Newtongrange Star returned to the summit of the East Juniors Super League as they began 2014 with a 3-1 victory over Tayport.
With November’s 5-1 Junior Cup mauling at the hands of their Tayside opponents still fresh in the memory, Star were keen to exorcise the ghost of that defeat. And they started brightly with Shaun Jamieson firing narrowly wide from a tight angle and Jordan Cropley seeing his effort blocked by the legs of Sam Morris in the Tayport goal.
Matt Adam spurned a great chance for the visitors after being played through by Grant Lawson on 39 minutes, but Kieron Renton was alert off his line to narrow the angle and the shot was foiled. In first half stoppage-time, Chris King’s stinging free-kick was touched over by Morris.
Star began the second half confidently and their opener came on 56 minutes when Michael Delland controlled a Jay Shield’s cross before curling an effort into the top corner. Two minutes later, the impressive Cropley doubled the advantage with a low shot from 20 yards into the bottom corner. Tayport were stunned by the double salvo and Ali Forster suddenly grabbed the third on 61 minutes when he touched in Delland’s cross from the left wing.
Star were in full flight, but the visitors didn’t buckle and after Adam had a goal ruled out for offside, Lawson showed good strength to hold off the attentions of Guy Kerr and Blair Tolmie in the Star defence and fire a shot under Renton on 85 minutes.
But the reply came too late for Dave Baikie’s men and afterwards Star manager Alan Miller emphasised that revenge for that cup defeat was not on his players minds. “I don’t like that word revenge,” he stressed. “I was looking for a good performance and we got that from all the players. It’s a very competitive squad and the work rate they showed was fantastic.”
Newtongrange Star: Renton, Swanney, Delland, Tolmie, Kerr, Noble, Jamieson (Cherry), Shields, Forster (Tansey), King (Graham), Cropley. Subs: Gibson, Amos.
Tayport: Morris, Robertson, Donachie, Thomson, Rollo, McPhee, Adam, Lawson, Connelly, Donaldson, McCulley. Subs: Tonner, Mann, Suttie, Mair, Grant.