NEWMAINS looked more solid at the back – but defeat was harder to take this time too.
Paul Byrne’s 62nd minute goal was the difference in the tie.
But after being slow out their blocks in pre-season United upped their game and were unlucky to lose a match that could have gone either way.
Co-manager Paul Davies was delighted with the improvement and reckons it bodes well for the future.
He said: “Considering the last few performances where we conceded so many goals I was really pleased with the way we played.
“In the last few matches we’ve been poor in the first half.
“Before the game against Carluke we said to the players to make sure we didn’t concede anything before half-time and we did that.
“Everyone did what they were asked to do. We asked for a performance and we got one.”
Even when they went a goal down United showed great fight and desire but they just couldn’t find an equaliser despite their best efforts.
The clash had been moved to Forth Wanderers‘ Kingshill Park with Victoria Park not ready until Monday.
Davies and co-boss Craig Guppy would have been happy with their side’s start as they immediately settled into a nice rhythm and fast tempo.
Both sides had chances to take the lead but the half ended in a stalemate.
The second half began in much the same vein as the first.
Both sides attacked well and created opportunities and there was a real fluidity to the game.
Rovers went in front after they maneuvered the ball up the pitch from deep within their half.
It broke to Byrne on the edge of the box and he had the composure to slam it into the bottom left corner.
Despite going behind Newmains kept their heads up and just two minutes after the goal they felt they should have been awarded a penalty.
But the referee judged the challenge took place outside the box and awarded a free-kick instead.
Newmains pushed for a leveller in a frantic final ten-minute spell but they just couldn’t make the breakthrough.
Davies will take plenty of positives into tomorrow (Monday) night’s match against Lesmahagow at Victoria Park (kick-off 7pm).
Lesmahagow beat Lanark United 4-2 in the other match in Newmains’ section.
Davies added: “We’ll keep it the same for the next match and hopefully use this as a base to build on.
“If we can do that I’m sure we’ll be ok this season.”