Bellshill for thrills as Rossvale get league season off to winning start

Kirk Forbes fires a shot at goal as three Bellshill defenders try to block.
Kirk Forbes fires a shot at goal as three Bellshill defenders try to block.

Rossvale began their Central Division 1 campaign with a victory to make ensure a successful return by manager Brian McGinty to his old stomping ground.

The day started in a somewhat sombre note as all present impeccably observed a minute’s silence for 13-year-old Kieran McDade who sadly passed away earlier in the week.

Although their first half performance was well below par it was Rossvale who had the first genuine opportunity to open the scoring in the fourth minute.

Ross Hepburn latched on to a loose ball in the centre circle and sprayed it wide left to Craig Holmes who, with a deft touch, cut inside the Bellshill full-back before being pulled down just outside the box.

From the resulting free-kick Kirk Forbes’s driven effort was deflected onto the outside of the Bellshill keeper Thomson’s right hand post.

Bellshill went on to dominate the first half proceedings and gained the upper hand with 28 minutes on the clock courtesy of a disputed penalty.

A loose ball inside the Rossvale penalty area was contested by both Rossvale keeper Jamie Donnelly and Bellshill’s Darren Simpson.

It seemed to be simply a coming together of two players contesting a loose ball but the referee saw it differently.

He adjudged Donnelly to have fouled Simpson and Christopher McCormack calmly sent the Vale keeper the wrong way to fire home from the spot.

The advantage was almost doubled eight minutes later but a fantastic flying save to his left by Donnelly kept out Simpson’s effort from the edge of the box.

Manager McGinty must have worked his magic during the half-time break as Rossvale came out for the second period with a sense of purpose and determination not witnessed during the first period.

They were rewarded for their new found vigour just four minutes after the restart.

From a free-kick Forbes swung over an excellent cross into the zone between goalkeeper and defenders and centre-back Steven Tart met the ball on the run to bullet his header beyond Thomson’s despairing reach.

Rossvale took the lead on 62 minutes through super sub Euan Baird.

A long clearance by Donnelly was flicked on by the head of Gary Trussler and Baird showed the Bellshill rearguard a clean pair of heels before displaying some composure to slot the ball beyond Thomson.

Honours were even again in the 70th minute when Bellshill were awarded another, more this time justifiable, spot kick following a mistimed challenge by Forbes on McCormack.

McCormack once again stepped up, this time firing the ball high into Donnelly’s net.

The game was on edge now with both teams going at each other more reminiscent of a cup tie rather than a first league game of the season.

But it was Rossvale who would grab the spoils in stoppage time

From just inside his own half Trussler played the ball down the line to Baird who cut inside and along the Bellshill penalty area before firing a screamer which careered off the underside of the bar.

Holmes was the quickest to react to head the ball into the now empty Bellshill net with Thomson still on the ground after trying to get to Baird’s effort.

If this was a taste of what’s to come from Rossvale for the rest of the season then it certainly won’t be dull.