Bonnyrigg boss angry after penalty dents title bid

Bonyrigg's Paul Harvey shoots for goal. Pic: Malcolm McCurrach
Bonyrigg's Paul Harvey shoots for goal. Pic: Malcolm McCurrach
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THE Camelon hoodoo continued for Bonnyrigg boss Max Christie as his side lost at home to a hotly-disputed penalty converted by Kevin Kelbie.

Christie has yet to taste victory against the Mariners in seven attempts since becoming Rose boss in 2011 and this latest defeat was a major setback in his team’s bid to regain the Super League title.

“It was a terrible decision and a decision which cost us massively,” said Christie. “It was a handball but the player was only a couple of feet away with his arms down his side. Where is the player supposed to put his hands, behind his back? It was a sore one to take.

“Decisions like that can make or break your season and, if not finishing our chances of winning the Super League, it has given it a severe knock backwards.”

A great deal depended on this game with both sides having hopes of taking the flag in May. It was Camelon who threatened first, though, with Kelbie twice having chances to open the scoring in the opening ten minutes. Play was scrappy for long periods as both teams battled to control the ball on a very sticky pitch. Both sides had openings but wayward finishing and poor last touches kept the scoresheet blank at half-time.

Bonnyrigg started the second half in a more determined mood with Paul Harvey rounding the keeper only to see Camelon’s Gary Kelly kick his goal bound effort off the line. Play flowed from end to end but neither keeper was being tested. Liam McKenna then produced a terrific low cross to the back post where Sean Grady almost stabbed the ball home but the chance was lost.

With 15 minutes remaining, Bonnyrigg were dealt a savage blow when the referee blew for the penalty to Camelon. David White was in a crowd of players in the penalty box when a shot came in from Colin Allison only a couple of feet away. White’s hands were down by his side but the ball did strike him. The referee immediately blew for a penalty with the Bonnyrigg players and management incensed with White promptly booked for his protests. Kelbie stepped up and sent goalkeeper David Patarek the wrong way.

Bonnyrigg tried hard to claw their way back into the game but Camelon were in no mood to surrender their lead. As the full-time whistle drew near, Rose had their best chance when Steven Manson fired in a super low drive to Ritchie Barnard’s left, only to see the goalkeeper throw himself down and smother the ball.

Rose boss Christie added: “There was nothing in the game with the penalty deciding the result. We probably didn’t create enough to win the game on a sticky pitch. We had four strikers on the field as we tried hard to get back on level terms. We had some chances but not enough to say we should have won the game.

“I’m really disappointed with the result but the penalty really knocked us back a lot.”

Camelon boss Danny Smith was delighted to get a result at Bonnyrigg, saying: “Bonnyrigg must be sick of the sight of us because that’s seven games unbeaten against them and we’ve won six of those. We score goals with everyone pitching in so I told the players if we keep it tight at the back, then we’d win.

“The Super League produces hard games every week for everyone but this season I’ve never seen a better team than us on our day.”

Bonnyrigg Rose: Patarek, Horne, Woodburn, McKenna, White, Gemmell (Thomson), Manson, Grady, Archibald, Harvey (King), Roseburgh (Renton). Subs: McDonald, McLeish.

Camelon: Barnard, Kelly, Fullarton, McGowan (Leiper), Benton, Wright, Batchelor, Ure, Allison (Bell), Kelbie, Young. Subs: Donaldson, Scott, Logan.