This time last year Roselea took place in a winner takes all league match against Kirrie Thistle in which the away side took the honours and the North League Title.
One year on and with Kirrie Thistle relegated, Roselea’s Premier League fate was in their own hands as one point would guarantee safety whilst anything other than a win for Dundee Violet against Glenrothes would see them relegated whilst Glenrothes were in turn were looking for three points to secure third place and pip Dalkeith Thistle to the play off.
Roselea travelled minus the suspended Calum Rae and Calum Watson was an injury doubt. Scott Riach and Stuart Richardson were absent. On the plus side in came trialist Andrew Tringham from Johnshaven Athletic.
Craig Thomson the ex-Hearts player was first to threaten with a good low shot from quite wide and McLeod kept his eye on the ball as it just went past the post. There was another chance for Arniston when full back Brady got forward and crossed for Moffat who saw his shot scrambled off the line by Whyte.
With Roselea constantly shuffling around the pitch to close down when they did get possession they lost it too easily. There was always a danger however that Dale Reids pace would see him a danger on the break and he did break onto Danny Ross’s long ball but his left foot shoot lacked power to trouble Rachowski in the goal.
The home side’s KATELEZA picked the ball up 20 yards out and smacked a great shot into the top corner.
Arniston were well on top and managed to double their lead in 29 minutes. A very soft foul was awarded for a foul on Aitken and if it was a foul it looked to be inside the box. Thomson took the free kick and sent a low ball round the left hand side of the wall and although McLeod saved well KATELAZA followed up to knock home from close range.
Disaster struck just a minute from half time. Anderson committed a foul just outside of the box and this time Craig THOMSON curled the ball around the corner of the wall and past McLeod to put the home side on easy street. News then filtered through that Violet were leading Glenrothes 1-0, meaning as things stood Roselea were going down.
Half-time: Arniston Rangers 3, Montrose Roselea 0
Roselea made a couple of changes at half time with both Paul Taylor and Aaron Thomson being replaced by Andrew Tringham and Calum Watson.
Dale REID’s pace took him away from Callaghan before rounding Rachowski to make it 3-1. Almost at the same time up at Dundee, Glenrothes had equalised meaning things were looking up for Roselea.
Paul WHYTE headed home a Cruickshank corner in 82 minutes to make it a grandstand finish.
Craig Anderson had a shot as the ball came out of the box and it somehow found its way to Calum WATSON who opened up a chance before expertly flicking the ball past Rachowski to square the match in the 90th minute.
This created mass scenes of jubilation as the Roselea players celebrated on top of the embankment near the corner flag. They were soon joined by the subs, management, supporters and just about everyone who travelled from Montrose as a huge green pile on developed.
Next cause for concern on a day when every football emotion was to be felt was how long the referee would add in stoppages? Some six minutes ensued in which Arniston had two genuine shooting chances blocked by Taylor and Whyte but there was to be no last ditch disaster for Roselea. After a false dawn when the referee appeared to blow for full time it turned out to be for a free kick then the true celebrations started as he called a halt to the game.
Not many people would have envisaged that Roselea would be 3-0 down at half-time and also that Dundee Violet would have been getting the better of an on form Glenrothes side looking to clinch the third place play-off spot.
Roselea will now compete in the Premier League 2014-15 and become only the second Lea side to do so with the other being the 2006-7 side which stayed up.
An emotional Roselea manager Ralph Brand admitted he broke down in tears as he addressed his players at the end as he thanked them for their efforts, not just on Saturday but over the course of the season. He also thanked assistant manager Steve Kerrigan for his help since coming to the club in November. He is excited by his young players and feels that they can only get better and learn from this seasons experience.
Roselea: McLeod, P Taylor, R Taylor, Whyte, Thomson, Ross, Collier, Anderson, Reoch, Cruickshank & Reid. Subs: Watson, Tringham (T), C Taylor and Gammie (T).