Bo’ness fail to finish

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Arthurlie 1

Bo’ness United 1

Bo’ness lived to fight another day in the Emirates Scottish Junior Cup, but they will rue not finishing off West Super League side Arthurlie after taking the lead with a superb Ian Nimmo free kick.

Boss Paul Ronald was a disappointed man afterwards, but vowed his players will not make the same mistakes in the replay. “I thought we were strong enough to hold on to the lead we had in the first half, but we didn’t turn up after the break.

“There are players in our dressing room who are disappointed in their own performance and they are hurting.

“We’re still in the cup, though, and next week will be a very different game. We’ll do a lot better on our own pitch and hopefully finish off the tie, but we should have been strong enough to hold on to our lead.”

It was always going to be a very tricky tie, the visit to Barrhead, and so it proved. Arthurlie started strongly, but it wasn’t until the 20th minute before they forced Bo’ness keeper Scott Christie into action, Paul Stewart driving to the byline before forcing the keeper to palm his effort out wide. Only a couple of minutes later Stewart again brought out the best of Christie in the six-yard box.

Bo’ness were awarded a free kick some 30 yards out down the middle. Nimmo stepped up and, against the run of play, curled a beauty round the wall and into the net to stun the home support. Arthurlie, though, were soon camped around the Bo’ness defence. However, the visitors had taken a lot of confidence from the goal and were holding out comfortably.

The central pairing of Scott Gibb and Steven Reilly were immense and with keeper Christie behind them Arthurlie were facing a cup exit at home.

The second half gave Bo’ness hope for further goals as early as the 50th minute. John Stewart latched on to a ball played into the box and tried to chip Keith Ross, but the goalkeeper fingertipped the ball over the bar for a corner. Arthurlie continued to press hard, but time and again they slid the ball wide of the goal or over the bar from great positions. Then, with 20 minutes remaining, they did manage a goal. Winger Alan Muir drove into the box and for the first time beat Scott Gibb to the ball. His effort was knocked on to the post by keeper Christie only for the rebound to fall to James Marks who side-footed home from six yards.

Now there was real pressure on the Bo’ness defence. Again, though, the they stood firm and when Ronald introduced Grant Plenderleith and Kevin Watt to the attack they took the game to the other end of the field.

A draw was the least Arthurlie deserved. They had Bo’ness clamped down in their own penalty box for spells, but it takes a good side to grind out a result and that’s just what Bo’ness did.

However, they can’t afford the same attitude next week in the replay. Too many of their players didn’t turn up at all.

All the stars were in defence with goalkeeper Christie, who turned down an offer from Hamilton Accies to turn professional last week, immense behind Gibb and Reilly.

Nimmo was understandably delighted with his goal. “That’s about 40 attempts and the first to go in. It felt good the second it left my foot. I’ve been getting a bit of stick from the lads about my free kicks, so it’s my turn to get them back.”

Arthurlie: Ross, Lundie, Blakey, Crawford, Gallagher, McLay, McKeown, Johnstone, Marks, Stewart, Muir. Subs: McLeod, Livingston, Deas, Arodlani, R Stewart.

Bo’ness: Christie, Snowdon, Bonnar, Gibb, Reilly, Nimmo, Walker (Plenderleith), Shields (Watt), Stewart, Duffy, Donnelly. Subs: Waddell, Hamilton, Hay, Longridge, Allan.