Cumbernauld United 4 - 1 Blantyre Victoria
Cumbernauld - Kieran McAleenan (x3), Scott Thomson
Blantyre - Ross Caldwell
Blantyre returned to Guys Meadow, a ground where the Vics have had very little success in recent years, for their first match back in the second tier. As one of the favourites to gain promotion this season, Cumbernauld United were confident going into this opening game.
The home-side had the first big chance of the match on 11 minutes as a cross was swung in from the right. The forward leapt into the air and directed a powerful header across the face of goal, but it strayed just wide.
17 minutes in, the Vics had their first proper chance. After Con Boyle's shot was blocked amongst a herd of burgundy jerseys it fell to Aaron Black who struck the ball well but it was pushed over the bar by Darren Hill in the Nauld goal.
Vics then stepped it up and started to control the game for a period. On 27 minutes Lewis MacDonald, after driving into the danger area let a shot go but it didn't trouble Hill as it was over the bar. Shortly afterwards Black had an opportunity for Blantyre. The ball fell to him about ten yards from goal. After taking a couple touches he got a shot off at an angle to goal but it was deflected out for a corner.
In the 44th minute the Vics were caught in the break of play as United won the ball deep in their half. Kieran McAleenan then drove into the box and then preceded to lob the ball over Liam Campbell in the Vics goal to open the scoring just before the break.
Immediately after the interval the Vics were looking to get a goal back. The ball was whipped in from a Vics corner and fell to the deck. Keirin Coleman managed to pull a shot off from around 12 yards. The strike forced Hill into a save as he tipped it over the bar for another Vics corner.
Liam Campbell prevented Cumbernauld doubling their lead as he stopped a curling effort with an outstretched leg. Soon afterwards Cumbernauld were in on goal again. This time Campbell was well beaten as he watched the powerful shot drift just wide.
On 60 minutes Campbell went to ground as he attempted to snatch the ball from the feet of a Cumbernauld attacker but fouled him in the process and the referee pointed straight for the spot. McAleenan stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to get his, and his side's, second goal of the match.
In the 72nd minute Cumbernauld extended their lead further. Scott Thomson picked up the ball in a wide area. He then turned it on to his right foot and curled a ball towards the far post, which tucked into the top corner sweetly to make it 3 - 0.
Three minutes later Jake Hughes sent a ball through the Nauld defense which reached Aaron Black who was taken down as he was on goal. Another penalty was then awarded, to the Vics. Ross Caldwell took the spot kick and converted, netting his second in as many games.
Depsite the Vics getting a lifeline late on they failed to break down Cumbernauld and pull another goal back. In the 85th the home-side sealed the three points through McAleenan with his hat-trick. Played through from midfield and knocked the ball past the keeper, while one-on-one.
A painful result for the Vics to start their league campaign. Cumbernauld exceeded in being clinical with their chances whereas the Vics failed to do so. Blantyre must now put this result aside as they prepare for Darvel on Wednesday.