ROTHES REVERSE Breedon Highland Football League – Saturday September 14th ROTHES 2 INVERURIE LOCO WORKS 0 Rothes: MacDonald Stark (MacLeod) Wood Milne Duff © Main MacKenzie (Kerr) Robertson Anderson Maley (McRitchie) Cormack. Unused subs Johnstone Pollock Wilson Loco Works: A Reid Mitchell Souter Burnett Watson Broadhurst Michie (Hunter) McLean © Gauld Angus Stott. Unused subs: Reid Watt Gordon Cooper Gill Cook. Referee: McFarlane Match Stats, Locos First, Shots ON 3-5, Shots OFF 6-2, Fouls 11-15, Corners 4-3, Offside 2-2. Yellows 2-2, Reds 0-0. Inverurie Locos suffered their first away SHFL defeat of the campaign, with a disappointing performance being capitalised on by a more determined home side. Rothes were desperately unlucky to lose at title favourites Brora Rangers four days earlier so the difficult examination that followed at MacKessack Park did not come with any element of surprise. Calum Dingwall was unavailable for this match with skipper Neil McLean returning after seven weeks out, with the crude & reckless elbow that he caught in the face on the opening day going unpunished still a source of bewilderment to Locos followers. A strong wind & a bumpy surface foretold of a match unlikely to feature in an UEFA video showcasing our national sport. A wee comedy moment pre-match with one penalty spot found to be the wrong distance from goal & a few feet away from being central! Rothes won the toss & decided to have the wind at their backs in the first half. Fraser Robertson threatened to break through early doors but big Eric Watson intervened. Even in the opening exchanges it was apparent that eye catching football on the deck was going to be difficult. A Jack Maley effort was blocked on its way to goal by a team-mate, Craig Cormack was showing up well & Ryan Broadhurst had be at full stretch to clear a dangerous ball. Locos had started sluggishly, not looking like a group on a run of six excellent wins, & were behind on fourteen minutes. A Mackenzie shot was saved but CORMACK netted the loose ball. Steven Anderson yapping at the referee required skipper Duff to be beckoned to the scene. Gregg Main was clocking up early fouls, amongst the eight that an eager Rothes team racked up before Locos had any fouls on the board, & next he clashed with Neil McLean off the ball. He escaped any action there & went on to avoid the book until deep into the second period. Locos finally mustered an effort upon goal, Gauld trapping the ball, turning & shooting over from fifteen yards. Main shot from distance, wind assisted, with Reid saving. MacKenzie was lively & sent in a few wicked crosses, before Main yet again left a calling card on McLean. The ongoing lack of a routine caution, either for any of the fouls in isolation, or for persistent fouling, had the Locos fans voicing their unhappiness. MacDonald chose to comne a long way off his line for a high ball, misjudged it & dropped the ball, but before Inverurie could capitalise a free kick was given. Anderson was next to be late & high on Souter, & then appearing to trod on the prone player. Again the homesters were cautionless, really surprising. Just as Locos were thinking that a 1-0 reverse at half time wasn’t a disaster in these conditions, bang, it was 2-0. The deflection that took the ball into the path of ANDERSON was fortuitous in the extreme but the finish was true & left Reid with no chance. HT 2-0 to Rothes. Jamie Michie was toiling in that opening period, not his usual self at all, and injury forced a half time change. Andy Hunter entered the fray & Chris Angus had a deflected shot saved at the near stick. Ryan Stott was a minimum of five yards onside as a cross field ball was pinged into space, with the raised flag from the farside linesman being somewhat embarrassing for everyone, such was the degree of the error. Steven Park voiced this fact & in a disproportionate response, received a yellow card. Mackenzie fired over from close in as Rothes blew a chance to close out the contest. Andy Hunter had a swerving effort tipped over – sadly for Locos the only save of any note at all for an underworked Ewen MacDonald. Souter then hit the bar as Locos finally got some pressure on the home goal. Both Gauld & Angus were regularly being held down inside the Rothes box but none drew a penalty, the latest of these was particularly blatant, arms right over the shoulders of Neil Gauld. Anderson was strong & combative for Rothes & his latest sprint to the byline saw his low cross find no takers. The timewasting by the home goalie wasn’t being nipped in the bud with every goalkick taking an age. Souter was yellowed for a foul that was miles short of the tariff that would usually merit a caution, & significantly tamer than the first half flurry of offences. Anderson shot straight at Reid & Robertson skied an easy chance from under the bar. Sardonic cheers & jeers were heard as Gregg Main picked up a yellow eighteen minutes from time. Andy Hunter had a header come down from the underside of the bar with the ball not crossing the line, indicative of the way this second period was going. Burnett caught a volley a little too well & it flew directly to MacDonald’s arms. Maley was reckless in tripping Souter & was cautioned. Main was high & late yet again, but his lucky afternoon continued as he escaped a second yellow. Ryan Stott skipped in as Rothes hesitated at the back & true to the Locos luck the ball struck the base of the left upright dribble across the goal with the rebound being blocked too. Finally Locos were awarded free kicks for the grappling of their players & the holding of their jerseys, but the Gauld one was dragged wide & the McLean one was too high. FT 2-0 to Rothes. The Inverurie disappointment post match was probably more about the performance than the defeat itself with the first half in particular way below the standard needed to trouble the league flag or the cup competitions. However on the flip side their second half defeats to lady luck & the frame of the goal could have gleaned a draw at least on several other days. A bump in the road on an exciting journey with the Railwaymen fully aware that they need to regain their form & their energy to enjoy the remainder of September. Wick Academy visit Harlaw on Saturday in the William Hill Scottish Cup.