Langlands Road, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 8BN

Line-up- St Andrews United

1. Calum Brodie
2. Tom Milne
11. Ross Cunningham
4. Scott Reekie (captain)
3. Ryan Roche
10. Kyle Sneddon
16. James Collins
7. Lewis Sawers
6. Ryan McManus
21. Micheil Russell Smith
14. Ryan Dignan
Sub(s):
9. Jordan Mackenzie – replaced Lewis Sawers 67 mins
18. Cameron Greenhill – replaced Micheil Russell Smith 67 mins
22. Craig Simpson – replaced James Collins 67 mins
20. Lewis Grant – replaced Tom Milne 84 mins

Line-up- Newtongrange Star

1. Liam McCathie
3. Louis O’Brien
5. Ryan Ferguson
6. Max Dowling
8. Adam Nelson (captain)
9. Dean Ballantyne
12. Scott Brogan
14. Logan Imrie
17. Chris Robertson
20. Sean Guiney
22. Michael Jones
Sub(s):
15. Declan Henry – replaced Scott Brogan 45 mins
4. Scott Hay – replaced Dean Ballantyne 60 mins
17. Frazer Sutherland – replaced Michael Jones 80 mins

St Andrews United began the new season by recording a deserved and morale-boosting victory over Newtongrange Star at Recreation Park.  Ryan Roche, Cammy Greenhill and Craig Simpson all made their debuts for Saints but the visitors started the match as the stronger side.  Indeed, Dean Ballantyne saw a header chalked-off by referee Alan Budd and Chris Robertson fired a shot over the committee’s portacabin roof as Nitten came out of the traps with all guns blazing.  The away team then took the lead in the 14th minute when Robertson pounced on a loose ball in the box but United equalised shortly afterwards.  Lewis Sawers made a terrific run down the left wing en route to picking out Ryan Dignan with a super cross and the latter could not miss from two yards out.  The impressive Micheil Russell Smith subsequently sent a shot narrowly over Liam McCathie’s crossbar before Sawers gave his side the lead in the 28th minute of the contest.  Sawers collected a neat reverse pass from Scott Reekie and he took three touches prior to finding the postage stamp corner of the net with a delightful curling shot that gave McCathie no chance.  St Andrews United was looking like the better team at that point yet Robertson equalised for Newtongrange in the 35th minute.  Home goalie Calum Brodie punched a cross against Dignan and Robertson gleefully found the net from six inches as the ball rebounded straight to his left foot.  The score was therefore tied at the interval but Saints regained the lead in the 51st minute from the penalty spot following a foul by Ryan Ferguson on Dignan.  Mr Budd showed Ferguson a straight red card for that push in the back and Sawers confidently beat McCathie by sending the spot kick low to the goalkeeper’s right.  Sawers then completed his hat trick in the 56th minute when he converted a great pass from Dignan into the opposite corner of McCathie’s goal yet the visitors did not give up thereafter.  The United players were certainly shocked at conceding another goal from a set-piece when Scott Hay out-jumped a number of bodies inside the box to head past Brodie in the 88th minute.  However, the home supporters’ nerves were eased a few seconds later because Simpson found Kyle Sneddon unmarked on the edge of the Nitten area and the big midfielder made no mistake with his finish to make the score 5-3.  That goal would eventually prove decisive as St Andrews United claimed all three points, though there was still enough time left for Declan Henry to beat Brodie with the aid of a deflection in the 91st minute.  The atmosphere amongst the players also became a little fraught as the tension grew towards the end and Mr Budd issued twelve yellow cards as a result.  Thankfully, there were no further red cards and Saints managed to secure a memorable win.

-Lewis Rodger