By JOHN NOLAN
GORDON BRUCE reckons soul searching was key to shocking Ashfield.
Newmains United stunned the league leaders with a 2-1 win at Victoria Park on Saturday.
That came after three successive losses which included heavy defeats to Vale of Leven and Lesmahagow.
The weekend victory was their second of the season after they went through the whole of last term without winning a single point.
The players proved they had the character and desire to compete in the league across a dramatic 90 minutes.
United goalie Bruce believes a spell of self-examination throughout the team was important in the turnaround.
The No1 said: “Training has been much the same but we’ve been talking a lot about where things have gone wrong.
“A lot of questions have been asked about the desire and if the players have got what it takes to compete at this level.
“I think that gave us some motivation and spurred us on for the match with Ashfield.
“It was still a very difficult game and we were perhaps slightly lucky towards the end to get the goal after a few missed chances and seeing a penalty saved.
“But I think we deserved it for the desire we showed. Overall we were delighted to get the three points.”
It was certainly a game where the Newmains players had to dig deep within themselves to get the victory.
A host of factors including a long delay for midfielder Martin Hannaway to receive treatment and confrontations between the players caused disruption to the match.
It would have been easy for Newmains to lose focus. But despite a shot being cleared off the line and the spotkick disappointment United kept pushing.
They eventually got their reward when skipper Davie Ross powered home a last-minute winner.
Co-boss Craig Gupwell said afterwards the performance proved the team can compete in this league.
Bruce agrees if the team keep motivating themselves they can be successful this term.
Ahead of Saturday’s clash at Saltcoats Victoria, Bruce added: “We just need to keep level heads now.
“We need to put this result behind us and go out with the same determination and desire that we showed against Ashfield.”