Unfortunate ’keeper error proves costly for Rothbury
ROTHBURY 0WHITBURN & CLEADON 1‘You don’t have to be mad to be a goalkeeper, but it helps.’ That old saying was never so apt for Rothbury’s unlucky Paul Appleby who pulled off a stunning save to deny a Whitburn striker – then could only raise his eyes skywards after bundling Liam Roberts’ deep cross into his own net for the visitors’ late winner.
“I would say we were the better team in the first half but couldn’t get a goal. The second was 50/50 with Whitburn probably having more chances in the second - a draw would have been fair to me. But when you’re down you just keep getting kicked,” groaned manager Dan Herron afterwards.
The result saw the South Shields side rocket up to fourth in the table, while Rothbury remain in 11th. But Herron isn’t about to start hitting the panic button after a good performance against one of the sides tipped for promotion at the start of the season and said: “We were pleased with the attitude - we played as a team and didn’t get our heads down like previous weeks.
“We just need to find the back of the net when we’re on top! We’re playing the right way and just need a bit more composure and quality in the final third I would say.”
The Reds had chances to break the deadlock after the break; James Jackson played a defence-splitting ball over the top for Chris Coe to run onto and Gareth McCann just couldn’t find the finish after taking a touch on his low driven centre.
Greg Woodburn also had a good sight at goal when a mis-hit goal kick ran straight to him but he raced the finish on his weaker left foot and fired just wide.
At the other end Appleby flung himself to keep out an angled powerful volley – ‘an immense save, like Gordon Banks,’ said the gaffer – with Thomas Hammond bravely blocking the rebound to deny a certain goal from six yards and the net gaping.
However, with just eight minutes remaining, Roberts fired over a cross and as Appleby came to claim it misjudged the flight and, backpeddling, spilled it over the line.
“It was such a shame, given we’d played so well and defended brilliantly,” said Herron.
This weekend Rothbury are away to Hexham. The Tynedalers are a point behind the Reds in 12th position, but have four games in hand.