ROSELEA, who were defeated 2-1 at Lochee Harp effectively gave up any realistic chance of the McBookie.com North Division title, as leaders Violet drew 1-1 with North End.
The loss leaves Roselea four points behind with Violet having the security of a game in hand.
Roselea headed to Beechwood Park, Lochee, to face Harp in their fourth-last league game of the campaign. A win was a must.
They were minus the unavailable James Collier and Ross Colquhoun, and injured Callum Rae.
On a decent, overcast day in Dundee Roselea kicked off on a surface that was slightly fiery.
The visitors started the match in a lively fashion and had the first chance in five minutes when a right-footed Paul Whyte strike hit the base of the post after he connected with an Aitken lay-off.
Roselea then had a good spell but Harp had the best chance to date when Williamson twisted in the box and only a last-ditch slide from McLeod makes him blast his shot into the side netting.
Harp were causing Roselea problems with their running off the ball and in 24 minutes the homesters capitalised on this flaw. STARK ran into the box in space and shot home from 15 yards.
Roselea had a chance to pull even on the half-hour when Aitken held the ball up and played it to Fletcher who had a great angled shot beaten out by Brown in the Harp goal. In 40 minutes an inswinging Webster corner was headed behind at the far post by Mustard who was under pressure from a Harp defender.
Half-time: Lochee Harp 1, Roselea 0.
Roselea made a change after the break as Riach replaced the injured Fletcher.
In a mirror-image of the end of the first half Mustard was inches away from connecting with a Webster corner in 50 minutes. Urquhart was then unlucky to be booked when he challenged fairly for the ball but was adjudged to have been reckless, injuring Kelly.
Strachan replaced Webster in 60 minutes and was soon involved in the action. He swung in a cross from the left and although Riach missed the header he caused all sorts of problems for the home ‘keeper who was happy to see it turned behind for a corner.
Roselea had a good chance when another Strachan cross was headed clear by Fotheringham to Aitken who chested the ball down and when his shot was deflected into the path of Whyte he couldn’t direct his shot on target.
The visitors had a great 20-minute spell in the second half but just couldn’t get the little break they deserved and were dealt a sucker punch in 80 minutes when Harp sub MULLEN broke on the right and finished well.
Brand replaced Jo Aitken with five minutes remaining. The substitution paid off when BRAND did well to swivel in the box, lose his marker and shoot home from a narrow angle.
The last few minutes had Roselea frantically trying to salvage something from the game but Harp held firm.
Roselea: McLeod, P. Taylor, R. Taylor, Whyte, Reoch, Webster, Mustard, Anderson, Urquhart, Fletcher, Aitken. Substitutes: Riach, Strachan, Brand and Craig.
The result effectively kills Roselea’s challenge for the title with three games remaining. They have done well to hold on the shirt-tails of Violet who earned a 1-1 draw with North End but they did not have enough in the tank to overcome a very stuffy Harp side.
Roselea have another trip on the road to Davie Park, Blairgowrie, on Saturday with a 2.30pm kick-off.