By JOSH KANE
at Victoria Park
IT was the Breathing Space derby – but Paul Davies admits Newmains ran out of puff in the second half against Vale of Leven.
A string of missing players and late call offs meant boss Davies was left to choose from a threadbare squad.
After a strong first half United turned in a damp squib display in wet and wild conditions to crash to defeat.
Davies admits it as an uphill task with so few options to choose from after the break.
He said: “A lot of things have happened in the last 24 hours in terms of players pulling out, we also had five players away on holiday.
“That is no excuse though. The players all knew when they signed for Newmains they are playing junior football, which is a semi-professional level.
“We just need to take this one on the chin as we were severely lacking in bodies.”
Mental health awareness organisation Breathing Space sponsor both of these sides.
Vale of Leven got up and running first when they took an early lead after a cross struck the bar and Scott Gallagher reacted quickest to tap home from close range.
But the home side were back on level terms shortly after when Martin Hannaway fired in a brilliant low free-kick to level the scoring.
The scores were level for only six minutes though as Newmains failed to clear their lines and Gallagher pounced for his second.
Hannaway was involved again in Newmains’ equaliser as his dead ball cross was perfect for Jonny Rawlings to smash home from 10 yards out.
It looked set to be all square at the break but Vale sneaked a third on the stroke of half-time through Andrew Biddulph’s header.
Vale pulled away after the restart as they again punished poor home defending when Ross Lyden struck No4.
Newmains then conceded two penalties in the space of five minutes, both tucked away by Craig Cowan.
That put the game out of reach and Benjamin Craig hammered home the final nail in the coffin as he slid in ahead of keeper Darren Linton five minutes from time.
Newmains had no game the previous week and Davies admits that might have also played a part in the sluggish performance.
Davies insists there must now be an end to conceding needless goals. He added: “I actually thought the break would have done us good and allow the boys to rest up.
“We have had a couple of training sessions but a break away maybe hasn’t done us as well as we thought it would.
“The boys did fight in parts of the park but some of the goals were just stupid ones to lose.
“Not marking men at crossed balls and letting guys creep in at the back post is just daft and they are things we need to sort out.
“I’m just glad that holidays are nearly over and the boys realise they are not playing amateur football anymore.”