Craigmark Burtonians 1 - 4 Blantyre Victoria
Craigmark Scorer: Ryan McCubbin (18')
Blantyre Scorers: Aaron Black (67', 75', 80'), Craig Kerr (88')
The Vics travelled the longest distance they will travel in the league all season - to Dalmellington - to face Craigmark Burtonians. On the back of a victory over Neilston they travelled down to Ayrshire with high hopes given that The Mark hadn't won a game since beating St. Roch's on opening day.
The match started off quietly with no side posing a threat at either end. It was not until the 8th minute when the Vics got the game's first shot on target. Following Coleman's cross being cleared, it fell to the feet of Aaron Black who fired a shot at the Craigmark goal but it was a textbook save for the keeper.
It was in the 18th minute when the homeside broke the deadlock. Martin Smith found himself facing two forwards on the right. The ball was then slipped past him to Ryan McCubbin who was well beyond the full-back by this point. As a result he was one-on-one with Vics keeper Liam Campbell. Take nothing away from the strike however, as the Craigmark attacker fired his powerful shot above the goalkeeper and almost ripped the back of the net.
The goal did not discourage the Vics as they continued the pressure, still falling short in the final third however. Ten minutes after the breakthrough the Vics captain, Garry Campbell, tested the woodwork. After he got his head on the end of Aaron Black's corner but the post denied him the equaliser.
The Vics continued their dominance in possession as Campbell came close again. Another corner from Black which the Vics centre-half connected with but his effort skimmed across the face of goal. Shortly afterwards Millar curled in a cross from the left to the far-post. Ross Caldwell got a shot off with a very acrobatic volley, only to be denied by the keeper. The rebound came straight back into the path of the Blantyre midfielder who headed an effort over the bar from close range - although there was calls for a penalty by the Vics fans and players, claiming Caldwell was impeded by the defender - nevertheless referee Keiran Traynor pointed to the six-yard line.
After the half-time break the Vics were no longer facing the wind, and they took advantage of this. Playing long balls through to the forward line. Three minutes into the second half Keirin Coleman found himself with a glorious opportunity. He managed to get on the end of Martin Smith's cross but his headed effort curled wide of the post - while the Criagmark keeper was well and truly beaten.
The Vics continued their constant pressure but the travelling fans were beginning to think the equaliser would never come. The Craigmark pulled off some wonderful saves to deny efforts from Eeles, Black and MacDonald. In the 67th minute the Vics finally got a name on the scoresheet. A simple through ball from Ross Caldwell found Aaron Black in on goal with only the keeper to beat. He didn't fold under the pressure and calmly curled a low-driven shot into the net.
In the 75th the Vics were on the push for a second. Coleman found himself on the edge of the area in possession, but with being surrounded by defender he was unable to pull of an effort of his own so he slipped it back to Aaron Black who struck the ball brilliantly. The Craigmark keeper leapt into the air but there was nothing he could do as the ball rattled the underside of the bar then in.
It only took five minutes for the Vics to extend their lead to 3 - 1. Gavin Millar had possession on the right-flank while Craigmark defenders were retreating to their post, he slipped the ball into Aaron Black who was once again one-on-one with the keeper. He waited for the goalkeeper to move out of his goalmouth and then pulled the ball past him and then slotted his shot into an empty net.
The Vics had multiple chances from set-pieces throughout the match but found themselves unable to get a goal - up until the 88th minute. Black whipped in another excellent ball in from a corner, Coleman leapt at the near-post but couldn't connect with the ball, but behind him was Craig Kerr who powered his header into the Craigmark goal to make it 4 - 1 to the visitors.
A dominant performance from the Vics with the three points being truly deserved. The passing was impeccable in very blustery conditions and the visitors maintained their tactics of playing the ball on the ground. Craigmark were a tough outfit at the back and good on the counter attack, and the Vics deserve credit for being able to break them down. Onto Petershill!