By GEORGINA DAVIES
at John Cumming Stadium
THEY travelled four miles to lose by four goals – but Paul Davies still reckons Newmains have come a long way.
United conceded twice in each half as they went down to their local rivals on Saturday.
But after being punished for a poor first half co-boss Davies believes their display after the break gave them heart, with midfielder Martin Janik and keeper Martyn Meek particularly impressive.
This time last year United were sitting rock bottom as they suffered heavy beatings ahead of ending the campaign without a single point.
Just over half-way through their current season, they already have 14 points to their name. Davies said: “We’ve progressed a lot over the last 12 months.
“To face a strong team like Carluke and have a second half performance like that leaves us with a bit of encouragement. The desire, the heart and the passion are still in that dressing room.
“The boys took to the park in the second half and they fought for each other. Since we signed Meeky fom Lanark he’s been absolutely fantastic and credit needs to go to a lot of the boys out there.
“Despite the result, I was proud of every one of them.”
Rovers went in front after 14 minutes when Stephen Larkin’s overhead kick beat Meek. United struggled to deal with the midfield movement of Carluke, who had the bulk of the possession for the first half.
Newmains were unlucky not to level when Adam Robertson saw his shot blocked by Rovers goalie Dave Cherrie. Rovers had more openings but they had to bide their time as Meek denied them time after time.
The breakthrough eventually came though, with Ciaran Lafferty making it 2-0 before the break. Newmains regrouped in the second half and looked more composed but they still conceded two more through Sam Biggart and Sean McKenna.
United weren’t helped by having to make two enforced changes because of injuries, with Robertson taking a knock and Sean Taggart suffering a sore ankle.
The victory saw Rovers move up to fourth spot and Davies added: “Carluke are a very strong team and I just felt at times during the game we just couldn’t get out from the back.
“At the same time we were losing the ball in the middle of the park too often. We let Carluke boss us.
“At half-time we had some really serious words with the boys and I thought in the second half we made more of a game of it.”