Today Carluke Rovers welcomed Royal Albert from Larkhall who currently occupy bottom spot in the McBookie League One standings. That said Carluke had not beaten Royal Albert on 2 previous games this season and today was to prove just as tight.
The first opportunity fell to Royal Albert in the 9th minute when a bouncing pass back was played to Adam Brown in the Carluke goal. The ball needed to be controlled but in a split second an Albert striker nearly intercepted but Brown managed to recover the ball.
Carluke were to open the scoring 2 minutes later when new signing from Lanark, Jordan Conlon received the ball outside the Royal Albert box on the left hand side and curled in a great shot that the keeper parried to his left. It was then collected by James Frame who cut along the byeline, beating a couple of men and giving himself enough room to get in a shot from a tight angle which beat the Keeper and put Carluke 1-0 in the lead.
It was an open game with both teams creating chances In the 13 the minute Royal Albert nearly found an equaliser. The ball was crossed in from the right wing and found Declan Sloan whose cushioned header from 10 yards had the Carluke defence beaten but missed the target and hit off the post before being cleared to safety.
Again it was Albert who were to go close in 21st minute with a direct free kick from 25 yards. The kick was low to Adam Brown’s right hand side but the Carluke Keeper made a great one handed save low down to avert the danger.
However Royal Albert were not to be denied and a minute later, during this spell of pressure, they got their equaliser. A corner from the left was not properly cleared and former Rovers John Renwick was on hand to bundle the ball over the line to make the score 1-1.
The last piece of action in the first half was to prove costly for Royal Albert. The ball was fed through to James Frame who was bearing down on goal in a in a one on one with the Keeper when he was cynically brought down on the edge of the penalty box by Reiss Stewart. As the last man the Referee had no alternative but to send him off reducing Royal Albert to 10 men for the second half. Half time 1-1.
The second half was only 5 minutes old when a good cross field run by James Frame saw him pass the ball to Graeme Goodall of Rovers who hit a great shot which looked destined for the top right hand corner only for a great one handed save by Scott Sommerville in the Albert goal to deny the full back.
Shortly after this Royal Albert were to endure another blow when full back Robbie Bryden had to be stretchered off with what could be ankle ligament damage. The defender was stretching for a ball and in doing so appeared to land awkwardly on his ankle. We wish him a speedy recovery.
The second half was played mainly in the Royal Albert half and Carluke were threatening to retake the lead with James Frame at the heart of these efforts. Firstly he beat a defender and was through on goal but his resultant shot was well saved by the feet of Scott Sommerville. Then in the 76th minute he found himself bearing down on goal again but his shot cannoned off the post with the Keeper well beaten.
Carluke were to rue these missed chances when in 78th minute the ball broke to Marc McGinty down the left hand side for Royal Albert. He crossed in an inch perfect cross that was met by the head of Allan Campbell. Despite getting a hand to it there was no way the Carluke keeper, Brown was going to stop Royal Albert taking the lead for the first time in the match.
However Carluke did not let their heads go down and they continued to probe the Royal Albert defence. They got the break their second half efforts deserved when Greg Kane slid a ball through to Jordan Conlon who was barged off the ball just as he was about to shoot inside the box. Th Referee gave the penalty and it was expertly dispatched by Mark Weir who had brought himself off the bench to play the last 20 minutes.
There was to be no more real action and a scoreline of 2-2 was probably a fair result although Carluke Rovers may feel they should have just edged it. The next match in Saturday January 4th at the John Cumming Stadium with a 1:45pm kickoff against Larkhall Thistle.Match Report by Stevie Kane
Photography by Kevin Ramage