Arniston Rangers 0
Montrose Roselea 1
Roselea unexpectedly travelled to Gorebridge, Edinburgh, to face Arniston Rangers. With most of the country frost-bound, and the home side’s previous week’s game being postponed, it was expected that the game would be off. However, the match referee passed the pitch playable at 9 a.m.
Roselea travelled without the injured Ross Mitchell, who picked up a knock against Dundee Violet the previous week, and Scott McDowell, who was still resting his groin, along with Craig Taylor.
James Collier also picked up a knock against Violet and was subjected to a pre-match fitness test which he did not pass, meaning he took a place on the bench. Kyle Findlater returned from his bug and slotted in at right-back with Calum Rae moving forward into the right midfield berth.
Roselea were on a fantastic run of seven straight League wins and with only two games on in the East Region, a win would possibly see Roselea go joint top in the Premier League.
Arniston kicked off on a surprisingly frost-free but heavy pitch and created the first chance in four minutes, when Ryan Taylor conceded a corner. Mcleod’s punch was not convincing and Reoch was well-placed to clear, when the ball fell to him at the back post.
In nine minutes, a long Taylor clearance was flicked on by Watson and Reid was marginally offside as he broke free.
In 15 minutes, Roselea had their best move of the game, when the ball was played wide to Rae and his cross was punched clear by Cornet, under a Watson challenge, and the ball fell to Cruickshank but he could not get a shot away. In 18 minutes, Cruickshank was looking hungry for the ball and when his low cross was missed by a defender there were no Roselea attackers in the vicinity to take advantage.
The game was swinging from end to end and Arniston had the next chance, when Bauld cut inside Ryan Taylor with Mcleod being very alert, to tackle with his feet, in 21 minutes.
Arniston had a great chance to break the deadlock in 25 minutes, when Findlater played Kateleza onside at the other side of the pitch and a great tackle from Whyte saw the ball deflect into the side-netting for a corner.
Again the play swung from end-to-end and just as quickly as Reid was almost in for Roselea. Kateleza broke and squared to Moffat, who was pulled up for a handball just as he was about to shoot. Miller then had the first on-target shot for the home team, when his 30-yard shot was well held by Mcleod.
Roselea hit the bar in 34 minutes, when Watson took advantage of a slack pass and only some pressure from Callaghan possibly made it more difficult, and his shot smacked off the crossbar and away to safety.
In 40 minutes, Roselea had the last chance of what was a fairly even first half. The ball fell to Rae, eight yards out, and he scooped his shot over the bar.
Half Time: Arniston Rangers 0, Montrose Roselea 0.
Roselea took the lead, with the first chance of the second half, in 52 minutes. Dale REID took advantage of a slip by a home defender on the halfway line and progressed 25 yards and, when his early shot came back to him, he rounded ‘keeper Cornet before shooting home from the angle, for goal number 19 of the season.
Roselea made an immediate change, with Andrew Tringham coming on for Morgan Smith.
A minute later, Rae went close with a chipped shot from the angle that the home ‘keeper was glad to see drop over the top.
Arniston forced a series of corners on the hour mark and Moffat was sending in dangerous balls. Dale Reid back-tracked on one clearance and had to be accurate with his tackle to avoid a penalty kick.
In 63 minutes, Miller of Arniston was booked for cutting Cruickshank down in the middle of the park, with Roselea preferring the advantage had been given. Cruickshank took the kick himself, which was bang in the middle of the goals 25 yards out, but did not get enough power to threaten Cornet.
With 71 minutes gone, Roselea created another chance on the break when Tringham played Watson in wide. He slid in, won the ball from the defender, and tried to chip the ‘keeper from the angle but was off-target.
Arniston kept plugging away, with their best efforts more dangerous corners from Moffat, which Roselea dealt with.
Anderson went on a run into the box in 75 minutes, and when Cornet turned his shot along the line, Reid just failed to keep the ball in.
There was another Arniston booking when Reid broke free and Watson brought him down, but luckily he had cover behind him.
In 80 minutes, Roselea’s Whyte did well to head a corner over his own bar whilst under severe pressure.
Roselea saw out the remaining minutes, but there was one last save for Mcleod to make, when he had to hold a dipping free-kick under pressure in the last minute of regulation time.
Stephen Greig replaced Calum Watson as Roselea ran the clock down to seal eight successive League wins in a row.
This was yet another deserved, but hard-fought, win by the team. The success, along with Dalkeith’s loss at Oakley United., means Roselea move to joint-top of the Premier League, albeit they have played two more games than St Andrews. This has been an amazing turnaround in fortunes, after taking just four points from their first eight games. There were great displays from the defence who were solid yet again and the front two worked their socks off to secure the win.
Roselea are now at home to Oakley United on Saturday, January 24, with a 1.45 p.m. kick-off. Oakley moved up to fifth place, with their 2-1 win over Dalkeith, and Roselea will be looking to avenge their 2-0 reversal in August.
Roselea: Mcleod, Findlater, R. Taylor, Reoch, Whyte, Rae, Anderson, Smith, Cruickshank, Watson, Reid. Substitutes: Tringham, Thomson, P. Taylor, Collier and Greig.