Newtongrange keep their heads as Leith Athletic lose theirs

Newtongrange celebrate their fourth goal, scored by Ali Forster (No.16). Pic: Ian Georgeson
Newtongrange celebrate their fourth goal, scored by Ali Forster (No.16). Pic: Ian Georgeson
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Newtongrange Star boss Stevie McLeish hailed his side for keeping their composure while opponents Leith lost their heads.

The New Victoria Park men eased through to the second round of the Football Nation Qualifying Cup as their visitors ended the match with eight men, with a fourth player sent off after the final whistle.

It was a case of how many Star wanted to score in the end as a beleaguered Leith outfit, who had matched their hosts in the opening period and even took the lead, just wished for referee Jonathan Gall to put them out their misery. “After our last two performances we were needing that, said McLeish. “Against Dunipace and Oakley we really didn’t turn up.

“Right from the start we were positive, we tried to pass the ball and got in into good areas. We lost a goal at a time when we really shouldn’t have; our full-back got caught too high up the pitch because he thought he could do that as they were down to ten men. Once we got our first goal I don’t think there was any doubt we were going to win the game. Their response, their discipline, kind of let them down and it made it easier for us to pick them off and score more goals.

“The good thing was we kept our discipline and our shape, moved the ball well and didn’t over-elaborate with the ball – we kept the ball properly and played properly.

“It’s an adventure just now. It will be good for the punters seeing your team scoring a lot of goals against teams that you are clearly stronger than. A lot of the games won’t go to plan, though. We can all beat each other in a one-off game, so anything can happen.”

McLeish was particularly pleased for striker Sean Jamieson, who expressed in these pages on Friday that he was needing goals after a tough couple of years with injury, as he netted four.

McLeish added: “Jamo has a had a long hard road over the last year and a half. He took time out of the game for a wee bit. I jumped at signing him, I’ve known him since he was a boy and I know what he’s capable of – he showed a bit of that on Saturday.”

Leith midfielder Euan Morrice was first to see red after just 20 minutes. His challenge merited a booking at the most as both he and Ali Forster slid in full blooded in the middle of the park, but Star’s midfielder came off worse and referee Gall couldn’t get the red card out quick enough.

The visitors took the lead on 38 minutes, though, as Cameron Ross strode clear down the left of right-back Sean Melvin and fired a terrific strike across goal and into the far corner,

Their lead didn’t last long, however, as Star were 2-1 ahead at the break. Dale O’Hara drew level with a trademark strike from distance, before Jamieson headed in for his first goal since returning to the club. Forster made it three shortly after the break when he headed back across goal from Kevin Bracks’ pinpoint cross, before he netted a stunning second when he let fly from 30 yards out to find the bottom corner past goalkeeper Ben McGinley.

Jamieson claimed Star’s fifth after his shot was initially saved but rebounded off a Leith defender and into the net.

Oban Anderson was then given an early bath for the visitors, before striker George Hunter got in on the act for Star with a deflected effort on 73 minutes.

Jamieson wrapped up his hat-trick soon after before strike partner Hunter secured his brace as Star racked up the goals. If there was any doubts over Jamieson’s treble, he made sure of that four minutes from time for number nine. That was the final straw for Leith goalscorer Ross who displayed his frustration when he kicked over a chair between both dugouts, with Gall quick to flash the winger his second yellow card of the afternoon. The card-happy ref wasn’t done yet, however, with Dan Garvey sent off for dissent in the pavilion after the final whistle.

Newtongrange Star: Dunsmore, Melvin, Young (Mitchell), Lowson, O’Hara, Forster (Swaney), Bracks, Wilson, Porteous (Sclater), Hunter, Jamieson.

Leith Athletic: McGinley, Pennel, Pont, Robertson (Hay), Morrice, Garvey (Summers), Larner, Anderson, Ross, Aitchison, Swanson (MacKenzie).