MATCH REPORT: Rothbury v West Moor & Jesmond
Rothbury host FC United of Newcastle this weekend and player/manager Tom Macpherson says defiantly: “Our bubble hasn’t burst.”
The Reds gaffer saw his side bow out of the Combination Cup last Saturday with a controversial decision going against them and a last-gasp penalty sending West Moor & Jesmond through at their expense. But he knows that these things have a tendency to even out across the season and Macpherson remained philosophical in defeat.
“It was a game of two halves. First half we were dominant – keeping the ball for large spells. We get that second goal and we are in the hat, however, we didn’t and the game changed on a linesman mistake. All parties recognised it the ball was out of play, but the linesman couldn’t see it, unfortunately. They’ve went and scored from the resulting cross,” he said.
Chris Coe had fired Rothbury ahead three minutes before the interval but the contentious incident occurred just two minutes into the turnaround with Kyle Gilmore capitalising on the blunder to level.
“To be fair to West Moor that’s spurred them on and they’ve went on to control the second half. That said, we haven’t reacted well enough and before we know it we are 2-1 down. We’ve scored a goal last minute to rescue a draw and take it into extra time, which we created the better chances in. They’ve then got a penalty on a last minute break, and we are dumped out of a second cup we were hopeful of doing something in,” continued Macpherson.
Gilmour added his second to put the visitors in the driving seat but Gaz McCann sent the Armstrong Park crowd wild with a stoppage time strike to take the tie into extra-time. Marc Cowley held his nerve to put away the winner from the spot in the dying seconds.
“I was disappointed to be knocked out of another cup but by no means was I disappointed in our lads – they fought for every ball and the effort was second to none. Since me, Mins and Tuna took over, these lads have given us everything, the commitment levels have been off the scale where we’ve had 18 plus available every week. Our biggest challenge has been playing everyone,” said Tom, whose side are back in League action at home on Saturday (kick-off 2.00pm – winter kick-offs times now the norm), with the 13th position visitors from the Langdale Centre always proving a competitive handful.
“We look forward to welcoming FC United. It’s another tough challenge for us as they are high energy and dangerous up front. We will look to attack on the front foot so hopefully it’ll be another exciting game. We’re obviously hoping for three points to maintain pressure on the teams above us,” said the gaffer, whose side sit in fourth position behind runaway leaders Cramlington United, Newcastle Independent, and Bedlington FC.
It’s the highest position that the Reds have held in their long history in local football – being just nine spots behind illustrious local rivals Alnwick Town in the Premier Division above – so the club would love to see the fans turning out in numbers again to roar the Hillmen on to further success.
Words: Jon Tait