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Sport on Sturday with Derek Hall at Preston Athletic v Rosyth Recreation on 13th August

todayAugust 14, 2022


Preston Athletic 2-0 Rosyth Recreation

Two teams looking to start making moves up the table met at a sun drenched Pennypitt Park as Preston Athletic entertained Rosyth Recreation on a rock hard pitch which had the sprinklers going till not long before kick off. Within 20 seconds, Sean Ward found Mikey Hamilton and he outpaced his marker down the left and cut into the Rosyth box before flashing an angled left foot drive wide of the far post. Hamilton was picked out again a minute later and controlled the ball on his chest but Rosyth keeper MacAulay Jarrett was smartly off his line to dive at his feet and make the save. On four minutes, Callum Strang got to the goal line for the visitors, but his cutback was headed clear by Marc Forsyth and then Callum McAulay sent a 30 yard half volley well over the Preston crossbar. After seven minutes, Strang almost put Tam Hampson in with a nice head flick but Preston keeper Robbie Stirling was out near the edge of his box to grab the ball. Strang was looking lively for the visitors and on eleven minutes, his driving run saw the ball break back to Hampson whose 25 yarder was carefully watched by keeper Stirling as it went a yard over. Greg Page of Rosyth received a quiet word from referee Evan Cairns as he caught Ward on the stretch in midfield after fourteen minutes, but the referee had far more work to do just sixty seconds later. The ball was out near halfway and Rosyth striker Hampson got involved with an opponent on the ground after a solid but fair tackle. Players from both teams then piled in and Hampson confronted at least three opponents with aggressive double handed pushes, one of which was up into a Preston players face and once the dust had settled, it wasn’t any surprise to see referee Cairns produce a red card for Hampson for his moment of madness and Preston’s Jordan Keenan receive a yellow for his involvement in the melee. The next chance again fell to the visitors as Matthew Gallacher found Strang and his low right foot shot on the turn saw keeper Stirling down making the save. After nineteen minutes, Kieran Jack, Jamie Devlin and Hamilton combined well inside the Rosyth box and Jack worked his way along the goal line and was only eight yards from goal but chose to play a pass rather than shoot and Rosyth managed to scramble the ball behind. Murray Gilfillan drove the corner short to the edge of the box but Page was late getting to the ball and caught Gallacher and the Preston man also went into referee Cairns book on the twenty minute mark. Three minutes later, Gilfillan drove another corner into the near post area and this time Keenan got to the ball but his right foot effort skewed wide of the Rosyth goals. With 28 minutes gone, Preston had to make a change as Gilfillan couldn’t continue and Kyle Somers was his replacement. On the half hour, Page sent Strang into the home box and as Keenan shepherded the ball behind, Strang hit the deck but even he looked a bit embarrassed at the somewhat muted shouts from the sidelines for a spot kick. However a minute later, the visitors went much closer as a 28 yard low drive from Gallacher forced Stirling into an excellent save low down to his right and despite being short handed, Rosyth were still more than capable of causing the home defence problems. Jack then headed on towards Devlin as Preston responded but the ball got trapped under his feet allowing Garry Leighton to make a vital interception for the fifers. At the other end, Binnie fired over a corner and Strang glanced his header wide of the Preston goals when he should have been hitting the target at least. Jack and Devlin carved out a chance for Euan Donaldson to have a go from distance but Graeme Nutt got his body in the way for Rosyth. Four minutes from the break, Devlin and Walker almost had Hamilton in for Preston but the home side had been guilty in the first period of not capitalising on their numerical advantage and in truth Rosyth really hadn’t been all that stretched at the back. The last effort of a pretty uninspiring first period was a shot from distance from Rosyth’s McAulay which went wide just as we entered stoppage time, and it was the visitors who would have been far happier with a battling first half performance where they had dealt with pretty much everything a somewhat lacklustre home side had come up with but it wasn’t a first 45 minutes which would live long in the memories of anyone present.
