Hurlford 1 Rob Roy 0: Rabs edged out by league leaders

Rob Roy battled hard to push leaders Hurlford (pic by Neil Anderson)
Rob Roy battled hard to push leaders Hurlford (pic by Neil Anderson)

A depleted Rob Roy side were unable to put the brakes on Hurlford’s 100 per cent start to the Premiership season, writes Neil Anderson.

Stewart Maxwell’s side battled hard, but a single strike was enough to make it nine in a row for the Ayrshire outfit.

Rabs started confidently and forced two early corners before, at the other end, Adam Hodge brought out a smart save from the Roy’s keeper John Hutchison.

Gavin Mackie went close for the visitors with a 20-yard free-kick which keeper Alistair Brown collected at the second attempt, and Jordan Currie-McLean glanced a header narrowly past from another Mackie free-kick.

The home side were given a great chance to open thew scoring when they were awarded an 18th minute penalty after Michael Daly pulled Ross Robertson in the box, but Liam Caddis saw his spot kick brilliantly saved by the diving Hutchison.

In a period of ‘Ford pressure James Hilton fired over the Roy crossbar from a tight angle and then Hutchison did well to cut out a dangerous Hodge cross in to the box.

Play swung to the other end with John Sweeney’s 18-yard drive going narrowly wide and Alberto Vezza going close with a snap shot.

However it was Hurlford who took the lead when Calum Watt ran through to slot the ball past Hutchison with the Rob Roy defence looking for offside.

Minutes before the break Sweeney sent a 20-yard effort over the bar but it was the home side who went in at the interval with a narrow lead.

Six minutes into the second half Hutchison made another wonderful save to prevent Caddis making it 2-0.

However Rabs were matching the leaders and when Mackie’s corner was scrambled clear the ball broke to Cameron Clark who fired over from distance..

Then Vezza’s cross was taken from the head of Willie Sawyers, making his 150th appearance for the club, by an alert Brown.

Hutchison was again called into action, time diving low to prevent a Hilton goal.

In a thoroughly entertaining encounter Mackie then had a clear chance to open the Roy’s account but his finish lacked power and failed to trouble Brown.

In the final 20 minutes the visitors looked more likely to score. Mackie’s cross was headed goalwards by Vezza but was easily taken by Brown and then the same player turned another Mackie cross past the post.

Clever play from Clark then set up Mackie to cross for Sawyers and his glancing header went over the bar.

In the 77th minute Hurlford had the ball in the net again only for referee Birch to disallow Caddis’s ‘goal’ for handball.

Rabs pushed forward in the final minutes for the equaliser but ‘Ford held on to gain all three points from a match Rabs will be disappointed to leave pointless.

The result sees Rob Roy slip into the bottom three table and the squad will be hoping that those missing through injury, illness and suspension will soon return.

Sponsor Jim Neilly presented the Supporters’ Man of the Match trophy, kindly donated by Roddy the Dog Walker, to Alberto Vezza.