Football: Brandanes’ season ends on low note

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THE Brandanes’ Caledonian League campaign ended in disappointing fashion on Saturday as the islanders went down to a 3-0 defeat away to promotion-chasing Doune Castle, writes Nino Robertson.

The Rothesay men made some changes from the previous week’s defeat to Rhu, going for three up front in a bold attacking formation which also saw Alan McDonald given his first start of the season, putting in a very good performance in midfield and doing his best to break up the hosts’ attacks and win back possession, while John McBride started in attack.

The first half was pretty evenly matched, and McBride was very unlucky not to score the opener, being denied by a great double save from the Doune keeper.

Apart from that the opening half lacked chances - until stoppage time, when a good ball was played through the Danes defence from midfield and the Doune striker showed enough composure to round Andy Donald and stroke it over the line, despite a despairing last touch from a Rothesay defender.

And things got worse for the Danes after the break when Doune’s number ten doubled his team’s lead with a great header which Donald could do nothing about.

The islanders then shuffled their pack, with Graham Mullen coming on for McBride, who had put in a very impressive shift up front – and moments later the visitors were unfortunate not to pull a goal back when Stuart McKechnie tried a very ambitious shot from distance, and was unlucky to see the ball go just over the bar.

McKechnie was involved again when he skipped past a Doune defender’s challenge and forced a good save from the hosts’ goalkeeper, with Mullen just unable to turn in the rebound.

And with a minute to play the hosts put the icing on the cake, completing a win which keeps them on top of the table in the battle for promotion to the Caledonian League’s top flight, when the ball was bundled into the net via another deflection to make the final score 3-0.

The Brandanes therefore finish their 2011-12 campaign with a record of seven wins and five draws from their 22 league fixtures, with 54 goals scored – at the time of writing the third highest in the league, bettered only by Doune Castle and East Kilbride YM – and 56 conceded.

* Saturday’s defeat left the Rothesay men in eighth place in the 12-team first division, with 26 points to their credit. Although most other teams still have games in hand – Weir Recreation are the only other side to have played all their matches – the records of the teams below them mean the Danes can finish no lower than ninth once all the season’s fixtures have been completed.