Rossvale’s lead at the top of the Central District First Division was cut to two points following a 1-1 draw and below par performance at home to Neilston on Saturday
The fact that ’keeper Elliot, making his league debut, got the Rossvale man of the match award was an indication of the lack of attacking play to which Rossvale fans have been more accustomed to in recent weeks.
From the outset Neilston started the brighter of the two teams, forcing Rossvale onto the back foot with their style of pressing from the front.
It took Rossvale almost four minutes before they managed to venture into their opponents half of the field for the first time.
The first goal scoring opportunity fell to the feet of Neilston’s McCuish in the fifth minute from the right hand side of the Rossvale penalty area.
A clever lay off from Cameron presented McCuish with enough time and space to fire a right foot shot goalwards, but fortunately for Rossvale Elliot was at hand to make a comfortable save.
Rossvale’s best chances of the first half came in a five-minute period either side of the half-hour mark.
A meandering run by Kane down the Rossvale left saw him cut inside the Neilston full-back and play a clever reverse pass to Fraser Team who had taken up a good position inside the Neilston area.
But Digney proved equal to the task in the Neilston goal, producing a fine save to his left from Team’s right foot effort.
Digney was on hand again for Neilston, producing another two fine stops in quick succession this time from Irvine and McKay.
The start of the second period was almost a mirror image of the first with Neilston in the ascendancy and Elliot was called into action again, producing another excellent save from Neilston’s substitute Lochhead’s 25-yard strike.
The deadlock was broken on ther hour courtesy of a controversial penalty decision which left both sets of players baffled.
From a Neilston corner from the Rossvale right hand side the referee must have seen something that everyone else missed.
The ball broke to the opposite end of the penalty area and whilst both defenders and attackers were chasing the loose ball the referee pointed to the spot, to the delight of the unsuspecting Neilston players and to the bemusement of the Rossvale team.
Cameron made no mistake with the spot kick sending Elliot in the wrong direction.
The penalty award seemed to sting Rossvale into action and the Neilston advantage only lasted for four minutes with Hepburn heavily involved in the build-up to the equaliser.
McKay played the ball foreward to Hepburn whose cross eluded both full-back and ’keeper to find Ryan Kane eight yards from goal and he showed the composure of an accomplished striker to slot the ball between keeper and defender to level the tie.
A flurry of late opportunities for both teams saw Elliot in action again for the Vale making a great save from Neilston’s Diack and Digney making a superb stop to deny Kane.
On the balance of play Neilston will feel hard done by not to have gained a victory against the table toppers and based on this performance their lowly league position seems to be an inaccurate indication of their potential.