A hard fought match in which the Reserves dominated the first forty five minutes, with Paul Fee and Jack Gordon, well supported by Dylan Monaghan, outstanding in the midfield area but a lack of sharpness in the final third cost the points which would have taken Rovers back to the top of the league with Livingston losing to Queens Park. The second period was more closely contested but the Back 4, with Lee McLelland always in control and the other three solid throughout, defended well to the extent that Chris Smith only had one excellent save to make in the match. Portuguese striker Fernando Moniz put in a real shift and looked dangerous until he eventually ran out of steam but the lack of the injured Declan McDonald played an important part in the result – the only plus being that Rovers were the only team in the top three of the league to pick up a point last night and they now sit one point behind their next opponents Livingston.
Livingston ahead 3 2 shading the match but we are getting a few chances on goal. Lashing down very slippy surface can account for the goalie gifting their 2nd unfortunately, after dropping it after a slip. Battled back well with See scoring a peach for our second after a well taken penalty by Smart earlier.
Overwhelmed and probably overawed in the first 15 minutes by a home team which included several Premier League players, most notably Chris Erskine, Scott Robinson, Craig Sibbald and the French winger Aymen Souda, the Reserves found themselves 0-2 behind but got back into the game with Smart Osadolor scoring from the spot. Just before the break, the slippery conditions – the game was played throughout in pouring rain – caused Chris Smith to lose possession and see his team to go 1-3 down but almost immediately a cross from Kyle Doherty was smashed into the top corner by Ousman See. A vastly improved performance after the break saw Rovers have the better of the second half – an opinion reinforced by Livi coach Marvin Bartley after the game – and the scores were level when Doherty’s powerful cross was turned into his own net by a defender. However with only three minutes remaining and with Callum Home and Lewis Wilson off, a makeshift defence conceded what was to be the scrambled winner in spite of a great save from Smith initially – his third in the second half. Osman See was excellent up front causing real problems for the former Montpellier and Dinamo Bucharest giant defender Teddy Mezague, Jack Gordon and Paul Fee had outstanding second periods in midfield, while centre back Lee McLelland was his side’s man-of-the-match, making a series of crucial tackles and reading the game very impressively throughout. Overall a hugely satisfactory display against this level of full-time opposition.
Team: Smith, Moran, Home (Dolan), McLelland, Wilson (Guy), Monaghan (Dukuray), Gordon, Fee, Doherty, See, Osadolor
An outstanding attacking performance against a physical Larkhall Thistle team (which included their top scorer Graham Gracie) with goals from Kieran Dolan (2), Dylan Monaghan, Kevin Fell, Kyle Doherty and Jamie Leslie. Rovers dominated the midfield, with Paul Fee, with four assists, and trialists Fell and Leslie excellent, while a makeshift Back 4 coped well in the main, with centre backs Mark Doran and, in particular, Daniel Moran impressive against a strong, aggressive Larkhall attack, while right back Monaghan added a spectacular fourth goal to take side side into a 4-3 lead. All three front players were a threat – Dolan scored twice, the opener a clinical finish from Fee’s defence splitting pass, while both Doherty and Fernando Moniz were always dangerous on the wings.
Smith; Monaghan, Doran, Moran, Guy; K Fell, Leslie, Fee; Doherty, Dolan (McDonald), Moniz (Armstrong)