An incident packed encounter at Grant Park ended in a disappointing defeat for Lossiemouth as they slumped to a second loss of the season against Keith. An equaliser by substitute Darren Bailey was rendered meaningless when Keith scored twice late on to secure the points.
Lossie headed into the game on the back of a blank weekend and started without Kevin Flett, who had to settle for a place on the bench. Keith had endured a torrid year ahead of their trip to Grant Park, conceding 8 at home to Nairn County before going one worse at Dudgeon Park and conceding 9 to Brora Rangers.
From the very beginning of the game, Lossie looked unsettled and failed to cope with the pressure applied by an enthusiastic Keith side. The Maroons were quick to chase down any Lossie player in possession, and the tactic of harassment worked as Lossie struggled through the first half.
Keith were offered the chance to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty midway through the first half. Sean Keith stepped up but found Errol Watson in the way, and the keeper made his third penalty stop of the season at the same end of the ground, pushing the ball wide of goal from where it was successfully thumped clear.
The visitors stole into the lead in the last minute of the half. Lossie failed to clear their lines inside the penalty area and Craig MACASKILL rifled a loose ball through a mass of bodies and across the face of goal, past a stationary Watson and into the side of the net.
Half time – Lossiemouth 0-1 Keith
A pair of subs midway through the second half seemed to revitalise Lossie, and one of the new faces scored soon after coming on to level the game. A cross into the box was bundled home by Darren BAILEY to set up a thrilling finish to the afternoon.
Sadly, the next goal went the way of Keith, and an error by the usually reliable Errol Watson allowed the visitors the chance to go into the lead. A pass through the middle of the park made its way to the edge of the penalty area where Watson was racing to meet it, only to have Matthew MCDONALD take it off his toe before rounding the keeper and passing the ball into an empty net.
Before Lossie had a chance to deal with the situation, Keith scored a third to finish the game. A sliding challenge by Grant Mitchell drew a foul in the area and, once the Lossie man had trudged to the other end of the park after being shown a red card for his troubles, Murray MCCULLOCH ended the game as a contest by rattling his spot kick past Watson.
Lossie were offered the chance to reduce the deficit in the closing minutes when they were awarded a penalty. Ryan Farquhar stepped up to take but saw Kinnaird pull off a save identical to that made by Watson at the same end in the first half. Despite having had little to do for most of the afternoon, Kinnaird reacted sharply to both the spot kick and an effort on the rebound from Bailey, and following that the referee ended the game and put Lossie out of their misery.
The win moved Keith further away from Lossie in the league table, meaning the Coasters are likely to spend the remainder of the season trying to stay ahead of the bottom three. A midweek trip to Fort William could offer Lossie the chance to narrow the gap to the Maroons but a better performance than this will be required to take all the points home from Claggan Park.
Full time – Lossiemouth 1-3 Keith
Lossiemouth – Errol Watson, Tony Ross, Scott Dunn (Scott Miller, 79) Chris Ross, Grant Mitchell, Greig Watson, Ryan Farquhar, Liam Archibald, Jordan McBain (Callum Dunbar, 65), Ryan Green, Willie Mathers (Darren Bailey, 67); Unused sub – Kevin Flett
Keith – Murray Kinnaird, Stuart Hutcheon, Robbie Collinson, Bruce Milne, Scott Robison, Zander Jack, Sean Keith, Murray McCulloch, Matthew McDonald, Stuart Massie, Craig MacAskill