Rossvale are held as derby ends deadlocked

Celebrations after Alex Cassells puts Rossvale 2-1 up against St Roch's
Celebrations after Alex Cassells puts Rossvale 2-1 up against St Roch's

Rossvale let a two-goal lead slip in an enthralling local derby with St Roch’s at Petershill on Saturday.

‘Vale missed the chance to close the gap at the top of the Central District First Division table as they were held in a match played more in the spirit of a cup tie.

In a frantic opening period it wasn’t until the 22nd minute that there was the first semblance of an opportunity on goal, Fraser Team pulling his effort wide of the Roch’s goal after latching on to a ball over the defence by Corey Irvine.

But the home fans were given something to cheer about 7 minutes later.

Rhys Donaldson’s lofted free-kick wasn’t properly cleared by the Roch’s rearguard and the ball fell to Ryan Coll who, from just outside the area, caught the ball just right to send a shot zipping across the turf and in off the inside of ’keeper John Stark’s right hand post.

St Roch’s best chance of the first half fell to Darryl Naismith 12 minutes before the break but his effort from outside the Rossvale penalty area proved little match for Jon Connolly who had a comfortable save to his right.

The Rossvale advantage was doubled 11 minutes into the second half.

The ever industrious Team chased hard to win the ball midway inside the St Roch’s half and slipped it into the path of Alex Cassells who, despite being put under pressure by two defenders, managed to steer it beyond the onrushing Stark and into the empty net.

At first the second goal appeared to knock the stuffing out of St Roch’s but after a couple of changes to their line-up which seemed to galvanise them they made a spirited comeback.

With 20 minutes left they were back in it as Jordan Logan’s cross flashed across the Rossvale goal and Naismith, lurking unmarked at the back post, made no mistake from four yards.

The equaliser came from the penalty spot the referee deemed Donaldson had handled attempting to block a shot and John Sweeney sent Connolly the wrong way from the spot.

Both teams had half-chances but there was no further scoring.

The point leaves Rossvale in third place three points behind Renfrew with two games in hand ahead of the crunch clash between the two at Petershill this Saturday.