Roselea travelled to Kings Park, Dalkeith, for a very tricky League encounter, top equal in the Premier League with 32 points.
Dalkeith were sitting one point behind, with both teams having played 18 games out of the 30 to be played. Roselea beat Dalkeith 3-0 in an East of Scotland Cup tie early in the season, however a depleted ‘Lea side also went down 2-0 a few weeks later in the League.
After last week’s draw with North End, which saw the nine-game winning streak come to an end, Roselea were boosted by the return of James Collier and Dale Reid. Reid didn’t hang about, getting back amongst the goals after having scored the only goal in a friendly win over Brechin Vics on Monday night.
Dalkeith gave the visitors a warm welcome and made them feel at home, however that was more down to the Broomfield-esque wind, blowing right down the pitch.
In the first minute, Manson of the home team should have found his way into the referee’s book for ungentlemanly conduct after impeding Mcleod as he tried to kick off and sticking the ball in the net.
Roselea had the wind at their back, which is seldom an advantage when attacking, but they made a chance in eight minutes. The ball was played across the midfield from Collier to Anderson and on to Tringham, who threw in a dangerous cross ball, which Watson was inches from connecting with.
Manson was then booked for a high challenge and after what had happened in the first minute he could count himself lucky to be still in the game.
Dalkeith took the lead in 14 minutes, under a slight bit of controversy. McNaughton of Dalkeith went down with a leg injury and after play had raged on for 30 seconds, he then pulled play back and awarded a free-kick. When the ball came in Rae missed his clearance and after a fine save from the first effort from MORRIS his second low shot found its way into the net.
Dalkeith doubled their lead in 18 minutes and it was the same player who caused the problems. A clever ball was played in behind Whyte and held up in the wind and MORRIS wasted no time in shooting in off the post to make it 2-0.
In 27 minutes, Craig Anderson had a great run and shot from 25 yards, with the Dalkeith ‘keeper managing to turn it over the bar. Roselea were coming back into things and Reid had a well-struck overhead kick saved which, if it had gone anywhere else in the goalmouth, would have been in.
Roselea forced a string of corners but with a couple of scrambles where the ball would not drop for them, they could not reduce the deficit.
Reid then laid another ball back to Rae, who had a blast from 20 yards, and despite the ball striking the hand of a Dalkeith defender, it was in the line of his body and correctly not given as a penalty.
Play flowed from end to end and Mcleod reacted very well when a long ball almost caught Roselea out and as he punted the ball to the other end a mistake from a home defender allowed Reid in, but he shot over when he had time to compose himself.
Roselea looked to have given themselves a lifeline in 43 minutes, when Craig Anderson flighted in a great ball and Andy TRINGHAM guided his header over the ‘keeper and into the corner of the net.
In first half stoppage time, Dalkeith stretched their lead back to two, when some sloppy defending saw MANSON skip onto a ball which fell perfectly for him, before shooting low past Mcleod with a great finish.
Half-time: Dalkeith Thistle 3, Montrose Roselea 1.
Roselea started the second half with their final two substitutes being used, as the management team made a statement of intent for the second period. Cruickshank and Findlater came on, to replace the full backs Rae and Taylor, with Andy Tringham slotting back to left-back.
Roselea had two early chances, with Watson just failing to get a shot away as the ball crossed his path in the box, then Reid had a well-struck snap shot from the edge of the box, which the keeper held well.
Roselea were given a glimmer of getting back into the game in 63 minutes, when the home sweeper was sent off for an off-the-ball incident involving Watson. Although he did kick out, it was never going to be dangerous and a booking might have sufficed.
In 67 minutes, Roselea were frustrated by the referee, when Watson flicked the ball on to Reid in a great position, but he pulled play back for the free-kick.
Sub Cruickshank was coming into the game and almost got Roselea back to within one goal in 73 minutes, when he turned the full-back but shot over with his less-favoured right foot.
Reid then had a chance in 80 minutes, when a mistake allowed him to cut along the bye-line but his shot curled away from the goal.
Roselea got the chance they were waiting for in 83 minutes, and it was a piece of brave refereeing which it came from. Dalkeith were defending a free-kick and despite clearing the ball, the referee spotted an off-the-ball infringement, away from the action, and awarded a penalty. Michael CRUICKSHANK took on the responsibility and put his foot through the ball, striking an unstoppable penalty into the net.
Roselea pressed for the remaining time, but despite forcing a couple of corners, they could not get a dramatic equaliser and Dalkeith deservedly took the three points.
This was a disappointing end to the 10-game unbeaten run, although it was always going to be a tough task to go to Dalkeith and take something against the team who now top the League. Some poor defending in the first half cost Roselea, and Dalkeith barely had four attempts at goal. The third goal, just on half-time, was a cruel blow to Roselea’s hopes. Overall, it was a deserved win for the home side but Roselea did not give up and battled away to the final whistle.
Roselea have a chance to get back on to the points run when Jeanfield Swifts visit Broomfield Park on Saturday for a McBookie.com East Premier League match with a 2.30 p.m. kick-off.
Roselea will be looking to avenge their heaviest League defeat of the season, when they went down 5-2 at the Riverside Stadium in September.
Roselea: Mcleod, Rae, R. Taylor, Reoch, Whyte, Mitchell, Anderson, Collier, Tringham, Watson, Reid. Substitutes: Cruickshank, Findlater, Thomson, Smith and Module.