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Rothes claim Moray derby honours

By Craig Christie

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ROTHES continued their unbeaten start to the Highland League season with a 3-0 Moray derby win at Lossiemouth.

Lossiemouth v Rothes
Lossiemouth v Rothes

Manager Steven MacDonald said it took stern words at half time to spark his Speysiders into action after a shaky first 45 minutes.

But Lossie boss Joe Russell admitted his team's display fell well short of standards they have set in recent weeks.

A rare headed goal by Ali Sutherland on 13 minutes gave Rothes the lead, though they had to wait until the second half to cement their victory with strikes by sub Gary Kerr and summer signing Ben Johnstone.

"We were a bit flat in the first half," said MacDonald. "After getting our goal we never really built on it and Lossie more and more into the game.

"But to come here and keep a clean sheet and get the win, I've got to be happy with that."

New boy Gregg Main had an early shot blocked while Craig Cormack was inches away from converting a driven Aiden Wilson cross as Rothes applied some pressure.

They were rewarded by a goal on 13 minutes where the roles seemed reversed, with Rothes' tallest player Craig Cormack putting over a cross for their smallest, Sutherland, to rise and head home unchallenged.

The home side had been pegged back for most of the opening 25 minutes but nearly levelled when Fraser Forbes fired weakly at Robbie Donaldson, who then produced a more difficult stop to deny former team-mate Kris Duncan at close range.

Ally MacKenzie had the ball in the net while Cormack rattled the woodwork but both were ruled offside, failing to add to Rothes' lead at the break.

Cormack then limped off in the early minutes of the second half and his replacement Gary Kerr took just two minutes to make his mark with Rothes' second goal on 54 minutes.

Kerr was picked out by a good Dale Wood pass and made space for a shot which hit the inside of the post and was scrambled away by the sliding Scott Wilson, but the standside assistant ruled that it had crossed the line.

Four minutes later the points were effectively wrapped up for the away side when a Fraser Robertson corner was met by teenage centre back Johnstone in his first start for the club, and the ex-Ross County lad's header beat keeper Trevor Dear.

Dear saved well from Kerr and Wilson while James Leslie and Duncan came closest to netting a Lossie consolation.

Home manager Russell said: "It was really disappointing, we just didn't turn up and were nowhere near good enough right across the pitch.

"We did have three good chances in the first half and didn't take any of them, but overall I'd say we simply weren't at the races today."

Lossie: Dear, Wilson, Bellingham, Archibald, Gordon, Leslie, Macaulay (S.Campbell 82), Sewell, Duncan, Forbes (Campbell 59), Stuart (Elliott 59). Subs: Flett, Allen, McCall, Hutton.

Rothes: Donaldson, Wood,Stark, Johnstone, Duff, Robertson (Maley 61), Sutherland, Main (MacLeod 72), Wilson, Cormack (Kerr 51), MacKenzie. Subs: McRitchie, Milne, Neil, MacDonald.

Ref: Scott Leslie

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