Turriff United welcomed Rothes to The Haughs this past weekend in what was their first game of the 2019-20 season.
Manager Kris Hunter gave starts to new signings in John Furey at centre back, Lewis Buxton wide right and Robert Ward up front and there was also a first start at right back for local youngster Owen Kinsella in the absence of James Chalmers due to suspension, a fate that had also befallen Own’s brother Luke who picked up a two game ban for his final day red card against Buckie Thistle. The departures of Owen Cairns and Liam Strachan to Fraserburgh and Formartine United respectively had also opened up a few spaces in the starting line-up.
It didn’t take long for the new season to kick into action and as it happened it was another red card, thankfully this time for the opposition as a long ball from Fraser Hobday was controlled by Angus Grant who tried to continue his tradition of chipped goals as he made to lift the ball over advancing keeper Ewen MacDonald, a former charge of Kris Hunter’s during his Formartine days, the keeper either through daftness or genuinely not knowing where he was on the park stuck up an arm to block the ball from going over his head, and resulting in referee Filippo Mazzoni issuing the red card as he was outside his area.
A quick change saw the less than happy Craig Cormack being sacrificed as Robert Donaldson entered the fray to take up his position between the sticks.
The resultant free kick saw captain Cameron Bowden fire wide of the far post as his daisy cutter effort was just off target.
With twenty two minutes on the clock Rothes thought that they had the lead, a vicious ball in from the right flank was met at the back post with the ball being bundled over the line, only for stand side linesman Andy Ewen to raise the flag for offside.
Six minutes later it was Turriff United who had the ball in the net and this time the goal stood, some great play in the middle of the park from Dylan Stuart and Drew Copeland who made his loan move permanent in the summer saw the ball break for Michael Ironside, his ball forward saw Angus GRANT take on the defender for pace and muscle, he outshone him in both shrugging off the challenge before rounding the diving goalkeeper leaving an empty net to slot home.
Rothes were still plugging away a throw in from the left made its way across to big number nine Aiden Wilson who controlled well but his shot was over the bar.
A free kick into the box from Dylan Stuart led to a rather bizarre decision to award a free kick against Angus Grant for high feet….at waist height as the Rothes defender dived in whilst ducking to try and clear the ball.
Rothes went close again as a corner in was cleared to the edge of the area but only as far as Dale Wood who curled the ball over the bar from the edge of the area.
Turriff got their first caution of the new season at the stroke of half time as Rothes broke forward, their progress was halted by a rather robust challenge from Cameron Bowden who went in at waist height and made sure that there was no further progress made.
The resultant free kick was fired diagonally across goal to the back post where it was met by MacKenzie who fired back across goal and wide of the post.
The last chance of the half fell to Turriff as some grafting by Angus Grant saw him win the ball before flicking it on to Michael Ironside who fought his way past his marker but his shot was blocked well by sub keeper Donaldson.
HT Turriff United 1-0 Rothes
Turriff started the second half well and a ball from Dylan Stuart wide right was perfect for the run of Lewis Buxton who fired in a low fast ball which caused some panic in the away side before being deflected wide for a corner.
The resultant corner found the head of new defender John Furey who rose well in the box and directed his header across the goal but it was cleared as it reached the back post.
Rothes were still very much in the game and a run by Anderson caused problems as despite stumbling and falling he managed to keep control of the ball and get past his man before firing a shot at goal which was held fairly comfortably by Hobday.
Turriff almost profited from more misfortune as a sclaffed clearance from former midfielder MacKenzie went high up in the air and as keeper Donaldson came to claim it he fumbled the ball where it fell to Robert Ward but his effort went wide of the post.
Turriff doubled their lead on fifty eight minutes as the ball came to Calum Reid on the left flank he cut back before launching a high ball right footed into the box, as Donaldson got caught out by the flight of the ball he backpedalled towards his line but dropped the ball where it was pounced on by Angus GRANT who knocked the ball into the net for his second.
It only took five minutes for Rothes to pull one back though, a MacKenzie ball from the left was perfectly flighted for Aidan WILSON to snap his head round and send the ball over the outstretched hands of Hobday and into the corner of the net.
Ward showed his metal with around fifteen minutes on the clock as he managed to keep a ball in on the touch line and despite going off the pitch as he couldn’t stop in time he still managed to chase down the ball to the touch line and win it back from the Rothes defender who had been coasting towards it before firing a cross in to the back post which was picked up by Buxton but the keeper did well to smother the first attempt before gathering at the second.
A Fraser Robertson ball into he box was cleared by Kinsella but only as far as Wilson who did well to clear his feet before sending a ball pinging towards the net which Hobday managed to push wide for a corner.
Rothes continued to pressure and some good play down the left again saw the ball fall to Wilson who had a rocket shot blocked well again by Hobday.
All the hard work to get the two goal advantage was undone in the eightieth minute as a corner in was met by the head of Rothes captain Jamie DUFF who knocked the ball past the advancing Hobday and into the net to level the scores.
Not the outcome that was desired but a point against a team who have invested a fair bit over the summer and towards the tail end of last season is nothing to be sneezed at, up next Turriff United travel to face potential league winners Brora Rangers this weekend before welcoming Inverurie Locos to The Haughs on the 10th.
FT Turriff United 2-2 Rothes