Rossvale 1 Forth Wanderers 2
Rossvale were presented with the Central 2nd Division trophy after this match, but it was the Wanderers who emerged with all three points after an entertaining encounter at a sunny Petershill Park.
Forth began the game well and after 6 minutes Scott Watson beat the offside trap to scamper down the left wing but his cross was collected by Vale keeper Jamie Brown just ahead of the in rushing Robbie Brown. Another neat Wanderers move three minutes later involving Brown and Alan Christie saw Jason Corbett fire a dangerous ball across the box, but defender Ralph Gamba was on hand to clear the ball for a corner before it could reach Scott Watson.
At the other end, Chris McQuade dragged his shot wide after 11 minutes before Alan Christie embarked on a powerful run for the Wanderers only to fire his final shot into the arms of Brown. Rossvale were becoming more prominent at this stage and Jordan Smith had to look lively to clear a Yami Misanjo shot before James Beattie played in Chris Gordon but, after his first attempt was blocked, he fired his second well over. Fraser Team was next to show for Rossvale, the striker having hit a hat-trick in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, but on two occasions he contrived to fire wide when through on goal.
Forth had fallen out of the game after a bright start and it was no great surprise when the hosts took the lead on 28 minutes. Beattie played Misanjo in with a great ball and the ex-Forth man steadied himself before firing past Paul McKane into the net. Tony McDermott had a chance to increase the lead two minutes later but headed wide from a good position. Chris McQuade then hit a free kick straight at McKane as the hosts looked to double their advantage.
The Wanderers weren’t out it though and popped up with an equaliser after 38 minutes. A corner on the left was cleared out to Robbie Brown on the edge of the box and the Forth midfielder neatly chipped the ball into the box for Jordan Smith to run onto and score. Alan Christie then fired into the side netting for Forth 2 minutes later after an excellent move involving Corbett, Howson and John Watson.
Vale then came close as the game swung from end to end, Beattie crashing an effort off the bar after 42 minutes, before McQuade sent Gordon clear only for the Vale striker to fire straight at McKane. This was to prove costly as Forth played the ball out and launched a long ball for Christie to chase and although the striker looked to be chasing a lost cause, his perseverance paid off when he took advantage of McGuire’s indecision to loft the ball over Brown and into the net. A pulsating half wasn’t quite finished though as there was still time for Robert O’Donnell to fire a Vale free kick against the outside of the post. 2-1 to Forth at the interval it remained however.
Chances were at a premium at the start of the second period but Rossvale were offered a great chance to level things up when Gerry Ward brought down Gordon and a penalty was awarded. Fraser Team stepped up but fired the ball wide of the goal, to add to an already frustrating afternoon for the young striker. Misanjo then curled a shot which was easily held by McKane as the hosts sought to restore parity.
As in the first half though, the game swung from end to end and Scott Watson played in Christie after 62 minutes and the Forth striker turned and fired narrowly wide. Some good play from Robbie Brown saw him feed Christie a minute later but again the striker fired just wide. Forth substitute Taylor Crawford then came close after controlling a corner, cutting inside and firing a rising shot just over.
Ross Hepburn then shot straight at McKane for the hosts while Scott Watson fired over at the other end after good setup play by Howson. As the clock ticked down it was Rossvale doing most of the pressing and McKane had to look lively to touch over a netbound effort with 3 minutes remaining. Misanjo had a free header from the resultant corner but nodded over. Vale had one final chance in injury time but Hepburn fired wide and the Wanderers held on for the victory.
A good win for Forth over the League Champions, ahead of their final league match at home to Newmains.
Forth team : McKane,Howson,Ward(Trialist),Smith,Canning,J.Watson(Trialist),Corbett,K.Dick