Neilston co-manager Derek Carson heaped praise on his side after they battled back from a goal down against Craigmark Burntonians at the weekend to clinch all three points and move up to seventh in the West Region Championship table.

With the pitch narrowly passing an early morning inspection, it was a scrappy affair on a heavy surface with both sides struggling to get going in a tight first-half.

The visitors settled in and got to grips with the difficult conditions, opening the scoring 18 minutes in thanks to Scott Neil’s effort from close-range.

To their credit, the Farmer’s Boys did respond well with Martin Curren’s header crashing back off the crossbar before the break as Craigmark held on to their narrow lead.

Carson’s side got off on the front foot after the interval with the Craigmark keeper pulling off a string of stunning saves to keep their lead intact.

Burntonians were then reduced to 10 men on the hour mark after Ryan McCubbin was shown a second yellow for a hand ball.

Neilston made the most of the extra man, piling on the pressure as they upped the tempo in search of the equaliser.

And it arrived with 10 minutes remaining with substitute Cammy Haddow rounding the keeper and slotting it into the empty net.

Neilston leave it late against Craigmark with late free-kick sealing the pointsThe Farmer's Boys needed a last-gasp free-kick to take all three points

Just as both sides seemed happy to settle for the point, Stephen Stirling’s free-kick on the 90th minute sealed it for the Brig men.

Carson said: “We knew Craigmark would be a tough outfit and knew how they would set up but I thought we played really well and countered that.

“We just need to make sure we start taking the chances we’re creating as that would make it so much easier for us.

“It was good to come back from a goal down and get the win - to win it with the last kick of the ball made it even sweeter.

“The boys were superb to be honest. Some of the football we’re playing at the moment is really pleasing. If we had taken our chances then we definitely wouldn’t have needed a last minute goal. 

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“There was no big half-time team talk to inspire them, it was just a case of telling them to keep doing what they were doing. We were creating plenty of chances so we knew it would come.

“When we levelled 80 minutes in we would have accepted the point but Stephen’s free-kick was really cute. He seen an opening and slotted it in the bottom corner perfectly. 

“We’re on a wee unbeaten run now so we’re starting to put together some good performances and are beginning to look solid.

“The win was a good confidence booster ahead of the weekend but the most important thing was three points and climbing up a place in the league table. It sets us up really well for the big derby match against Arthurlie this weekend.

“The form book goes out of the window completely when Neilston and Arthurlie play each other.

“We’ll prepare like it’s a normal game. We won’t change anything due to them going through a sticky spell but we know they have got some really good players.”

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