Wishaw setback for Vale’s promotion challenge

Rossvale boss Brian McGinty

Rossvale boss Brian McGinty

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Rossvale suffered a disappointing week as they crashed out of the Central League Cup and then saw their promotion hopes dealt a serious blow.

Saturday’s 3-0 league reverse to Central First Division promotion rivals Wishaw was punishment for an inept performance against a determined Wishaw outfit. From the outset the Rossvale players were half a yard off the pace, second to every ball and overall simply lacklustre.

Wishaw almost took the lead in the 15th minute when a cross from the left rebounded off one of the Rossvale centre backs and fell kindly to Vincent McGuire whose snapped effort from eight yards was only denied by Jon Connolly’s left hand post.

But this was only a sign of what was to come.

Just a minute later Chris McIntyre swung over a cross deep into the Rossvale penalty area which none of the Rossvale defence or ’keeper reacted to.

Ross McGeachie must have thought all his Christmases had come at once when he found himself unmarked at the back post and with the simplest of headers he put Wishaw into a deserving lead.

One of the most surprising aspects of the remainder of the first half was that Wishaw didn’t manage to extend their lead, especially just before the break with two opportunities in quick succession.

The first was from the head of Barry Eley whose near post run saw him getting on the end of Graeme Goodall’s corner only to see his effort flash over the bar.

Then Vincent McGuire’s curling left-foot shot from the edge of the Rossvale was heading for the postage stamp corner before Connolly managed to produce an acrobatic save to claw it away.

Wishaw didn’t hang about after the break and extended their advantage just four minutes into the second half.

From what could only be described as a nothing ball from the Wishaw defence the entire Rossvale back line stopped and watched as Daniel Kindlan raced into the Rossvale penalty area and lobbed Connolly from 12 yards.

Nine minutes later Wishaw went three up, once again as a result of Rossvale switching off.

Kindlan’s long throw into the Rossvale penalty area was flicked on by Kevin Grant as a the defence failed to react and McGeachie had all the time in the world to pick his spot with a header from close range.

The remainder of the game petered out with Wishaw in control and not being threatened by Rossvale whose travelling support must have gone home questioning why a group of players can switch off in such a manner in a short space of time.

It was a second away defeat in five days for ’Vale whose hopes of a Central League Cup run ended at the first hurdle when they were beaten 2-0 by holders Thorniewood United.

After a goalless first period the Viewpark side went ahead through Chris Lennon six minutes into the second half.

Lennon latched onto the ball on the edge of the Rossvale box and beat Jon Connolly with a low drive.

Rossvale, who also lost at Thorniewood in the league earlier in the season, fell further behind 12 minutes later when Chris Robb headed home from close range to seal a deserved win.

The defeat leaves Rossvale in fourth place in the league, 16 behind leaders Renfrew and 12 adrift of second placed Wishaw.

They do have five games in hand on Renfrew and have played four less than Wishaw but now face a testing schedule of three away games in six days, at Johnstone Burgh on Monday, St Roch’s on Wednesday and Maryhill on Saturday.