THE Brandanes’ slow start to 2012 continued on Saturday after a late winner for Bearsden condemned the local side to a 2-1 home defeat, writes Nino Robertson.
The day got off to a bad start for the Danes when David Whitelaw missed a penalty in the very first minute – and things got worse for Whitelaw before the end when he was sent off for a second bookable offence midway through the second half.
The Rothesay men were without suspended skipper Neil Whitelaw, so Darren Harper was handed the armband for the day – and there was barely a minute on the watch when the hosts fashioned their first chance.
John McBride played a great pass to Wes Pattison who was wiped out in the penalty area by a Bearsden defender; David Whitelaw took the responsibility in Neil’s absence, and took a long run-up, but his new boots, with ‘Susan’ embroidered on the back, proved to be unlucky as his spot-kick crashed back off the post.
Minutes later the home team had a claim for a second penalty turned down after Stuart Brady rounded the Bearsden keeper; he certainly appeared to be fouled, but this time the referee waved play on.
But after their encouraging start, the Danes found themselves trailing with 20 minutes played, when Bearsden’s number 11 slotted past keeper Andy Donald after some very neat footwork inside the area to give the visitors the lead.
The Rothesay men, however, were level within seconds as straight from the kick-off Brady raced away towards goal, riding a series of challenges before poking the ball across the line and into the corner of the net.
The hosts spurned another great chance before the break when Brady tried a very ambitious overhead kick; though he miscued his shot, the ball very nearly ran for Pattison at the back post, but it had already left the field of play.
That left the sides level at the break, and in all honesty the second half was very dull, with a distinct lack of goalscoring opportunities.
Sean Lawrence was introduced to the fray ten minutes after the restart, but he was unable to have the same impact as his introduction against Doune Castle two weeks previously.
Midway through the half Pattison had a decent chance inside the box; he turned the Bearsden defender easily, but his strike was right at the visiting keeper.
Minutes later a needless foul saw Whitelaw earn a second yellow card, but despite their numerical disadvantage the hosts went for it in the final quarter of the match, with John McBride axed from midfield and Pattison partnered up front by Chris Donnelly.
But the tactic backfired on the Rothesay side just six minutes from time, when Bearsden’s number three caught a headed clearance sweetly on the volley and sent a beautiful curling shot into the top corner of the net before Donald could move.
That proved a killer blow for the Danes, who were unable to offer anything in the closing stages and found themselves on the wrong end of a disappointing defeat.