Kris [Renton] worked his socks off again and I’m glad he got the reward with a goal.

“If we can improve on our goalscoring record and have a goalscoring record that is competing with other teams in the league in the way that our defensive record compares with other teams, we’ll continue to improve again.”

Miller handed a debut to Coultress, the winger having arrived from Berwick Rangers on a short-term loan last week, however he was only able to list two substitutes on the bench with Craig Thomson, Jordan Cropley and Stephen Tulloch all suspended.

Midfielder Lee Currie forced a fine save out of visiting keeper Alan Cormack from a free-kick after three minutes as the home side sought an early opener.

Coultress looked a threat out on the left wing and he carved out a good opportunity for Star after 18 minutes. His low cross to the back post found Currie who played in Jack Wilson on the edge of the box but he miscued his effort wide.

Wilson made no mistake with his second chance, however. Coultress found his fellow midfielder with a lovely ball from out wide and Wilson knocked home from close range.

Coultress then had a chance of his own after quick thinking from Currie put him through one-on-one from a free-kick with Carnoustie’s defence sleeping, however he could only hit his effort straight at Cormack.

Star were causing the visitors no end of trouble and Renton doubled their lead after 27 minutes. The big striker couldn’t miss, knocking home from two yards out after John McManus slid a low ball across goal.

Carnoustie should’ve pulled a goal back ten minutes before the interval after Marc Scott found Roddy Black free inside the area but he somehow sent his header well wide of Kieron Renton’s right-hand post.

The second period was pretty uneventful as Star sat back and looked quite happy to defend their two-goal advantage instead of capitalising on their first-half dominance.

Carnoustie continued to push in search of a goal but, despite dominating possession, their lack of a final ball was telling and they struggled to break a resilient Star defence down.

Substitute Scott Gray had the visitors’ best chance with an overhead kick with ten minutes remaining but he couldn’t muster enough on the effort and keeper Renton was able to gather his meek effort easily.

Star travel to Camelon’s Carmuirs Park on Saturday and Miller admits he doesn’t know what to expect from his side after the way their campaign has transpired.

He added: “It’s very hard to tell, I’m not able to predict what we’re going to do next after the season that we’ve had. We’ll take it as it comes, Camelon will be tough because they’ve been doing well, but we’ll do our best as we usually do.”

Newtongrange Star: Kieron Renton, McManus, Noble, Tolmie, Dunn, Currie, Morris, Cherrie, Wilson, Coultress (Motion), Kris Renton.

Carnoustie Panmure: Cormack, Buggins, Macdonald, Millar, Roche, Roberts, McIlravey (Gray), Black (Gersok), McCabe, Smith, Scott.