Lossiemouth went into the draw for the first round of the Tennents Scottish Cup with a last gasp victory over Rothes at Mackessack Park this weekend. The 92nd minute winner from David Hendry ensures not only a place in the countries premier cup competition, but a semi-final slot in the Qualifying Cup against Cove Rangers, Forres Mechanics or Inverurie Locos.
The game started in clear but cloudy conditions, with rain likely at some point in the afternoon. Lossie were quick out of the blocks, with Lee Moir the first to test Strong in goal, but following his run into the box, his shot was tame and caused the keeper no problems. Rothes were enjoying plenty of possession, but were restricted to several corner kicks, all of which were successfully clear. Brian Thompson had the best chance for the home side in the opening but his left-footed free kick from 25 yards sailed wide of the Lossie goal.
Lossie took the lead bang on quarter of an hour. A corner flew over the heads of everyone in the box before landing at the feet of Graeme KENNEDY. The former Nairn St. Ninian player took a touch and rifled a shot through a crowded penalty area to open the scoring, to the delight of the travelling support.
As the first half progressed, Rothes came more into the game, and Lossie were looking nervous at times, giving away possession, but the visitors’ defence dealt with any trouble comfortably, and contained Rothes before they could get near the danger area. Dunn was called into action to tip a Kevin Collins free kick over the bar, but for the first half, that was as close as Rothes came.
Lossie had a clear chance to double their lead just before half time when Kennedy played a great pass through to Morrison who raced in on Strong without a defender in sight, but the keeper got down well to block. With the weather deteriorating into heavy rain, the teams headed for the dressing rooms for the interval, with Lossie on top and Rothes desperate for a goal.
Half time – Rothes 0 Lossiemouth 1
Lossie went looking for another goal at the start of the second half, but a superb cross from Kennedy was missed by all as it curled through the box. Minutes later, Morrison beat his man and found space to shoot, but his shot went just wide of the far post. The former New Elgin man didn’t last much longer, as he was substituted while injured just before the hour.
As the half progressed, a sense of nervousness was apparent in the Lossie side. The occasional spells of heavy rain were not helping matters, and you could sense another goal was on the cards, but it was a question of who for. Ellis came close as he raced onto a through ball and put it wide of Strong, who had left his box to deal with it, but his chip landed in the side netting.
The second goal of the game arrived not long after, and it was Rothes who bagged the equaliser. Like Lossies opener, it came from a corner, and the ball was turned into the net by Nathan SHARP. Lossie were now looking ragged, and with no Morrison on the pitch, it was difficult to imagine a second goal for the visitors. Rothes made it a little easier for Lossie by not concentrating less on the football and more on the physical side of their game, which caused the game to stop and start.
With a replay now looming large on the horizon, Lossie decided that having to play Rothes four times in a month would be too much, and as the game moved into the second minute of injury time, Graeme Kennedy swung a cross to the far side of the box, where it was met by the outstretched leg of David HENDRY, who put the ball past Strong to finish the game and send the travelling support absolutely wild.
However, there was more drama to be had, as straight from kick off, Rothes fired a long ball downfield, desperate for a second equaliser. Less than clinical defending from Lossie saw the ball bounce around the box before it was cleared, but not after Dunn appeared to be kneed in the face while going down to save. In the following brouhaha, Nathan Sharp was dismissed for punching the Lossie goalkeeper, who was also booked. The resultant free kick for Lossie saw the referee call time on the game, but not on the days events, as the players and some of the crowd in the stand decided to continue noising each other up on the way to the tunnel, resulting in some unsavoury scenes.
Victory, however, belonged to Lossie.
Full time – Rothes 1 Lossiemouth 2
Lossiemouth – Dunn; Reid, Youngson, Dixon, Smith, Lee Moir, Hendry, McMullan, Ellis, Morrison (McIntosh), Kennedy