The leaders Leopards given a shock



Lowick Leopards...5

ROTHBURY pushed Glendale League leaders Lowick Leopards all the way at a windswept Glendale Middle School on Saturday.

Immediately Rothbury were under pressure as Lowick started confidently. Niall Murtagh was called into action straight away as a slick Lowick passing move created a chance that Niall did well to beat away. The resulting corner saw Lowick open the scoring as Rothbury failed to react quickly enough to a short corner. The cross was smartly clipped into the net by Lowick (0-1).

Rothbury’s equaliser was made by a strong and confident run from Cameron Austin-Walker. After closing down a Lowick midfielder, he won the ball and ran directly at goal. His powerful run outstripped the Lowick defence yet his shot was well parried by the Lowick goalkeeper. The ball rebounded to Cameron’s feet and, after readjusting, he shot again at goal.

Somehow the Lowick goalkeeper again got a hand to the shot yet a well-timed late run into the box saw Thorsten Robinson on hand to coolly slide the ball past the unlucky keeper into the net (1-1).

The Rothbury equaliser made Lowick slightly more cautious for the rest of the first half and the remaining minutes were spent with the two sides locked in a midfield battle.

The second half began with the wind seeming to redouble in strength. It was a wind which was soon playing a telling part in the course of the game.

Lowick, with the wind at their backs, seemed more confident at shooting from distance and it was this skill that saw them pull away from the dogged Rothbury team.

First Rothbury were again slow in seeing the threat and a Lowick midfielder was given vital seconds to assess the range and then let fly a powerful right-footed shot that arrowed into the top corner of the Rothbury goal (1-2).

Then, only moments later, Lowick produced the moment that eventually determined the outcome of the match. The Lowick number 10, who was the dominant player in the match, let loose a shot from near the half-way line. The ball rose high into the sky and, aided by the wind, screamed towards the Rothbury line. In fairness the ball could have finished anywhere but, to Lowick’s joy, it ended up high in the top of the Rothbury goal (1-3).

Lowick were now in their stride. Their football now resembled a side that had the confidence that comes with a long unbeaten run and their fourth goal was impressive. Four passes carved open Rothbury and the ball was placed past the on-rushing Niall in goal (1-4).

Niall Murtagh was having an impressive game in goal for Rothbury and several times he parried well-struck drives and twice he dived at the feet of on-rushing Lowick forwards to bravely deny Lowick scoring opportunities. But from a Lowick corner, the ball was prodded home following another excellent Niall save (1-5).

At 5-1 down it seemed as if Lowick could score again but Rothbury were determined to still have a say in the game.

James Williams started to reassert control in the midfield and Gareth Rickaby started to have some joy down the Rothbury right. James flicked out a pass wide to Gareth who then hared down the right flank of the pitch. The ball was played into the Lowick box and Thorsten Robinson – again arriving late into the area – swept the ball home (2-5).

Thorsten won the ball well on the half-way line for Rothbury before playing it forward to Cameron. Cameron turned and ran at a retreating Lowick defence. He showed admirable calm to steady himself before firing accurately into the corner of the Lowick net.

Alas there was no time for a Rothbury comeback.