HELENSBURGH FC created their own bit of history at the weekend, winning their seventh consecutive match, the longest run of successive wins the team has achieved since their inception eight seasons ago.

The Burgh boys recorded a 3-2 away win over Belleaire in dramatic fashion at Rankin Park, Greenock on Saturday as they came from behind to win three valuable league points by scoring a last minute winner.

Burgh kicked off with top scorer Brooks Tadlock back in the starting line up having recovered from an ankle knock that kept him out of last week’s cup win. Marc McNeil came in at right back with Geraint Meader moving to centre half in Steven Baillie’s absence.

The heavens opened shortly before kick off creating a slick surface which made life difficult for both defences. Burgh took the initiative in the early stages alternating their attacking play between wide balls, utilising the pace of wingers Allan and Sinclair, and a more direct approach to the head and chest of centre forward Tadlock.

They won a series of corners early on causing the home keeper difficulty with the delivery but without creating any clear cut scoring chances. This changed 14 minutes in when, from a Del Park corner on the left, Tadlock saw his header hit the bar. Fortunately for Helensburgh the ball rebounded to Dougie Black on the six yard line and he calmly picked his spot in the net.

Burgh nearly doubled their advantage shortly afterwards when Allan burst down the left hand side before cutting in and firing a tantalising cross into the penalty area. Tadlock rose to meet the ball and connected with a powerful downwards header that skidded off the greasy surface onto the keeper’s left hand post.

Midway through the first period Belleaire equalised with their first shot on target. A quick through ball found one of the home team’s strikers in what looked to be an offside position in the left hand channel. As the Burgh defence appealed to the referee in vain the ball was laid off to an advancing midfielder who whipped in a dangerous cross. A flicked header at the near post sent the ball past the helpless Gemmell.

This energised the home team who up until that point had been outplayed. The Burgh central midfield trio of Park, Thomas and Black were being closed down more quickly and Burgh’s back four found themselves under pressure for the first time. This pressure told when, after 35 mins, a fairly innocuous ball through the Burgh defence wasn’t cleared and Belleaire’s number nine took advantage to nip in and steal the ball before advancing on goal and slotting past Gemmell.

Burgh responded well and again had reason to question the referee after Sinclair was tugged back by the Belleaire centre half as he was played in on goal. The match official correctly awarded the free kick but controversially chose to show a yellow card when it looked like a clear goal scoring opportunity had been denied. Tadlock’s effort from the resulting free kick was saved so Burgh went into the break with a one goal deficit.

The first 15 minutes of the second half were relatively uneventful in comparison with the action from the first period. However the game burst back into life just after the hour mark when Burgh equalised. It was a scrappy affair, a high ball into the box led to some head tennis before Allan looped a header over the keeper and in off the underside of the bar.

The game became stretched for the next 20 minutes and developed into a back and forth encounter. During this period Gemmell made a couple of important stops in the Burgh goal. One stop, low to his right, from a powerful shot through a ruck of players was critical in ensuring parity was retained.

Having drawn five of their 14 league games to date Belleaire are the league’s draw specialists and as the game entered the last 10 minutes it looked as though they were settling for a point. Burgh had different ideas though.

Assistant Manager David Boxall had shuffled the pack during the second half introducing Phipps, Jones and Cameron to the fray to keep the work rate up. The fresh legs and passion to win paid dividends in the final minute of the match when an attack down the left saw some clever interplay between Allan and Cameron. Johns had made a lung bursting run from centre half to join the attack and as the ball was played to him on the penalty spot he showed great vision to lay the ball off to the onrushing Phipps. A composed, low finish gave the keeper no chance and sparked deserved celebrations.

Matters weren’t quite finished though and four minutes of injury time gave Belleaire the opportunity to force three corners in quick succession but the Burgh defence held firm and the final whistle signalled a hard fought victory for the visitors.

With manager Sam Gemmell missing due to work it was assistant Dave Boxall in charge on the day.

He said: "A real important win over tough opponents today and whilst we would have been happy with a point away from home we consciously decided to try and take all three and made changes accordingly.

"The lads were terrific and kept going right to the end of the game."

Squad: Craig Gemmell, Daniel Johns, Steven Martin, Geraint Meader, Stuart Bailey, Brooks Tadlock, Del Park, Keith Thomas, Dougie Black, James Cameron, Marc McNeil, David Allan, David Sinclair, Ryan Jones, Caleb Phipps, Russell Makeham

*This Saturday Burgh travel to Glenvale in the last 16 of the Challenge Cup.