A CONTROVERSIAL last-minute goal condemned Rhu to a 3-2 Caledonian League defeat away to top-of-the-table Cambusbarron Rovers on Saturday.
Despite loud protests that the scorer of the Stirling team's late winner had been in an offside position when he scored, the referee gave the goal, to rob Rhu of what would have been a richly deserved share of the spoils.
Rhu were playing up the considerable slope of Mill Road Park in the first half, and after a shaky start they started to get control of the midfield and were testing the home defence.
Cambusbarron were hitting the ball early in to the corners but Rhu's defence were coping well.
It was an even contest but it was the home team who had the first opportunity when their striker came close when he hit the base of the post; Rhu came close after that when a shot from distance was tipped over the bar by the home keeper.
There was nothing in the game until a mistake in Rhu's midfield gave Cambusbarron's number 11 the opportunity to break through the visiting defence, and he made no mistake to put the home team ahead.
It was nip and tuck after that with both teams having chances, but half-time arrived with Cambusbarron 1-0 ahead.
Having the advantage of the slope in the second half made an immediate difference for Rhu, as a long ball into the corner was controlled by Adam McCulloch, who skinned the home full-back and sent over a perfect cross for Scott Leishman to find the net with a diving header.
It was all Rhu now, and Cambusbarron were hanging on - and 15 minutes after the break Rhu went ahead when McCulloch again beat the defender out wide and this time crossed for Graeme McCallum to hit home at the far post.
At this stage Rhu were well on top, but they missed several chances to seal the points, and Cambusbarron dug in and gradually got back in to the game.
Rhu were being pushed back now and Cambusbarron drew level after a goalmouth scramble.
Both teams were still having a go in a really good contest, but just as it looked as if the game would end in a draw, Cambusbarron's striker scored from a clearly offside position to give his side full points in the last minute.
Rhu team: Grindlay, Kemp, Johns, Willis, Jenkins, Holburn, Leishman, Stilwell, Mulholland, McCulloch, McCallum. Subs used: Hanley, McGillivary and Lennie.
This Saturday, February 4, Rhu are away to Weir Recreation in the Caledonian League - KO 2pm.