Fraserburgh are now just a solitary point off second place after they scrounged out a fortuitous late winner to deny Rothes what would have been a deserved point from their visit to Bellslea Park. Despite being reduced to ten men with quarter of an hour remaining, the ‘Broch showed incredible character to twice come from behind in order to seal the victory.
It was clear that the intentions of the away side was to come and attack for a result, and, although they did not create a significant quantity of chances, they were certainly not shy in creeping forward as they looked to follow up on last week’s shock result against Fort William.
With Rothes doing everything possible to deny Fraserburgh space on the ball, something which was becoming increasingly frustrating for the home side, the only chance accumulated was Scott Robison’s half-volley which was punted straight into the arms of Paul Leask.
Michael Fletcher then made Leask work with a 30-yard free-kick effort straight down the throat of the Fraserburgh goalkeeper.
However, he managed to grasp it well and the first half fizzled out without any sort of life in the final third for Fraserburgh in what had been a physical affair.
Within three minutes of the restart, Rothes had given themselves a shock lead. Iain MacRae took the ball in his stride following a stitched pass forward, before sidestepping past a defender and driving by Leask before finishing into the back of the net.
Fraserburgh then had a pair of half-chances in their quest to avoid this surprise defeat. Graham Johnston and PA Bruce both coming close with rifled efforts.
But persistence provided a leveller. The on-loan Peterhead forward PA Bruce netted the equaliser from around 12-yards out, his half-volley taking a deflection off of Scott Bowie which Horne failed to gather cleanly.
Rothes showed they were certainly no pushovers as they gained the lead for the second time in the game, MacRae’s testing cross from the right-hand side looked to be looping just wide of the post before Michael McKinnon nipped in to head home from a yard out.
A tense period then followed for the home side, with increasing worries that the ‘Broch would tarnish their good home form, although the new signing from Turriff United Dean Cowie marked his home debut and allayed fears with a fine strike, PA Bruce assisted.
It certainly looked to be game on from a neutral perspective, and things got even more interesting with fifteen minutes remaining when Graham Johnston was shown his marching orders by referee Andy Milne for a late lunge on a Rothes defender.
Rothes had the upper hand going into the final period of the game, and they almost snatched a late winner when McKinnon, constantly a threat the whole afternoon, managed to out-muscle Hay and race through on goal, but he dallied and Leask managed to rush out to take the ball from his toes.
As the game entered injury-time, a long clearance from Paul Leask almost caught out his opposite number Ricky Horne who scrambled back in order to push the ball onto the roof of the net as the home side looked to nab all the spoils. From the resulting corner, Allan Hale whipped in an in-swinging ball which was headed goalwards by Ryan Christie, with Horne flapping at the centre-halves effort as he spilled the ball into the net.