TWO weeks of postponed fixtures caught up with Rhu Amateurs’ Greater Glasgow squad on Saturday as they fell to a 4-3 defeat at the hands of St Patrick’s FP’s second team in Dumbarton.

Rhu’s closest geographical rivals in the GGPAFL’s Division One went into the game with a comfortable cushion at the top of the table, with 10 wins and a draw from their 11 matches so far – and with Sam Gemmell’s troops still looking for their first league win, albeit having played just five times in the league to date, watchers might have expected to see a bigger gap between the sides on the park.

But Gemmell’s players worked hard to push their hosts right to the final whistle – and had it not been for a dip early in the second half, Rhu might well have pulled off an upset.

The early stages of the match were quite tight, with both teams probing in a search for the opener, and it was the hosts who broke the deadlock when good build-up play saw the St Pat’s striker beat keeper Craig Gemmell low to his left.

Rhu, though bounced straight back and were level just five minutes later, with good build-up play down the left hand side by Caldwell and Jeffrey seeing the ball whipped across goal for Sibley to nip in and fire home.

St Pat’s responded a few minutes later, going 2-1 up when an attempted clearance by the Rhu defence was partly blocked and the ball was poked past Gemmell and into the net.

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And five minutes from half-time the hosts increased their advantage with the best goal of the match, when a long ball down the right hand side found Dylan Molloy running away from goal and apparently not posing a great danger – but on the half-volley he whipped the ball into the top corner of the net, giving Gemmell in goal no chance.

The Rhu manager tried a change of formation at the start of the second half in a bid to find a way back into the game, but not for the first time this season Rhu’s performance level dipped early in the second half as St Pat’s continued to press forward.

The hosts made it four when the ball was bundled into the net after another goalmouth scramble, and only a blinding double save from Gemmell prevented St Pat’s from scoring a fifth.

But to the Rhu players’ credit, they battled hard to try and get a foothold back in the match, and managed to reduce the deficit to two when Sibley split the St Pat’s defence with a great through ball and the hard-working Jeffrey got his reward for chasing the ball down and was able to slip it underneath the keeper.

With time almost up, Rhu reduced the deficit to a single goal when Stillwell found space on the left and picked his spot in the bottom corner with a low drive, but the referee blew for full time seconds after the restart.

Boss Gemmell said afterwards: “It was a disappointing result for us as we started well but dropped off for a large part in the middle of the game – probably down to having missed two weeks due to postponed games, as players’ match sharpness does go down when not playing. Training alone can’t really replicate that.

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“On the plus side, we didn’t give up, and we should give ourselves some credit for pushing the current league leaders to the full time whistle.

“We are well aware what we need to do this season, so with only five league games played, we have it in our own hands to push ourselves up the table.”

Squad: Gemmell, Cavana, Johns, Jones, Stillwell, Cameron, Dods, Sibley, Jeffrey, Caldwell, Maule, Paterson, McKell, Rennie.

This Saturday, November 20, Rhu are in action on two fronts, with the club’s Caledonian League team – who weren’t in action at the weekend – travelling to Kilsyth on league duty, hoping to turn around a series of disappointing results in recent weeks.

The club’s Greater Glasgow team, meanwhile, plays host to Plains AFC in the third round of the West of Scotland Cup.

The latter tie is scheduled to be played at the DCF Park in Rhu, but the recent weather makes it likely the game will be transferred to Hermitage Academy. Supporters should keep an eye on the club’s social media feeds for updates.