Preston should have gone ahead in the first minute of the second half as Somers got the break of the ball in midfield and fed Devlin who went into the box with only keeper Jarrett facing him but he dragged his left foot low drive horribly wide from around twelve yards. The home side at least seemed to have upped the tempo a bit and Ward played in a deep cross which Devlin knocked down and although Somers shot on the turn from sixteen yards was high and wide, Preston looked like they were offering a bit more up front. However after 49 minutes, Strang was fouled just outside the Preston box near the left apex and Binnie curled in a fantastic effort towards the top corner across the face of goal which Stirling did brilliantly to tip over and keep the scores level. The deadlock was finally broken after 53 minutes and it was a nicely worked goal which saw the home side hit the front. Somers played a deep cross field pass to pick out Jack and his early cross to the near post area saw Robbie Walker open up his body beautifully and stroke the ball home with his left instep past the helpless Jarrett from around seven yards and there was as much relief as joy from the home crowd as the celebrations began. A minute later, Page of Rosyth went into referee Cairns book after catching Walker late as he tried to play a pass forward. With 56 minutes gone, Preston made their first switch as Donaldson was replaced by Anes Subasic. Two minutes later, the home side doubled their advantage as Devlin worked hard to send Hamilton away down the inside left channel with the visitors claiming offside but the Preston no11 unselfishly squared the ball across to Jack who rifled the ball home right footed from around fourteen yards past Jarrett who got a touch but couldn’t keep the ball out. Before the game restarted, referee Cairns had a strong word with the Rosyth club assistant who had been a bit too vociferous in his protests regarding the goal. Somers played in Hamilton again on 62 minutes as Preston looked for more but the winger had gone too early and this time was offside. Two minutes later, Rosyth went to their bench for the first time with Arran Dair coming on for Myles Wilson and his first involvement a minute later almost saw the visitors pull a goal back. McAulay played a lovely pass down the left to find Dair and he slipped a nice pass in to Strang who weaved his way into the Preston box before smashing a low left foot angled drive across the face of the Preston goal and only just wide of the base of the far post. A Cameron Shaw pass then saw Dair taken down by Keenan on 69 minutes as the men from Fife showed they weren’t done yet but Binnie clipped the central 25 yard free kick over the top. A minute later, they went a lot closer as a free kick into the Preston box was headed back across by Leighton and Gallacher’s effort from six yards looked goal bound but saw a Preston head in the way to turn the ball behind. Preston responded as Somers found Jack and his cross into the middle saw Hamilton’s nine yard header comfortably dealt with by keeper Jarrett. With 72 minutes gone, Preston made a double change as Steven McCole and Jack McKinnon entered the fray for Ward and Jack. The visitors were right back on the offensive and their best performer on the day, Strang, went down the left before pulling over a cross which saw Dair loop his header over from around ten yards. Thirteen minutes from time, Somers fed in McCole on the angle but the finish from about twelve yards was a disappointment as it went over without working the visiting keeper and at this stoppage, the visitors replaced Binnie with David Henderson. Ten minutes from time, Walker headed on to Subasic and Leighton took one for the team for Rosyth as he deliberately tripped him around 27 yards out for a very obvious yellow card. Devlin stepped up to clip the ball up and over the wall and it looked a goal all the way up in the postage stamp top corner until keeper Jarrett pulled off the save of the game with a quite outstanding left handed tip over which had the Preston skipper with his head in hands wondering, like the rest of us, how the keeper had got to the ball. At the other end, McAulay found Dair and he stepped inside his man but his drive from just inside the Preston box was blocked behind and Leighton saw his header go over from McAulay’s corner. The two Rosyth subsititutes then combined as Dair sent over a deep cross which Henderson just couldn’t get enough power on from eight yards and home keeper Stirling was able to grab the ball at the second attempt. Right on the final whistle, Preston keeper Stirling made a superb block low down from a fierce ten yard yard drive from Strang to preserve his clean sheet and in the end it was a hard fought but deserved victory for a slightly below par home side. The visitors are still to register a point in this seasons campaign but performances like this should give them plenty of encouragement for the games to come. After a pretty forgettable first period, Preston were better in the second half, scoring two nice goals and generally looking after the ball a good deal better and with the points safely in the bag, it was ultimately job done for a side who can still play better than they showed in this one.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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