Cumbernauld United’s battle to stave off fears of relegation from the Super League First Division weren’t helped by a non-scoring draw with fellow strugglers Maryhill at Guy’s Meadow on Wednesday night.
The vitally important league match wasn’t one of the most memorable games but there were many chances at both ends to keep the spectators on edge. Stars of the show were the two goalkeepers who distinguished themselves with excellent saves throughout the match.
Nerves seemed to affect the players of both sides in the first quarter of the game and it was the 22nd minute before the either team had a real chance to take the lead when, following a fine Scott Murphy/Davie Dickson move, Jamie Watson’s ball across goal was headed wide by the United veteran Dickson.
Play switched to the other end of the park and when Ryan Sullivan handled the ball in the box the referee pointed to spot to give Maryhill the opportunity to take the lead.
However United keeper Davie Buchanan brought off a magnificent save from Gavin Stokes’s penalty kick to keep the score line blank.
Following this let off United resumed on the attack and Paddy McCabe and John Higgins combined brilliantly to send over a great cross which just eluded the inrushing Watson.
The remainder of the first period was dominated by a series of powerful strikes from United midfielder Murphy as he attempted to put United ahead but Maryhill goalkeeper Jack Baker dealt very competently with any of the efforts that were on target.
The second half began with a scare for United when the visitors’ Colin Preston got clear of two Cumbernauld defenders only to be thwarted by the excellent Buchanan.
United hit back when a McCabe run at the Maryhill defence ended with a powerful shot which the keeper tipped over the bar. Then a Terry Hewitt drive was cleared off the Maryhill goal line with Baker beaten.
Mikey McLaughlin replaced Scott McHaffie just in time to see a terrific Dickson effort again well dealt with by the visiting custodian.
There was some tough tackling now as the teams strived for a winning goal to ease relegation worries and when Watson was the recipient of a waist high challenge from Hill’s Marc Russell the Maryhill man received a yellow card for his trouble.
The visitors’ Gordon McClune was also booked during this period. Dylan McGuigan replaced Watson soon afterwards.
Maryhill almost stole the three points in the the final minutes when substitute Justin Begg was through with only Buchanan to beat but the Cumbernauld keeper again came to the rescue with a fine save.
The draw leaves Cumbernauld a point above Maryhill, who occupy the fourth and final relegation spot to be decided, but the Glasgow side have three games remaining compared to Cumbernauld’s two.
Next up for Andy Frame’s side, on Monday night, is the replayed home encounter with promotion chasing Rutherglen Glencairn after last week’s match was abandoned due to heavy rain.