Rossvale suffered only their second league defeat of the season as they went down 3-1 to Johnstone Burgh at Petershill on Saturday.
With former Celtic winger Bobby Petta making his debut, along with ex-Motherwell and Albion Rovers ’keeper Jon Connolly, the scene was set for an exciting game between the top two sides in last season’s Central Division Two.
But it didn’t live up to expectations as both teams struggled to get started in a scrappy first period.
Rossvale may have just shaded the first half but were made to pay dearly for their lacklustre performance after the break when Burgh were allowed to string passes together.
’Vale started well and Fraser Team tried his luck from 25 yards but his shot went over the bar.
A minute later Petta’s cross was cleared for a corner and from the resulting Chris McQuade cross Craig McGregor narrowly headed over from five yards.
Rossvale got a fright when Jack Heron got through one on one with Connolly but his final touch let him down and the ’keeper had an easy save to make.
But the home side went ahead on 25 minutes when Fraser Team latched onto a long Connolly kick and rounded ’keeper Fraser Wilson to score.
It was a deserved lead, but it only lasted four minutes as Connolly played a clearance against the advancing Heron who coolly slotted home to level.
’Vale should have regained the lead straight from the kick-off but Jay McKay’s cross deceived everyone and went out for a goal kick.
Jim Hunter then found Petta about 20 yards out but his shot went narrowly over.
The second half started with Corey Irvine being replaced by Lewis Kinnaird after having to go off with a head knock. Petta did not reappear for the second half either due to a slight knock he had received early in the game.
Team was working tirelessly and set up McQuade whose cross into the box was missed with the goal at ’Vale’s mercy.
Team then chased down another long ball and found Hunter but again his shot was well off the mark.
But Burgh had started to settle and only a great save by Connolly kept the score even after a very good move down the right.
However Burgh weren’t to be denied and went ahead after Jason Hardie beat a couple of players in the box and curled his shot past the advancing Connolly.
The goal seemed to knock the fight out of ’Vale and when Burgh won a soft free-kick at the edge of the box, from the resulting cross, Ross Perrie headed past Connolly to make it 3-1.
This rounded off a poor display from a ’Vale team who had not played a league game since the start of December.
They have now slipped to third in the Central First Division table, seven points adrift of leaders Renfrew.
But they do have three games in hand and will look to get back on the winning track on Saturday when they face Lesmahagow at home.