Greenock 1 Rossvale 1: Second half fightback denies Rossvale

Rossvale were pegged back after taking a first half lead
Rossvale were pegged back after taking a first half lead

Rossvale dropped two points as a second half fightback earned Greenock a share of the spolis at Ravenscraig Oark on Saturday.

The match was pretty much the proverbial game of two halves, with Rossvale on top for most of the opening period.

Lively front-man Craig Holmes, formerly of Bellshill and Gartcairn, had a clear shoot-on-sight policy, testing Greenock keeper Ryan McWilliams at every opportunity.

And it was Holmes who fired Rossvale into the lead after just 16 minutes, spotting the keeper slightly off his line and blasting in a stunning drive from all of 35 yards.

The Greenock rearguard was struggling to contain the lively striker, who almost scored again six minutes later when a long ball over the home defence sent him in on goal, but McWilliams raced from his area to block the shot.

The Ravenscraig men had been under the cosh, but were gradually getting back into the match, with a Simon McBryde free-kick on 39 minutes whistling just inches past.

Loan signing Andy Biddulph then had the ball in the net just before half-time, but was clearly offside.

Greenock had by far the better of the second half, but the match could have been over within just 90 seconds of the restart.

Rossvale centre-forward Smart Osadolor looked certain to make it 2-0 when he latched on to a through ball and rounded McWilliams, but then sent his shot over the bar with the open goal at his mercy.

Greenock took advantage of the reprieve, and after a few close things they got the leveller with 65 minutes played.

A whipped cross into the box from Martin Orr saw Rossvale keeper James Donnelly attempt to punch the ball clear, but only succeed in deflecting it off the back of Greenock sub Craig Brown.

The ball seemed to be trundling towards the net, but Ryan Craig rushed in to make sure, prodding it home from close range.

Greenock were well on top now and pushing hard for what would likely have been a winning goal, but their prospects were hampered with the ordering off of Barry McLaughlin in the 76th minute.

As a ruck of players battled for a loose ball on the half-way line, the defender rushed in with a wild swipe of a high boot, and was immediately shown the red card by referee Grainger for violent conduct.

The incident, followed by manager Stevie Mooney’s dismissal from the dug-out less than 10 minutes later, took the wind out of the Greenock sails.

But they almost snatched a late winner, as Cory Hughes headed over the bar from a corner kick, and then in the dying stages another Orr cross found Darren Patton in space, but the sub yelled in frustration as he pulled his shot wide.

The point keeps Rossvale in fourth position in the league table.