Under-strength Academy hit by late Mackenzie double at Rothes
Despite having to field three trialists, Wick Academy looked set to return from Mackessack Park on Saturday with three points until a late quick-fire double from Allen Mackenzie turned the game on its head and gave Rothes a 2-1 win.
The Speysiders threatened early on when Mackenzie broke clear on their left and drove the ball across the face of goal. From the right touchline Ashley Ballam lofted a cross just beyond the back post.
Ex-Academy striker Steven Anderson had a great chance six yards in front of goal but Sean McCarthy dashed smartly off his line to make a point-blank save.
The match burst into life midway through the first half with a spell of end-to-end play. Jakob Koziol displayed nifty ball control to lob Rothes keeper Robbie Donaldson but his effort landed just behind the bar.
Danny Mackay headed away a Jack Maley free kick before Alan Hughes saw his well-struck 25-yard effort held by Donaldson.
A Craig Cormack volley deflected low to McCarthy’s left but the Wick keeper dived to smother the ball.
Craig Gunn and Richard Macadie combined well with a vintage one-two and Gunn warmed Donaldson’s hands with a stinging shot from 25 yards.
Approaching half-time, McCarthy was kept busy saving a shot from Anderson and scrambling away a looping header from Mackenzie.
The Scorries swooped straight upfield to snatch the lead a minute before the break. Koziol flew up the right wing and pushed the ball ahead of Gunn, who swept it under Donaldson’s despairing dive.
Shortly after the break Academy almost doubled their advantage. All three central defenders went forward to meet Gunn’s corner from the right and Aidan Reid’s powerful downward header was fumbled by Donaldson and bounced off the base of the post.
Academy’s second-half performance was less fluent but the home side posed no serious threat until the 80th minute when Anderson and Cormack set up a chance for Mackenzie, who fired in the equaliser from 15 yards.
Two minutes later Mackenzie ran 20 yards up the Rothes left to rifle a shot high into the far top corner of the net.
Academy fought back but a 25-yard lob by Richard Macadie rebounded off a post with the keeper stranded.
Despite two successive away defeats, Academy could seal a seventh-place finish with a win against Keith at Harmsworth Park this Saturday.
Rothes: Donaldson, Ballam (Neil 57), Stark, Milne, Duff, Wood, Anderson, Robertson (Kerr 66), Cormack (Duncan 69), Maley, Mackenzie. Subs not used: Rodrigues, Christie.
Wick Academy: McCarthy, Manson, Farquhar, D Mackay, Gunn, R Macadie, Reid (G Mackay 86), Campbell, Koziol (Aitkenhead 77), Hughes (M Macadie 66), R Allan. Sub not used: Clark.
Referee: Liam Duncan.