YOKER Athletic co-manager Peter McKenna praised his players’ efforts as they began their West of Scotland Football League campaign with a 4-2 win away to Newmains United on Saturday – at the end of a hectic 24 hours and after a match played while the wind and rain of Storm Aiden was at its height.

The bad weather forced the postponement of the Whe Ho’s scheduled match away to East Kilbride Thistle, but after a call from WoSFL officials, Yoker instead headed for Wishaw to to take on a Newmains side who were also playing their first league match of the campaign.

With a howling gale at their backs, Yoker took an early lead when Ryan McCreath cut in from the left and drilled an unstoppable shot past the keeper.

It was 2-0 just three minutes later after Kyle Maxwell converted a cross from the right for his first league goal for Yoker – and Maxwell doubled his tally on 35 minutes to leave Yoker cruising at the break.

But Newmains hit back on 58 minutes when captain Marc Howson sent a fantastic free kick over the head of Yoker goalkeeper Joe Wilton.

A bad tackle saw defender Robbie Davidson forced off injured just past the hour, with Nathan Kavanaugh taking his place, but Wilton had to make two outstanding fingertip saves as Newmains turned up the heat – and when Howson converted a penalty 10 minutes from the end it set up a grandstand finish.

But as Newmains pressed forward in search of the equaliser, Yoker’s nerves were finally eased two minutes into stoppage time when Gregor Cree brilliantly brought down a superb through ball before deftly chipping the keeper.

McKenna said afterwards: “The weather was horrendous, the wind was horrendous, but we got a victory and we will move on to the next game.

“I thought the first half was a great performance from the boys and I feel that we should have put the game to bed by half time as we had a number of chances to do so.

“In the second half the wind was in their favour and their boy scored a belter of a goal and the other was a penalty kick, but I am delighted at the effort the boys put in and delighted to start with a win.”

Yoker’s next fixture is against East Kilbride Thistle at Holm Park on Wednesday night, but once again, no spectators will be permitted under Scotland’s current Covid-19 regulations.