There was more frustration at Harlaw Park as the cutting edge Locos found last week deserted them in this draw with Rothes. The visitors played the final 20 minutes with 10 men after Ryan McRitchie, who had earlier given the Speysiders the lead, was shown two yellow cards in the same incident. Locos couldn’t make the numerical advantage count though, as the Rothes defence and the woodwork kept them at bay.
Conditions weren’t easy and the game started slowly with little goalmouth action. Garry Wood and Allen Mackenzie fired wide at each end in the opening 20 minutes before, with almost half an hour on the clock, Greg Morrison came close to opening the scoring for the visitors. The striker turned sharply on the edge of the box before hitting a shot that Andy Reid was relieved to see it come back off the post. Jamie Michie then found himself with a sight of goal but put his effort over the bar from 15 yards.
Mark Souter and Morrison both put headers off target before the end of a half in which neither team were able to control the game. Early in the second half Rothes opened the scoring. Andy Reid did well to beat away a headed effort from a corner but the ball fell to McRitchie who finished from close range.
Locos went looking for an equaliser and Wood got on the end of Calum Dingwall’s free kick but couldn’t steer his header on target. The Railwaymen kept probing though and deservedly got back on level terms after 63 minutes. Michie did well to keep the ball in play on the right wing and the ball was worked to Wood inside the penalty area. He laid the ball off perfectly for Greg Mitchell, back in the side after illness, to sweep home an excellent shot into the top left corner.
Four minutes later Locos nearly took the lead. A fine move upfield ended with Robert Ward lifting the ball over visiting keeper Iain Mackenzie only to see the ball clip the top of the crossbar. By now it was the home team who looked most likely to score a second goal and the odds seemed to swing even further in their favour as goalscorer McRitchie received his marching orders following a lunging challenge on Craig Gill. Referee Joel Kennedy had already taken the yellow card out of his pocket when the Rothes defender shoved Michie to the ground. Cue a bit of a stramash which resulted in two yellow cards for McRitchie and one for Dingwall.
With the extra man, Locos saw plenty of the ball but weren’t able to create many clear openings. Michie fired a dangerous low ball across goal but neither substitute Fergus Alberts nor Ward was get on the end of it. Alberts then headed against the crossbar in the final moments.
Locos will feel they had enough opportunities to win this game but this is a very different Rothes team to the one beaten so comfortably at Mackesack Park earlier in the season and, even with ten men, one that offered a threat.
Locos: A Reid, T Reid, Mitchell, Dingwall, Souter, Johnstone, Ward, Wood, Michie, Gill, Robertson (Alberts) Unused subs: Thain, Petermann, Smith, Farquhar
Rothes: I Mackenzie, McRitchie, Finnis, Johnstone, Milne, Robertson, A Mackenzie, Maley, Morrison, Wilson (Thomson), Machado Unused subs: Williamson, Neil, Christie