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Saints sink Rothie to end Scottish Cup dream

By Grant Milne

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Jack Brown looks to take control. Picture: George Murdoch
Jack Brown looks to take control. Picture: George Murdoch

Rothie Rovers manager Kevin Beaton said his team were missing a ruthless edge as their Scottish Amateur Cup hopes died at the hands of Oban Saints.

There was to be no repeat of last year's epic finish which put Rovers through on penalties as the Argyll side put away their opportunities to record an impressive 3-0 win.

But Beaton believed there were still positives to take from the 4th Round tie: "I didn’t think there was too much between the sides between the penalty boxes however Oban were clinical in front of goal which has ultimately won them the game.

"They also gave us a lesson in how they managed the game, particularly in the second half, which stopped us building any sort of momentum to get back into the match.

"We need to be mature enough in our performance to continue to probe rather than force the issue by being too direct too early.

"The first goal is clearly so important in these matches and unfortunately we didn’t get that.

"It would have been interesting to see how Oban reacted if we had taken one of our early chances.

"When the third goal goes in the tie is over and at that point it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself but the lads kept working hard right to the end.

"I think the scoreline flatters Oban however again we need to learn to be ruthless when we create chances as that’s the difference for us to get to that next level."

Despite the recent wet weather and heavy overnight frost the Rothie pitch was deemed playable thanks to the power of work undertaking by the Rothie committee on Saturday morning.

Saints made the four-hour journey with revenge on their mind having being shocked at the 5th Round stage by Rovers last season in a gripping replay which saw the underdogs win a mammoth penalty shootout on the west coast

Rovers dominated the opening exchanges as they looked to take advantage of any lethargy from the visiting players following their long trip north.

They created the first chance however Gavin Smart’s driven effort from the edge of the area rebounded to safety off the post with the away keeper beaten all ends up.

Rothie continued to push and an excellent delivery from Scott Chalmers on the right hand side picked out Sean Bremner at the back post, however he could only fire a volley high over from close range.

The visitors began to settle and, against the run of play, they edged in front midway through the half when their left winger finished superbly well on the half-volley after a meeting a cross from the right.

It was Oban’s first effort at goal.

Down, but far from out, the home side kept going and Sean Bremner saw a powerful effort parried to safety before the visiting number one just held onto a fierce free-kick from Keith Walker before Stuart Gray could pounce on the loose ball.

Keith Walker (crouching, left) and Robbie King (right) goes for the high ball. Picture: George Murdoch
Keith Walker (crouching, left) and Robbie King (right) goes for the high ball. Picture: George Murdoch

Stuart Hodge was next to go close as his close range effort was brilliantly smothered, but Oban doubled their lead shortly before the half-time whistle.

It came from a home corner which Rovers over-committed, allowing a quick counter which seen the impressive visiting striker turn Smart inside out before curling home emphatically just inside the far post with Lewis Milne motionless in the home goal.

The visitors were content to sit in now and slow the game down at every opportunity knowing they were well in the driving seat.

Rovers came out determined but found it hard to find space on the final third against a well-drilled back line.

They made a double change on the hour mark with Jake Stewart and Ryan Walker replacing Chalmers and Jack Brown.

Rovers were almost in behind the away defence however a fantastic last-ditch tackle thwarted Bremner who looked odds on to score.

The hosts were becoming frustrated and some slack marking from a corner saw the away number nine nod home his second of the afternoon unchallenged with the match entering the final 10 minutes. The Aberdeenshire side continued to show plenty endeavour however the game management of the away side was superb as they shepherded the match out with minimum fuss to reach the Last 32.

It was a frustrating afternoon for Rovers as they didn’t quite reach the heights they are capable of while the failure to take their chances early on ultimately proved pivotal.

They will return to domestic action this weekend when they are likely to face Newtonhill at Rothienorman to begin their defence of the Premier Trophy.

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