Muir Double Takes Dalbeattie Star Through

Dalbeattie Star ended their losing run on Saturday the 21st of January 2017  with a victory at Annan Athletics Galabank, that was much more convincing than the scoreline suggests. However they did struggle to finish the tie off and it was only when substitute Iain Anderson scored with three minutes left that the tie was eventually safe.

Star began the match confidently and certainly not like a side that had lost their four previous matches. They had good possession and dominated from the off but the stuffy home side, that was short in numbers, was quite rightly determined to make life as difficult as possible for the Islecroft side. The Galabank side sat in deep which resulted in very little space for Star to play in in the final third but they showed good patience and continued to probe for openings and not just lump the ball into the penalty area and hope for the best.

After a couple of half chances, the first big opening came in the 19th minute when a fine pass from Ritchie Maxwell picked out Lewis Sloan’s run and from a tight angle he went for power but sliced his shot wide. It took almost half an hour for the home side to threaten and it came when Connor Liddell showed some great pace from the halfway line but his shot from more than 20 yards was way over the top. Two minutes after this Star broke the deadlock when Greig Thorburn and Sloan combined well down the left and the latter’s cross picked out Tommy Muir in the middle and he beat keeper Alex Mitchell with a powerful downward header.

This was Star’s first goal of the year and three minutes later they almost added a second when Liam Park outstripped his former team mates but Mitchell made a good save at the expense of a corner. Four minutes from the break Star seemed sure to double their lead when Danny Dunglinson ran clean through from the halfway line, but at the edge of the box he was clipped by a chasing defender. Many a player would have gone to ground but Danny carried on but off balance his shot was blocked by the onrushing Mitchell. Vinnie Parker in the Star goal had been a virtual spectator until now but with a minute left in the opening half he was picking the ball out of the net. From a Star corner Annan hit quickly on the break and a cross from the left was headed into the air by the Star defence and although Tony Ribeiro’s overhead kick was not the cleanest of strikes it was accurate enough to go in off the post.

Star must have been shocked to go in on level terms but they were soon pinning the home side into their own half again. Again they showed good patience in drawing the home defence out and creating more space. Chances were coming along more often as the home side tired and substitutes Ally Mason and Iain Anderson both had decent efforts without troubling Mitchell. In the 63rd minute Star went back in front when Anderson played the ball across the six yard line that caused panic in the home defence and the ball was eventually knocked home by Muir from close range. The visitors continued to push forward but they had to be careful not to get caught on the break especially with just a one goal advantage. Athletic came close to taking the match into extra time when a shot flashed across Parker’s goal but with three minutes left the tie was over. Substitute Iain Anderson ran clean through and fired low past Mitchell to score the goal he had been threatening and deserved.

So Star won their first cup tie of the season and is the first team into the quarter finals of the Southern Counties Challenge Cup. Next up is a home match against Civil Service Strollers and Star will be looking to build on this result and pick up their first league points of the year.

ANNAN ATHLETIC 1                                       DALBEATTIE STAR 3

Ribeiro (44)                                                           Muir (30, 63)

Anderson (87)

HT 1-1

ANNAN ATHLETIC: Mitchell, Jaekei, Wilson, Black, Ribeiro, Chapman, Liddell, Brown, Dachnowicz, Pearson, Gibson

Yellow Cards: None

DALBEATTIE STAR: Parker, Wilson, Thorburn, Dunglinson, Maxwell, Baty, Park (Anderson 60), Todd (Mason 52), Muir (Wells 79), Sloan, Degnan

Subs not used: Fergusson, Slattery, Cathro

Yellow Cards: None

Ref: D Crothers

Assistants: S Clark & J McCunnie

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