Rossvale clash with title rivals Neilston ends all square

Keeper Jamie Donnelly's heroics helped Rossvale earn a draw at Neilston (pic by Helen Templeton/@dibsy_)
Keeper Jamie Donnelly's heroics helped Rossvale earn a draw at Neilston (pic by Helen Templeton/@dibsy_)

A brilliant strike from captain Jamie Hunter and a fantastic penalty save from Jamie Donnelly earned leaders Rossvale a 1-1 draw and a valuable point from their trip to title rivals Neilston on Saturday.

Straight from the whistle both teams got right into this six pointer game and no mercy was being shown from either side as the tackles were going in left, right and centre.

Jamie Hunter scored Rossvale's goal at Neilston (library pic by Jamie Forbes)

Jamie Hunter scored Rossvale's goal at Neilston (library pic by Jamie Forbes)

Donnelly was the first keeper tested in the eighth minute when Paul Stewart dummied a Neilston corner and Dylan Fletcher got a shot in but the keeper got enough of a hand to it.

Rossvale went straight upfield and Hunter tested the Neilston keeper who turned the ball out for a corner.

Neilston again tested Donnelly a few minutes later after some good work down the left and Stewart narrowly put the ball past the keeper’s right hand post, much to the relief of the ‘Vale defence.

But a minute later Vale went ahead after a fine piece of play. Kirk Forbes played in Gary Giffin who found Liam McGonigle and his cutback was met by Hunter whose tremendous 25-yard strike in his stride left home keeper Robert Tiropoulos stranded.

Neilston were unlucky five minutes later when, again after good play down the left by Stewart, Martin Curren got the ball stuck between his feet two yards out and Donnelly managed to save his feeble attempt on the line.

Rossvale attempted to get the ball down and play the ball on the ground but could only chase the long balls that Neilston were playing and the back two of Matt Niven and Peter Bradley were kept busy sweeping these attempts up at the back.

The second half started the same with Neilson playing long ball after long ball and on the hour mark won a corner out of nothing and Stewart found himself at the back post unmarked to tap in an equaliser.

Stewart then found himself one on one with Donnelly but the big keeper saved with his feet .

A minute later David Leadbetter fouled a Neilston player in the box and referee had no choice but to point to the penalty spot.

But Donnelly brought out a fantastic full-length save from a well-taken penalty by Stewart to turn the ball away for a corner.

After this the game started to get a little tousy with players from both sides picking up bookings for petty things.

With a couple of minutes left Stephen McGladrigan was taken off for Greg Fernie who was then sent through from a long ball over the top but a defender managed just to clear it before he could make contact.

Despite only taking a point Vale remained two points clear at the top of the Central First Division table.