By CRAIG MAHOOD
IT was third time lucky on a dramatic day for Newmains which saw their opponents change just hours before kick-off.
But 34 weeks since their last competitive outing they didn’t get the breaks as their West of Scotland League campaign started with a loss.
After last week’s opener at Dalry was rained off, original day two visitors Lanark United were granted permission to cancel the clash on the morning of the game after ex-club and Juniors league president Tam Anderson sadly passed away.
But league bosses then allowed Yoker – whose game at East Kilbride Thistle had been a casualty of the weather – to head to North Lanarkshire instead.
Co-manager Paul Davies said: “We were glad to get a game on after the sad and unfortunate news about Mr Anderson and we obviously granted Lanark the postponement.
“Speaking to Kennie Young, the fixture secretary, he said we could play Yoker as their game was cancelled and that would save us a backlog.
“It was a bit frantic in the morning getting a game on but I’m glad we did.”
With Victoria Park waterlogged, this clash was played at the Wishaw Sports Centre.
In horrendous conditions Yoker raced into a 3-0 half-time lead before a Marc Howson double after the break gave United a glimmer of hope.
But as they chased an equaliser Yoker hit them with the sucker punch.
After such a long lay-off Davies was pleased with the display following the change of opponent and weather.
He said: “It was a game of two halves with a horrendous wind. It probably shouldn’t have gone ahead in all honesty.
“We lost two goals in the first seven minutes. For the first I can’t blame the wind for someone not putting in a challenge.
“At the other we just couldn’t get out of our own half because of how strong the wind was.
“Midway through the first half we got the ball down and started playing it about before losing a killer goal just before half-time.
“But we weren’t too disappointed at half-time and we knew the conditions would be different playing the other way.
“So I told the boys to get an early goal and get us back into it, which they did.
“We only conceded a goal in the very last minute as we stuck an extra attacker on for a defender to try and get the equaliser.”
United also lost a player via the Covid track and trace scheme in the build-up to the game.
Davies added: “I think in terms of preparation it harmed us more that one of our boys had to self-isolate.
“I’ve said before Covid is going to be the new hamstring. It’ll be a weekly occurrence – and not just in football. But we must be prepared for that.”