A FIRST CLASS performance from Dalkeith striker Kevin Haynes, who scored an injury time winner, sealed the points for ten men Thistle in a cracking derby against close rivals Newtongrange.
“A performance like that made up for the bad, bad week we’ve had since last Saturday,” was how Dalkeith manager Willie Pearson put it after the game. “The boys performed like it was last season and I’m delighted for them and the club. It was a cracking game of football.”
There was a lot of pressure on the Dalkeith players after last week’s 8-1 thrashing at Tayport and boss Pearson was looking to see if his squad would respond. They did, in spadefuls. Newtongrange knew they were in for a game of it from the start . The first half was full of crunching tackles and hefty challenges. There were no goals but plenty of goalmouth action as the half-time whistle blew.
The second half was only five minutes old when Dalkeith took the lead. Haynes chased a long ball down the inside right channel before firing over a cross to the back post. It was too long for Kenny Fisher but substitute Jamie Burstow, on for the injured Kevin Murray, slammed the ball back low for Fisher to stick out a toe and divert the ball into the net.
Disaster was to follow quickly for Dalkeith when Grant Gavin was given a straight red card for a reckless tackle in midfield. Now down to ten men Dalkeith were facing a rampant Newtongrange side looking for an equaliser. Time and again they tried to force their way into the Dalkeith box but the home defence, with the central pairing of David Liddle and Jay hunter outstanding, held firm.
Dalkeith had their chances and twice came close to adding a second to their tally. Newtongrange though were relentless in their attacks. Again they came close on several occasions but without success. Time was running out and they needed something special. It came in the 88th minute with a terrific equalising goal from winger Paul Tansey. After a long spell of pressure around the Dalkeith box the ball fell to Tansey. He turned and lashed the ball low to Ross Combe’s right. The goalkeeper got a hand to it but couldn’t stop the ball finding the net.
The visitors now started to hunt down a winner and one duly came, but not from Newtongrange. Deep into injury time a long ball again played up to Haynes saw the Star keeper Keiron Renton and central defender Blair Tolmie get in a fankle. Haynes stepped up, controlled the loose ball and rolled it into the empty net for a dramatic winning strike. There was no time left for Newtongrange to find any way back and it was Dalkeith who claimed the three points, and the bragging rights.
Newtongrange boss Alan Miller was very disappointed in his side’s performance. “That was unacceptable. We came here with no appetite, no attitude and not ready for a football match. We should have enough quality to come here and win games and we didn’t show the same desire as Dalkeith had. Our passing was poor and our tempo was poor and it was only when they had a man sent off that we showed anything, and that’s unacceptable.”
Striker Haynes was quick to show his appreciation of his manager’s position. “We all felt we let Willie down last week and we were determined to make amends for it. I feel we did and we thoroughly enjoyed the game. Willie puts so much into this club, he’s a good man. He’s taking more of a back step now but we appreciate him. It shows how good a spirit we have at the club to comeback and play like that after last week.”
Jamie Burstow, who came on and made a big impression said afterwards: “I’m delighted with the three points. It was a sticky start to the season for me coming in from the East of Scotland league, but I feel I’m settling in now. I feel we aren’t at our full potential yet and we can produce better, but it’s early in the season and there’s more to come from us.”
Dalkeith: Combe, Gavin, Watters, J Hunter (Fell), Liddle, Murray (Burstow), Morris, Linton (Flynn), Haynes, Fisher, Pudledski. Subs: Donlevy, M Hunter.
Newtongrange: Renton, McManus, Deland, Tolmie, Gibson, Gillon, Dunbar, Cherrie, Turner, King (Graham), Tansey. Subs: Donnelly, Wilson, Forster, Amos.