Cumbernauld lose top spot after being held at home by Neilston

Scott McManus tries to find a way to get past the Neilston defence.
Scott McManus tries to find a way to get past the Neilston defence.

Cumbernauld United were left wondering what might have been after they were held 1-1 by Neilston at Guy’s Meadow on Saturday.

Andy Frame’s side went into the match high on confidence after hitting 11 goals in winning their opening two league games.

But it was the visitors who had the first shot on goal, a 12th minute effort which gathered in safely by Kenny Giles.

A minute later it was United’s turn to test the opposition goalkeeper, David Reid seeing his shot turned over the bar.

The resulting corner from Conor Stevenson found Scott McManus who, with his back to goal, flicked the ball over the defender and launched a shot goalward, but keeper Wilson made an excellent save.

Ross McCabe was next to have a go, getting on the end of a Stevenson free-kick, but his effort went just over the bar.

But for the first time so far this season United failed to score the opening goal; on 24 minutes Giles failed to deal with a cross, Reid was unable to clear at the back post and Lewis Lovering tapped the ball over the line to put the visitors ahead.

Things weren’t going to plan for the home side and on 32 minutes boss Frame rang the changes, Martin Shiels and Reid making way for Scott Davidson and Kieran McAleenan.

And within three minutes United were back on level terms. Benton found McManus in space and he controlled the ball before firing a shot over the outstretched keeper.

Just before half-time Cumbernauld had a chance to take the lead as McAleenan played a ball into the back post but Benton was unable to get on the end of it.

United began the second period on the attack and Stevenson had a shot parried by the keeper. Benton managed to connect with the rebound but his effort was blocked for a corner.

Cumbernauld claimed a penalty for a foul on Davidson, but their appeals were waved away by the referee who booked the United man for going down too easily.

United’s bad luck continued a robust challenge left Stevenson unable to play on. Having used all their substitutes the home side had to see out the remaining 17 minutes a man down.

Despite this, and Stefan Law playing on with an injury, Cumbernauld continued to control the game and had several more chances.

But it wasn’t to be their day and the match ended even with both teams taking a point apiece.