NEILSTON co-manager John-Paul Dow hopes that Saturday’s result and performance against Darvel was just a blip, and has challenged his side to get right back on track this weekend. 

The Farmer’s Boys were unfortunate to lose 1-0 at Recreation Park on Saturday and are now three games without a win having drawn their last two matches before facing Darvel.

Dow’s side got off to a nightmare start, conceding inside two minutes when a good cross was headed home by Paul Hewitt. Marc Wilson got a hand to it but it wasn’t enough.

Neilston responded by carving out two chances of their own with Dylan Fletcher firing wide after finding space in the area before Paul Stewart’s free-kick failed to trouble the Darvel keeper.

The Vale enjoyed a good spell of possession and sustained pressure but they couldn’t break down a well organised Neilston defence for the second time.

The visitors looked lively themselves up the other end with Vale keeper David Markey doing well to get a hand to Mark Blakey’s curling free-kick, turning it behind. Euan Clark rose well from the resultant corner, but his headed effort was well wide as Neilston struggled to find a leveller.

Dow was forced to make a change at the interval with Scott Smith replacing the injured Daryl Convery and his side came out looking more dangerous, pressing for the equaliser with Simon McBryde’s effort going narrowly wide.

Darvel remained a threat going forward themselves, however, and had opportunities to double their lead.

It looked like Neilston may have been handed a lifeline before the hour mark when Hewitt was shown a straight red for an off the ball incident but the home side stood firm.

It was a frantic finish as Neilston threw everything at 10 man Darvel but Markey was in top form in the Vale goal as the home side saw it out.

And a disappointed Dow said: “The early goal certainly dented our confidence in the opening stages, and the first-half wasn’t good enough. 

“After the sending off, we took over the game but weren’t clever enough in the final third to open them up. It’s sometimes worse playing against 10 men as they all work harder for each other. 

“I don’t want to be too harsh on the boys, but our creative players didn’t really show up.”

Neilston welcome St Roch’s to Brig O’ Lea on Saturday now and Dow admits the performance doesn’t matter to him or fellow co-manager Martin Campbell as long as their side walk away with a vital three points. 

He added: “Up until Saturday the boys have been outstanding this season so we’ll just look at it as a wee blip and look to bounce back this week. 

“We’re just looking for a victory to kick us on. I’ll take any kind of win. 

“Ideally we’ll go out and play silky football and win 4-0, but I’d take a 1-0 win at the moment.”