Caledonian Braves 5-5 Dalbeattie Star: 10-goal thriller in Lowland League

Caledonian Braves in action (Library pic)
Caledonian Braves in action (Library pic)

Tuesday night saw Motherwell-based Caledonian Braves involved in a sensational 5-5 home draw against Dalbeattie Star in the Lowland League, writes the Dalbeattie Star website.

Braves went ahead inside four minutes when a deep cross from the right found Neil McLaughlin in space and he took a good first touch before placing the ball past Vinnie Parker.

However Star’s response was good and soon after they had a huge penalty claim when Liam Park was upended inside the box but the appeals were waved away.

Midway through the half though Star were level when high pressing deep in the Braves half forced an error.

Lewis Sloan capitalised on the enforced mistake and with the keeper to beat he squared the ball to Connor Graham who stabbed the ball home.

Just after the half hour things got even better for the visitors when they took the lead as Graham’s free-kick found Lee Wells beyond the back post and he headed the ball back across goal where it eventually fell to Aiden Kerr who tucked the ball home from close range.

It really was end to end stuff and four minutes from the break the ball was played into Brave's Ross McNeil and his smart turn created enough space to allow him to shoot low past Parker into the corner of the net.

That wasn’t the end of the first half action and within seconds Star restored their lead when Sloan’s driven cross found Calvin Cowie inside the area and his header was perfection as it clipped the inside of the post on its way into the net.

Both sets of players deserved their half-time break after a pulsating first half but there was no respite in the second period as both teams continued to pile forward.

Phil Middlemiss came to Star’s rescue 10 minutes after the re-start when he cleared a Dominic Slattery header off the line and a few minutes later Star doubled their lead.

Park collected a throw in and burst past two challenges as he entered the penalty area where his cross was only cleared to Middlemiss some 10 yards from goal and he swept the ball into the far corner to make it 4-2.

Ten minutes later it got even better for Star when a swift break led by Craig Fergusson saw him play the ball wide to Farrel O’Sullivan and his low near post cross caused panic in the home defence and the ball eventually fell to Kerr who shot home from close range.

Despite being three goals to the good, nobody from the visiting side was taking anything for granted and Braves were handed a lifeline when they were awarded a controversial penalty supposedly for handball, and that decision was hotly disputed by the Star players.

However McNeil stepped up and reduced the arrears to two with an expertly taken spot kick.

Four minutes later and it was most definitely game on when a cross from the right was headed back across goal and volleyed home in fine fashion by Ben Daily, so Star had just over 10 minutes to hang on for the vital points and victory.

In the 83rd minute Star were inches away with what would surely have been the clinching goal when the width of the crossbar denied Kerr a hat-trick after another brilliant run by Park. However in the last minute the Star defence made a mess of clearing a weak cross from the right but there was no doubting the quality of the strike from David Winters who saw his shot from the edge of the box fly high into the top corner of the net.