Jim Chapman, manager of Keith’s imminent Scottish Cup opponents Clyde, was a spectator at Kynoch Park on Saturday, but he is unlikely to be having any sleepless nights worrying about how to tackle the Maroons.
Ewan Robb’s men fell to a 10th league reverse in only 12 starts, handing visitors Rothes their first league win at the foot of the Balloch for the first time since November 2002.
To compound the home side’s misery, substitute Scott Begg saw red for a rash challenge five minutes after stepping into the fray late on.
Prior to kick off a minute’s silence was observed in respect of Nairn County player Calum Riddell who died earier in the week, and also for former long serving Keith FC Committee member and ex-Rothes Chairman Jimmy Sutherland who died on Friday night. The flag at the Balloch Road end was also at half mast.
Whilst Keith were looking to get some much needed league points on the board, Rothes were out to bounce back form their disappointing Scottish Cup exit, and it was the Speysiders who had cruel luck with 24 minutes played a curling James Fraser effort hitting the post with David Dey an onlooker.
The visitors nabbed the only goal of the first half in the 38th minute a somewhat fortuitous 20 yard lob from ex Maroon Craig Cormack flying over David Dey’s head and into the roof of the net. A minute later at the other end Cammy Keith was an agonising few inches from making a connection at the back post, then Ryan Spink danced past 4 Rothes defenders but his shot was turned away for a corner on the stroke of half time.
The Maroons came out at the start of the second half intent on gaining a leveller and spent the best part of 25 minutes in the ascendancy without producing a cutting edge. They were made to pay heavily with 69 minutes on the clock, when out of the blue Scott davidson stepped inside out on the right wing to curl a 20 yarder into the top corner.
That seemed to give the Speysiders a wake up call, and they took the game by the scruff of the neck again after that, with Davidson screwing another shot inches past the foot of the far post.
The points were well and truly heading back to Mackessack Park with 75 minutes on the old egg timer, thanks to a quite superb 25 yard free kick right into the top of the old onion bag, giving David Dey absolutely no chance.
With five minutes remaining, the Maroons were reduced to ten men when Scott Begg was sent for an early bath for a rash challenge on Jack Maley. The incident sparked off a wee furore, and the referee was forced to reach for his yellow card as well to book Milne and Davidson of Rothes.
A disappointing outcome for the Maroons, looking for a morale booster prior to their Scottish Cup tie, but if you don’t create and take chances after having a huge spell of pressure then you’re usually made to pay.
Keith – Dey, Ralton, Hutcheon(Sopel 74), Clark, Robertson, Raffell(McNamee 62), Spink, Fraser, Keith, Brownie(Begg 80), Smith. Subs unused – Manson, Whelan, Buxton, McKinnon.
Referee – Mr W Smith.