Match Preview: RFC v Amble AFC - Rothbury Football Club
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MATCH PREVIEW: Amble AFC v Rothbury

Midfield maestro Tony Brown grabbed his first goals of the season as the Reds stormed back from two down to hit FC United of Newcastle for six and admitted: “It’s been a while coming.”

The technically gifted dead-ball ace notched in the 55th and 79th minutes as Rothbury completed an amazing turnaround after Luke Baker and Tyler Spendiff had put the black and whites ahead in fifteen minutes.

The Hillmen refused to resort to the long ball after the shock start and Brown said: “We were really pleased with the character shown after going two goals down. We didn’t panic, passed it around and ground them down. It was nice to get on the scoresheet again. Their keepers hung the washing out to dry for the first one but you take any you can get at my age.”

Brown is one of the senior players in the side but says he is feeling fresh and is enjoying his football at Armstrong Park.

“The old legs are starting to get going again, just ask the young ‘uns – it’s costing them half their pocket money in 50 pences megs fines after a couple of masterclasses on the 5aside. Herron’s delighted,” he laughed.

“Seriously though, we’ve got a lot of really promising young players, all great lads as well which is fantastic for the future of the club. We are up to fourth and with the squad we have we’ll quietly go about our business and will hopefully be in the mix come spring,” said Brown.

Sam Proudlock’s scrappy tap in got the Reds back in it just after the half hour and they were level when Chris Coe struck just four minutes later. The turnaround was complete when Chris Laidlaw added a third just before the break. 

“I thought we were excellent value for the win in a great game to watch,” said player/manager Tom Macpherson.

“Credit to FC United, they came out with a really high intensity and pressed us very high. We conceded two poor goals from our point of view in the first 15 minutes but the lads showed great character and leadership, working out a way to beat their press and then subsequently take the game to the opponents. Having courage on the ball is something we’ve tried to work on and the lads showed that in abundance.”

Brown’s double was added to by the tricky Lewis Leveny as Rothbury netted three more after the interval, while Macpherson felt that that the total could have been more.

“After our initial poor start, we really dominated the game from 20 minutes onwards playing some really nice stuff along the way. We could have extended our advantage in the second half if Jake and Kyle didn’t have a competition as to who could kick the ball the furthest down the A19 – I think Kyle’s “shot” landed in the river Tees,” he laughed.

“Overall, a really pleasing performance where everyone played their part, especially Coe, Euan and Jake who were all excellent throughout. A special mention to Tony too, who rolled back the years in the middle of the park, scoring a free kick and then being asked to retake before scoring in the exact same place again, bread and butter stuff for someone of his talent.”

Tom says that some of his younger players will probably be looking forward to meeting the Amble celebrity Love Island Brad MacLelland in their NFA Minor Cup tie down at the mouth of the Coquet this Saturday (kick-off 1.30pm).

But he is acutely aware that the NNFL side could pose a serious challenge to his side’s chances of progression in the County competition as he lines up against a number of players that he knows well both on and off the pitch.

“We know Amble sides are always competitive so we won’t be taking them lightly. I’ve played with a lot of their team in Sunday football or against them over the years so we know they’ll be a good outfit,” he continued.

“We have 19 players to choose from again for the 5th week in a row, which is a great show of commitment by the players. Unfortunately we lost Paul Dunn last Saturday to injury, but we have Gareth McCann, James Jackson and Max Bates back available so we will be going with a strong squad. The Minor Cup is the best cup competition we are in so I really want us to challenge for it as much as possible this year.”

Words: Jon Tait