RHU Amateurs were beaten 2-0 at home by league leaders East Kilbride YM in their first match of 2019 on Saturday – but a battling performance from the local side gave them plenty of encouragement for the second half of their league campaign.

Rhu had lost 15-1 when the teams last met, but EKYM quickly found themselves up against a stubborn Rhu side who were in the mood for a battle, though the visitors took the lead in the ninth minute when slackness down the left allowed a cut back for Cammy McCulloch to smash a shot past keeper William Brown.

Rhu didn’t let their heads go down, though they were unable to create many openings; at the other end EKYM continued to try and break down a well organised Rhu side and had a couple of half chances but keeper Brown was having a good game for the home side, and the half ended with the visitors narrowly in front.

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EKYM continued to see more of the ball in the second half, but again they were unable to break down the hosts. Rhu made a double change in a bid to freshen things up, with Shaun Laird and Jack Gorman coming on.

As the game opened up after the break, the visitors had a few chances to finish the game, but good defending and more fine stops from Brown kept the leaders at bay.

But the game swung on the introduction of Peter Kelsall for EKYM: first, the substitute escaped with a yellow card despite catching Nathan Teague in the face with his elbow, and then, just five minutes later, he powered home a header at the back post to make it 2-0.

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Rhu thought they had pulled one back when a header by Connolly was partly cleared on the line, and in the ensuing scramble the ball was almost forced in for a second time, but the referee waved play on despite the hosts’ claims.

Despite the result, full credit goes to Rhu for the way they battled throughout the 90 minutes against an East Kilbride team who had to work hard for the win.

Team: William Brown, Stuart Milne, Thomas Connolly, Kieran McVey, Alistair Maule, Scott Leishman, Paddy Scullion, Barry Quinn, Nathan Teague, Adam Sharkey. Subs: Shaun Laird, Jack Gorman, Shaun Burke.

This Saturday, January 19, Rhu face Westerlands at Ardenconnel Park. Kick-off is at 2pm.

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