Third straight league defeat for Monymusk

Monymusk lacked the cutting edge in this Division Three match at Deer Park and were unable to covert a number of chances into goals against a good Highland Hotel side.

Alarmingly, this was Musk’s third consecutive league defeat, albeit against the better teams, as the Deer Park side continues to struggle to find the form which saw them go on a run of eight straight games undefeated prior to the slump.

With a fair number of players still on the unavailable or injured list the Musk starting line-up included Neil Duncan making a rare appearance as he is now working overseas. Tony Forshaw and Gordon Harkness were also back in the side.

Highland had the ball in the net as early as the fourth minute but the referee had already blown for offside.

An Andy Robertson free kick was then well held by the Highland keeper before Harkness hooked a shot just wide.

The Hoteliers took the lead in 16 minutes when a low cross from the left was not dealt with by the Musk defence and the ball landed at the feet of a Highland player who had time to cut it back into the path of his striking partner to score.

The goal stung Musk into action and Andy Cruden had a great chance to level the score ten minutes later right in front of goal but was unable to pull the trigger and then James Stewart fed namesake Phil on the left but his shot was just wide.

A Cruden effort from distance was held by the keeper before Forshaw was denied by a great challenge in the box when it looked as if the Welshman would level things up.

With five minutes of the first half remaining Forshaw had another great chance when he was sent free down the left by Phil Stewart but his shot hit the side netting with just the keeper to beat.

The game was held up for a few minutes after Callum Nicolson received what looked like a nasty injury but the defender managed to continue after treatment.

Fyffe then made a good stop as the referee brought the first 45 minutes to an end.

The second half began disastrously for Musk when, after just four minutes, a ball over the top of the Musk defence sent a Highland player goalward and with only Fyffe to beat he coolly lobbed the ball into the net.

Anoither Cruden long-range effort two minutes later went just past the post before a quick Andy Robertson free kick in 61 minutes saw Forshaw drive just wide.

Two minutes later man-of-the-match Forshaw fed Cruden a great ball and the Musk striker scraped the post with his effort.

Highland had a couple of chances themselves before, with 13 minutes remaining, Musk pulled a goal back when a long clearance was expertly brought down by Cruden who shook off two Highland defenders before despatching the ball past the keeper to make it 2-1.

With Musk pressing forward at every opportunity in a bid to get something from the game they were leaving themselves open at the back and with three minutes to go the Highland No.10 found himself right through on goal but Fyffe came out and somehow managed to divert the ball wide for a corner.

From the resultant kick Musk were unable to clear the ball and the livewrie Highland No.7 popped up on the right and sent a low drive past Fyffe and into the net to wrap up the tie.

Cruden could have made it 3-2 in the dying seconds but the ball went just wide of the Highland goal following a throw-in.

Fyffe, Duthie, J. Stewart, Robertson, Nicolson, Mackie, Duncan (Eddie), Forshaw, Cruden, Harkness (Beaton) and P. Stewart (Barron). Unused subs: Moir and Forsyth.

Monymusk have another tough league game on Satuday (March 10) when they travel to face Dee Amateurs.