By KEVIN CRAIGENS
NEWMAINS host a casino night this week – but boss Paul Davies was gutted after they came so close to hitting the jackpot.
Lesmahagow’s win guaranteed them promotion back to League One.
But just a week after losing 9-2 to Annbank, United pushed them all the way in a nine-goal thriller that also had two sendings off and a penalty miss.
Davies had criticised his players after their hammering seven days earlier.
But he got the reaction he was looking for in the club’s first home game for ten weeks.
Davies said: “After last week I went into this game not knowing what to expect. I’m absolutely gutted we never took anything.
“I’m not trying to say we were the better team but it was a really fair game. I’m really proud of the performance because I had given them a bit of stick – some publicly.
“Now it’s up to me to praise them when they do well. Dominic Cherrie, who we brought in from the amateurs, was outstanding.
“Martin Meek in goal was terrific too. We were all hurting from the previous week.
“Before we went out for the game I had a long teamtalk. It felt different going onto the park. At half-time we came in and we genuinely believed we could get something from the game.
“Having that belief going out for the second half makes a huge difference.”
After falling behind to Kris Jarvie’s early opener, Cherrie struck twice only for The Gow to level on 31 minutes through Jonny McStay.
Neil Schonville put the visitors 3-2 up before Martin Janik levelled things again before the break.
Robert Irvine’s men looked to have put the game out of sight when Jarvie and Schonville each netted again by the 61st minute then won a penalty on 67 minutes.
But Meek produced a brilliant save before the Gow were reduced to ten men and Josh Anderson pulled one back with 12 minutes left. The Gow lost another man in the dying seconds but United couldn’t find another goal.
They now sit second bottom on 17 points, just a point behind Saltcoats Victoria with two games in hand.
With five games left – three at home – Davies has told his players they can still be history makers.
He said: “If you look at this club over the last ten years this club has finished above the bottom two just once.
“It’s only finished off bottom place twice in those ten years. Bettering those stats has to be the motivation.
“The season isn’t meaningless for us. We’ve scored more goals this season than the average over the last ten years.
“We’ve got more points than the average in the last ten years.
“So there are lots of things still to play for. That’s the goal I’ve set them.”
Victory saw second-placed Gow assured of bouncing back to League One at the first attempt following last year’s relegation.
Davies added: “I’m really pleased for Robert Irvine. He’s been one of the managers who has helped me since I came into the junior game.
“But for my boys it shows them we can compete at this level despite a huge gulf in budget.”
United welcome Muirkirk this Saturday (kick-off 2pm) before hosting a casino night for the public in the Davie Cooper Suite at Fir Park, Motherwell.
Doors open at 7.30pm. Entry is free with free food provided by home shirt sponsors The Pink Turban and music by Dougie DJ.
The Player of the Year award will also be presented on the night.
Davies added: “It’s the first time the club has held a night like this. We’d encourage anyone to come along.
“You don’t have to have a direct association with the football club and it would be great to see as many people as possible.”
Match graphic designed by Craig Scott. Contact Craig via Twitter on @craighidell to find out how he can help with your artwork needs.