Caledonian Braves vs Newton Stewart
Match Centre

Caledonian Braves vs Newton Stewart

W 7 - 0

The Caledonian Braves retained the Southern Counties Cup in style, with a comprehensive 7-0 victory over Newton Stewart.

A warm and sunny Galabank Stadium, Ricky Waddell made one change to his starting line-up, with Scott Cusick returning to the side in the place of Kian Speirs. And it was Scott who came close to scoring early in the game.

With four minutes on the clock, Cusick latched onto a loose ball at the edge of the box, and was unfortunate to see his strike go just wide.

Despite sitting one division below us, Newton Stewart picked up a great win against Lowland League side Gretna in the semi finals, and showed their abilities in a competitive opening 40 minutes. 

The game was battled in the midfield during this spell of the game, with Braves captain John Guthrie standing out during these phases.

With a goalless first half looming, the referee blew the whistle for a freekick at a tight angle, just outside the box. Cammy Breadner stood up and sent his effort over the wall. After an awkward bounce off the surface, Euan Drysdale was unfortunate to see his save squirm away and bounce into the net.

The Braves were set with a deserved one goal lead, but that soon became two. In first half injury time, a throw was quickly taken from the right. Ross McNeil smashed a low drive goalwards, which was superbly stopped by Drysdale, but Kristian Gkegka was on-rushing to smash home into the open goal. A two goal lead for the Braves at the half!

With a two goal deficit, the Creesiders would've been aiming to keep the game close in the second half. However, the Aiden Clocherty had different ideas, when he picked up the ball in the box after a defensive header, to rifle into the bottom corner with a great strike to extend our lead quickly in the second half.

The next chance of the game would fall to Newton Stewart, when they struck the post five minutes later. After a free-kick was awarded from around 40 yards out, the Braves expected a long ball into the box, but the taker went for goal and rattled the near post of the unexpecting Bernie White.

But any hopes of a late comeback were killed in the 75th minute, when Aiden Clocherty was brought down in the box. Much to Drysdale's dismay in the Newton goal, the referee pointed to the spot. Things went from bad to worse, as the opposition captain was sent off for two quick fire yellow cards for his complaints to the referee. Top scorer Ross McNeil stood up... and you know the script! An emphatic penalty to make it 4.

The Braves turned the sword at this stage and quickly made it five. Bernie White began a counter attack with a superb long throw to Cammy Breadner on the left wing. The dynamic wide-man took on his man, before delivering a pin-point early cross into the box. Ross McNeil pulled in, before finishing to make it five with 78 minutes on the clock. 

If that goal was the pick of the bunch, it recieved some quick competition moments later. In the 80th minute, John Guthrie picked up the ball in the heart of park, before slipping a low ball through the middle of the park. Ross McNeil allowed the ball to roll through his legs with a stunning dummy for the on-running Matty Collins. He pulled off a delightful ball roll, before slotting into the bottom corner beyond the 'keeper.

Moments before the final whistle was blown, Josh Gemmell got in on the action, when he smashed an effort in from point blank range after a nice Greig Stewart comeback, to make it seven for the Braves.

A fantastic way to round up their campaign, the Braves are the 120th winners of the Southern Counties Cup!

Man of the Match - John Guthrie

Full match - watch here