PROMOTION-SEEKING Dalziel ensured the Brandanes suffered another setback on their travels on Saturday, with goals from Stuart McKechnie and Neil Whitelaw not enough to secure even a point for the Rothesay men, writes Nino Robertson.
Dalziel, who had beaten the Danes 5-1 in Rothesay in their previous clash on April 9, wasted no time in making their intentions known, and Matt Moran saved the visitors early on when keeper Ben Hatton rushed out of his area – but his blushes were spared when Moran cleared the ball off the line to keep the scoresheet blank.
Darren Harper came close to netting the opener when he drove by a tackle and cracked the ball towards goal – and though his shot was spilled by the Dalziel keeper, Wes Pattison was unable to turn in the rebound.
Minutes later Donnie McDermid was shown a harsh yellow card for a rather innocuous tackle - and the resulting free kick came close to producing the first goal, as the ball skipped past a number of players and Brian Sneadly’s header for the hosts clipped the top of the bar.
Sneadly was involved again just before the break, with Hatton forced into a good save to turn his curling shot around the far post, but as a goalless first half came to an end, both sides knew it was still anyone’s game.
Sean Lawrence came off the bench to replace McDermid at the start of the second period, but just a minute after the restart the islanders were dealt a crushing blow as the ball was smashed up field for Sneadly to round the keeper and slide it into the net.
And the home side doubled their lead ten minutes later when Moran diverted a cross from the left into his own net.
McKechnie, however, handed the Brandanes a lifeline in the 64th minute, taking a free kick quickly and catching Dalziel keeper Sean Egan napping at his near post to reduce the gap to 2-1.
The Danes made a double substitution as they tried to up the pace, with Neil Whitelaw and Jordan Selkirk replacing Stuart Brady and Graham Crawford, while the home side responded with a change of their own, Derek Nicol coming on for Gary Close.
And it was Dalziel’s new man who made an instant impact, scoring with his first touch when he got his head on to a good cross to power the ball past Hatton with ten minutes left.
Dalziel’s joy didn’t last long, though, as the Danes came back with a quick riposte, James Sprowl crossing the ball into the box where Whitelaw was on hand to steer the ball into the corner of the net.
However, the Rothesay men’s hopes of snatching a point were dashed when Sneadly took advantage of poor marking by the visitors to swivel and crack the ball into the bottom corner for his second and Dalziel’s fourth in the dying minutes of the game.
This Saturday, May 14, the Brandanes are back on home soil when they welcome Newton Mearns Rovers to Rothesay.
Kick-off is at 2.30pm and players should report for duty no later than 1.15pm.