Roselea faced Bathgate Thistle in their latest McBookie.com East Premier League match at Broomfield Park.
The Creamery Park side were one time leaders, but had slipped back to sixth place with only an outside chance of one of the two automatic promotion places. A play-off place was still very much on the cards.
Whilst in second place in September, Roselea had one of their most cruel defeats of the opening two months of the season when leading 2-1 with five minutes remaining the home side managed to bang in two late goals.
Roselea had some selection problems with James Collier suspended following his red card, Calum Watson doubtful through injury and Stuart Richardson, Scott Riach and Paul Taylor out through work.
Goalkeeper Ross McLeod returned from holiday ,however Ralph Brand stuck with youngster Josh Gray, who had done well in his previous two games. Craig Anderson made a welcome return to the side after injury and suspension and after Jo Reoch declared himself unfit after a week of flu.
Ralph Brand made a surprise start in the side. Merpro player Euan Duff was welcomed along as a trialist for the game. Broomfield Park was starting to show the fruits of a mild winter with the surface looking green and as good as could be at this time of the year.
In five minutes Bathgate with the wind slightly in their favour almost caught Roselea out when Lurinsky almost beat the offside trap but his touch let him down and the ball ran out of play.
Roselea took the lead three minutes later from the penalty spot. Roselea broke up the right and Anderson spotted a great run from Reid which saw him brought down by Robinson.
After a booking for the defender and several replacings of the ball due to the wind Ryan TAYLOR was calm enough to slot the ball past ‘keeper Reid into the corner of the net with the stopper almost getting to the ball.
In 12 minutes there was a massive let off for the home team when Baird hit a smacking left-foot drive off the underside of the bar from 25 yards and when the rebound fell to Swan it was only a great interception from Richardson that prevented a goal.
Roselea took a 2-0 lead in 16 minutes. A free kick was awarded and Calum Rae sent in a great ball which was only cleared as far as Brand and his scuffed shot was slammed home by Dale REID at the far post with some fears about offside.
Roselea were buoyant and in a great move up the left hand side Cruickshank took on three players before squaring to Reid who got the better of Robinson before the ball broke kindly to Welsh to clear for Bathgate.
Bathgate got a goal back in 28 minutes when after a bit of pressure a mix up between keeper Gray and Rae saw JACK have a simple headed goal to make it 2-1.
Bathgate had a couple more attacks with Swan in particular having a couple of well time runs only to be beaten by the strenghth of the wind.
Half-time: Montrose Roselea 2, Bathgate Thistle 1.
Disaster struck for Roselea just three minutes into the second half as they equalsed from a penalty of their own in 48 minutes. A well timed run from Swan saw him get the better of a very square Roselea back four and he ran goalwards only to be bundled down by Richardson who much to his relief only saw yellow. In similar conditions and pressure to the ones that Taylor faced in the first half WHITE made sure with a composed penalty to beat Gray.
Roselea started the half a bit ragged and seemed to be loosing their composure after doing so well first half and Gray had to be sharp to come out and smother from danger man Swan.
Both teams were creating chances with the game evenly poised. However, it was going to take something special to win such an evenly poised game.
In 79 minutes Ross of Roselea brought a ball down beautifully and his touch took him inside the defender but his left footed shot was too straight at ‘keeper Reid.
Roselea made a change in 80 minutes when Watson replaced the tiring Brand,
The homesters had two big penalty claims in the space of a minute when first Cruickshank then Reid both went past defender Robinson only to be bundled to the ground but on both occasions play raged on.
Roselea pressed at the end and Watson and Reid had chances to break through however they were both given offside which must have been close calls.
Roselea: Gray, Richardson, R. Taylor, Whyte, Thomson, Anderson, Ross, Brand, Rae, Cruickshank, Reid. Subs: Watson, C. Taylor, Duff, McLeod and Kerrigan.
Considering the league placings Roselea might have been happy with a point in such circumstances. However having gone into a lead early on nobody could grudge them looking for the three points. Once Bathgate equalised it was maybe a case of both teams were happy with the point and if either had snatched it would have been a travesty. Results elsewhere generally went in Roselea’s favour which meant they kept their survival spot in fifth bottom.
This week Roselea face Kinnoull at home in the league and will hope for revenge and a better result than the 4-1 loss a few weeks ago in Perth when missed chances cost them. Kick-off is at 2.30 p.m. at Broomfield Park.