Bo’ness United boss Allan McGonigal hailed his team’s William Hill Scottish Cup third round replay win as the club’s ‘biggest achievement’ as they secured their place in the fourth round for the first time.
The BUs came back from 3-0 down at half-time last weekend as they secured an incredible 4-4 draw to take League 2 Elgin to Newtown Park for Saturday’s replay.
This match could have gone either way in truth as the two sides took the goal tally to an incredible 17 over the two games with defences certainly not on top. However, roared on by a raucous home crowd, the Super League champions clinched a home clash with Arbroath in the next round.
They had tried twice before and failed against both Buckie Thistle in 2010 and Cowdenbeath in 2011 at the same stage only to come up short. And a delighted McGonigal was full of praise for his players who have taken the club to new heights.
“I think it’s our biggest achievement ever at the club. I’ve been involved with this club on and off for the last five years – we’ve won three Super League titles in that time. In terms of the progress we have made, to think that we are in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup just beggars belief.
“I’m not often lost for words, but I am a wee bit (after this) – I’m just so proud of all the boys, it’s absolutely fantastic.
“We’ve got another home game against a better opposition in Arbroath so we’ll look forward to that. I think the boys have earned the right to get there and we’ve proved once more that there isn’t much of a gulf between the Juniors and teams in the lower leagues.”
The home side took the game to their opponents from the first whistle, reverting to the 4-3-3 formation which works so well in the Super League after deploying a 4-5-1 in the first half at Borough Briggs in the original tie.
It took just four minutes for Bo’ness to go in front, for the first time in the tie, as Darren Gribben got on the end of Andy Scott’s low cross to flick home past former Inverness keeper Michael Fraser.
Elgin were given a reprieve just six minutes later however after Colin Leiper brought down Shane Sutherland in the box – the Bo’ness defender earning a booking, while the Elgin striker was also cautioned after over-celebrating his converted penalty kick.
Their usual formation was causing the visitors trouble and Bo’ness regained the lead after 17 minutes. Youngster Kieran Anderson, who had caused problems from the bench in the second half of the original tie, swung in a free-kick from the left side which left-back Will Snowdon met to bullet past Fraser.
Bo’ness looked like scoring every time they made inroads into Elgin’s half, with veteran centre back Marvin Andrews struggling to cope with the pace of Anderson, Gribben and Nicky Walker.
Gribben put Elgin to the sword once more on the half-hour mark after collecting an intricate reverse pass from Scott Pittman; he fired low into the bottom corner with a clinical swipe of his right boot.
The visitors were awarded a second penalty just six minutes later when Ross Campbell brought down Brian Cameron in the area, but this time keeper Mark Peat got a hand to stop Sutherland. He couldn’t stop the striker from scoring just before the break however after he had initially saved from Mark Nicolson.
Bo’ness looked to regain their two-goal advantage, and after Gribben had what seemed to be a legitimate goal ruled out for offside, defender Campbell met an Anderson corner to head past Fraser on 65 minutes.
The home side were pegged back again once more however, with Elgin refusing to give up and Bo’ness slack in defence as Nicholson headed in on 72 minutes to make it 4-3.
However, just four minutes later, Bo’ness broke on the counter attack and Walker was the beneficiary as he raced in on goal and slotted under Fraser.
It wasn’t to be a seamless last 15 minutes for Bo’ness however, and, in keeping with the nature of the tie, Andrews pulled another back for Elgin with three minutes remaining after he’d been moved up front as a makeshift striker for the last ten minutes.
However, Bo’ness held on in the five minutes which were added on to set up a tie with the League Two leaders Arbroath on Saturday, November 29.
Bo’ness United: Peat, Snowdon, Campbell, Murphy, Leiper, Scott (Donnelly), Walker, Philp, Anderson (Cowan), Pittman, Gribben (Gibb).
Elgin City: Fraser, Finlayson, McHardy, Cooper, Andrews, Nicolson, McPhee (McEwan), Beveridge, Wyness (Dunn), Sutherland, Cameron (Moore).