GOALKEEPER William Brown was Rhu Amateurs' hero as the local side secured a last-gasp 2-1 win away to Milton AFC on Saturday.

It looked like the Bannockburn side would snatch all three points when, with the game locked at 1-1, the home side were awarded a penalty in the 88th minute.

But Brown capped a superb individual performance with a magnificent save to keep the game level – and then, with the very last move of the match, Ross Jeffrey volleyed home a dramatic winner at the other end to seal all three points for Rhu.

Rhu manager Stewart Maule said afterwards: “Never been involved in a game like today’s.

“We defended incredibly and when Milton did manage to break us down William Brown had the game of his life.

“We’ve played better and been beaten, but the workrate, team spirit and defending today was something all the players should be proud of.”

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Rhu went into Saturday’s match looking for revenge after Milton ended the local team’s run in the Douglas Smith League Cup with a 4-1 victory at Ardenconnel Park in early December - but the visitors knew they were in for a tough 90 minutes, with only one out-and-out striker available for the game.

The early stages of the match were scrappy, with challenges flying in left, right and centre, and though Rhu were in the mood for a battle, there were few clear cut chances for the visitors.

Milton’s number nine, Calum Hendrie, was creating plenty of issues for the Rhu defence with his size and strength, but Brown pulled off three excellent saves in the first half, keeping out a trio of goalbound efforts and keeping the visitors in touch.

Rhu might have gone in at the break in front after Brian Cameron drove forward from centre half before releasing Ali Maule down the wing; Maule’s cross picked out David Holborn at the back post, but the ball got stuck under his feet in the muddy conditions and the chance was gone.

Rhu started the second half more brightly, with the introduction of substitute Jamie Paterson giving more of a driving force in midfield.

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And Paterson had a key role to play in the game’s opening goal, when his through ball gave Jeffrey a clear sight of goal, leaving Milton’s number three with no alternative but to foul the Rhu man.

That earned the Milton man a red card, and Cameron curled the resulting free kick around the home defensive wall and into the top corner to put Rhu in front.

The visitors stayed strong in defence, and even when Milton did find a way through, Brown, who was having the game of his life, repelled everything that came his way.

But with 10 minutes remaining, the Rhu keeper was finally beaten when Milton’s Scott Younger forced home a scrappy equaliser after a stramash from a corner kick.

And with just two minutes left, and Milton piling on the pressure, it looked as if all of Rhu’s efforts would come to nothing, when Hendrie was brought down as he powered through on goal – only for Brown to save the day with an acrobatic dive to his left to tip the resulting penalty round the post.

But the day’s drama still wasn’t done: as Milton pushed forward in search of a winner, Rhu seized possession and mounted a counter-attack of their own, with Jeffrey setting Maule free down the line.

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Maule’s cross picked out Gary Stillwell, who did brilliantly to create space and set up Jeffrey to power home a volley from the penalty spot.

Squad: Brown, Bell, Brodie, Cameron, Maule, Gorman, Black, Holborn, Stillwell, Dickson, Jeffrey, Paterson, Fagan.

Saturday’s result leaves Rhu in seventh place in the Caledonian League’s first division table, with 20 points from 11 matches – but with games in hand on all the teams above them, following their good early season cup form, Rhu look well placed to climb the table in the coming weeks, with more than half of their league fixtures still to be played.

This Saturday, February 1, Rhu are on the road to the Stirling area once again, this time for a league match against Callander Thistle.

Kick-off at the McLaren Community Leisure Centre is at 2pm.

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