Cup focus for Star and Gretna
Stuart Gillespie and Kenny MacDonald
Dalbeattie Star claimed the region’s bragging rights with victory over Gretna 2008 on Saturday.
Star ran out 2-1 winners as they moved three points clear of their local rivals.
Assistant manager Gary Holden said: “It’s a huge three points and it gets us back in the middle of the pack.
“We said to them before the game that they owed themselves a performance and that’s exactly what they did.”
Star boss Darren Kerr was less than happy with his side after they were beaten at Whitehill Welfare the week before.
And he’d probably have been left wishing it was that game he missed, rather than Saturday’s derby, as his team put in a great display in his absence.
Dean Brotherston put them in front after good work from Farrel O’Sullivan, only for Jake Smith to take advantage of a mistake in the defence to equalise.
But straight away Star were back in front, Connor Graham’s brilliant header turning out to be the winner.
Holden said: “It was a fantastic result and it could maybe have been more comfortable as we had two or three good chances in the second half. To be fair to Gretna both of us were missing a few players.
“We asked the players a few questions in training. We asked them for a performance after the week before and we got everything we could have asked for and more.
“To a man they were superb on Saturday. Dean Brotherston showed the qualities he has and he’s now in the top scorers in the league.
“I don’t like singling out one person in a great team performance but for young Ross Thomson, who is in his first season in the Lowland League, to play like that is superb. Having Lee Wells back in was a greal bonus as he gave us that steel and strength in the middle of the park.”
This Saturday Star are at home again as they face Sauchie in the SFA South Region Challenge Cup.
Their opponents are new to the competition this season, having joined the East of Scotland League from the junior ranks over the summer.
Holden said: “We have had them watched and we have asked another team for information on them because it’s never good going in blind.
“This is now the biggest non-league cup competition in Scotland with all of the teams that have come in and it will be a huge effort from any team to win it.”
Meanwhile Davie Irons is praying that Gretna 2008’s football fortunes turn for the better this weekend when they take part in cup action.
The Lowland League outfit have been struggling to find good form and now occupy second bottom berth in the table just two points ahead of basement boys Whitehill Welfare.
And it is the Midlothian club they clash with tomorrow in the second round of the SFA Region Challenge Cup.
Irons said: “We have not had the best of starts in the league, that’s for sure. It’s hard to put your finger on where we’re going wrong because we have not been playing that badly.
“This cup gives us a little break from the league and hopefully we can turn things around this weekend.”
The Black and Whites have just five points from their opening seven league games of the season while Whitehill Welfare sit bottom with three points from eight games. Irons added: “We have lost three points with Selkirk going bust. “We were one of the teams who played them in the league and now we have lost those points with their situation and that puts us down towards the bottom. This will be a tough game for us at the weekend and we will just have to see how it goes.”
The cup tie at Ferguson Park, Rosewell, kicks off at 3pm.