MATCH REPORT: Rothbury v Hexham
Reds defender Sam Proudlock held his hands up and admitted his opener against Hexham should probably have been chalked off but felt they’d grafted hard for that little rub of the green.
When the ball was whipped in by Lewis Leveny, Proudlock applied the decisive touch from close range to bundle it into the back of the net with the keeper ending up in the tangle – ugly but effective.
“The ball in from Lewy was superb and truth be told was already going in but I had made a bet with my mates to do the ‘Poss Guitar’ if I scored so I made sure I got the final touch. It’s a long story,” said Proudlock – who also netted the winner against Hexham at home in the Cup last season – so the Tynedalers will be pleased to see the back of him, for now.
“I didn’t realise until Tom mentioned it later – I don’t get that many so I’ve done well to forget!” he laughed.
“Hexham are a quality, physical team who are never going to just allow you to play so it was a case of weathering that before playing our passing game. There was always going to be one or two goals in it, and let’s be honest it was a bit dubious – something is seriously wrong when both teams AND the ref admit it’s a foul but the goal stands? But I felt overall we deserved that bit of luck, with Gar wrapping it up at the end,” said the classy centre-back honestly.
“We were all buzzing after – as much as we enjoy a nice easy day at the office there’s nothing better than a battling win, and we certainly showed that on Saturday. The effort from the lads was first class – we had a sluggish start so had to dig in. We’re always told to earn the right to play the way we do and that was definitely the case here. Tom said before the game: “By all means enjoy it, but enjoy it by being f@&!# disciplined here.””
Striker Gaz McCann was back in the side and he sealed the three points when he pounced to strike from close range late on, with Proudlock pleased to see the number nine back in the squad.
“He’s a quality addition, especially with Dunny injured, and he offers us a different dynamic in terms of holding it up and linking up the lines,” he said.
“It was always going to be a scruffy goal, especially as Gar was blowing just running off the bench, but 3 bites at the cherry later and he got off the mark. Hopefully many more to come, with games coming thick and fast its important to keep our options open and competition for places strong.”
Club secretary and head honcho Dan Herron felt that the result could have gone either way, but was delighted with the side’s reaction after half time. He was also pleased with the respect that both sides showed in a minute’s silence for respected former Rothbury and Wallington midfielder and coach Sammy Lough before the game, with the Reds donning black armbands in his memory for the fixture.
“It was a great three points for the lads against a very strong Hexham side. The game could have gone either way and the first scorer was always going to win it, and our constant battling managed to unlock that first goal,” said Herron.
The Hillmen will need to display all their battling qualities again this Saturday as they make the visit to local rivals AFC Newbiggin, playing on People’s Park in Ashington (kick-off 2.30pm).
“Newbiggin are a great side in good form so will definitely be a test. We put in a great shift in the home fixture so hopefully we can replicate that this weekend. Unfortunately I’m unavailable but we have ready made replacements with the likes of young Gus who I’m sure will take his chance. The squad are hungry for game time and healthy competition for places is always a positive,” said Proudlock.
“We know the quality we have in the squad but we need to show that on a Saturday and thankfully we have. We have a full November of home games so can hopefully grab maximum points for the home support.”
Words: Jon Tait Pictures: Susan Aynsley