ROSELEA travelled to Westview Park, Kirriemuir, to face the local Thistle side on Saturday.
The ‘Lea had picked up their form after the defeat to Downfield in early March winning their last four games away from home to haul themselves back up to the top of the league.
With seven difficult games remaining every match is going to be a cup final. They entered the game with Robert Urquhart and Sean Mustard unavailable along with long term absentees Ewan Graham and Colin Page.
Roselea got off to a dream start with two goals in the opening eight minutes. In four minutes a Reoch free kick was deflected into the path of Scott RIACH and he slotted home from close range.
In eight minutes it was 2-0 to the visitors as they continued their flying start. This time a long ball put Craig WATSON in and he slotted past the ‘keeper from a tight angle.
In 16 minutes Kirrie pulled themselves back into the game after a defensive mix up between McLeod and Whyte allowed MILLAR to nip in between and roll home into an empty goal.
Roselea had a good spell of pressure and forced a string of corners and it was from the fourth one they extended their lead. Colin Kennedy’s deep corner was headed back across goal by Whyte and WATSON bulleted a header in off the crossbar from close range in 26 minutes.
On the half-hour mark Strachan intercepted a slack McKenna pass and found Aitken at the back post but he could not get enough on his shot to trouble home ‘keeper Hutchison.
Once again Kirrie hauled themselves back into the game this time courtesy of a soft penalty award in 31 minutes. TAYLOR was brought down by Colquhoun and although McLeod got his hand to the spot kick he could not prevent the ball crossing the line to make it 3-2.
Kirrie were now searching for the equaliser and McLeod had to watch carefully as Casey threw in a cross which just missed the crossbar. Roselea had to survive a scramble in the box and then Kirrie had to deal with another scramble at the other in end following a Roselea corner in 35 minutes.
On 40 minutes Watson broke strongly and after getting his shot away the referee pulled play back for a foul. Kennedy took the kick but it was high off the target.
Watson again broke free after another McKenna error and this time he forced a good save from Hutchison who turned it round the post.
Roselea opened the second half strongly and a McKenna back header was intercepted by Watson. However, his first touch was too strong and Hutchison gathered.
Aitken had another chance in 50 minutes when another mix up saw him win possession in the wide area and he tried to round the ‘keeper when he may have been better shooting from a tight angle.
Colin Kennedy picked up an injury and was replaced by David Craig in 58 minutes.
Ten minutes later Watson and Aitken combined well and Aitken managed to get in a great left-foot shot which was saved for a corner.
Kirrie seemed to get on top after Roselea lost their shape following Kennedy’s withdrawal and their pressure paid off in 75 minutes. A cross from the left and McLeod dived only to punch the ball off Paul Whyte only for it to land to substitute RUSSELL who finished from close range.
Hood replaced Strachan for Roselea in 78 minutes.
Three minutes later Roselea were caught square at the back and Millar was in but his shot was saved brilliantly by McLeod.
Kirrie had three further chances before the end with one free kick hitting the outside of the post. Watson had a free kick turned round the post at the other end and the game fizzled out to a draw.
Roselea seemed to have control of this game but three bits of soft defending ultimately cost them the points. With Downfield winning at Coupar Angus they leapfrog the Montrose men and sit in first spot by a point, although Roselea still have a game in hand. Fellow challengers North End and Violet had cup games and will take heart from the fact that Roselea dropped two points.
Roselea: McLeod, Colquhoun, Whyte, Doug Craig, Reoch, Kennedy, Strachan, Collier, Watson, Aitken &Riach. Subs: Miller, Fotheringham, Reid, Hood, Craig, Rae and Brand.
Roselea now face Violet at home on Saturday (April 16) with kick-off 2.30pm.
There are still some hospitality places available. Contact Roy Gill on 07908 763219.