Bonnyrigg have a hill to climb

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Bonnyrigg Rose 0

Hill of Beath 2

Two first-half goals from the Fifers knocked the stuffing out of Bonnyrigg and took Hill Of Beath to top spot in the Super League with two games remaining although Rose have a game in hand at Kelty tonight.

Bonnyrigg gaffer Max Christie said: “We never really got going and it’s so frustrating. But we’re still in the race for the title because we have a game in hand over them and we go to Kelty tonight looking for the points.”

Hill of Beath took the game by the scruff of the neck from the kick-off. Bonnyrigg were strangely off the pace and finding it difficult to settle. The visitors took the lead after 38 minutes. They were awarded a free kick on the halfway line after Michael Gemmell suffered a bad cut to the eye. While he was off receiving treatment, Stewart Haddow sent a long ball into the right corner of the box and Stephen Bathgate shrugged off his marker, turned nicely and drilled a low ball into the far corner of the net. A couple of minutes later and Bonnyrigg thought they had an equaliser. David Dunn, up the field following a corner, met a Sean Grady cross with a header only for Beath keeper Stewart Hall to turn the ball round the post brilliantly. Then, with almost the last kick of the first half, the visitors doubled their lead. Haddow sent in a long deep cross towards the six-yard box and Bonnyrigg’s central defender Sean Woodburn rose to head clear but only succeeded in glancing the ball into his own net.

Bonnyrigg took the field for the second half kicking down the slope and looking for a way back into this game. With Ross Archibald in the thick of it, they pushed hard for any opening with Grady coming close with a drive which forced Hall into another fine save and time and time again he brought out some wonder saves to keep his goal intact. Bonnyrigg finally stared to make the pressure tell but the final effort was sadly lacking in class.

The final nail in the coffin came with five minutes to go. All the Bonnyrigg players were up the field trying for a breakthrough leaving only David Burrell and keeper Burgess at the back. Hill Of Beath forced a long ball into the Rose half and Steven Bathgate was one-on-one with Burrell with Burrell pulling him to the ground – a definite last-man tackle leaving referee Paul Reid no option but to send him off.

Hill Of Beath were the better side on the day. They were first to the ball and looked up for it from the start.

Rose boss Christie added: “It was quite a dour game and we let them in with a couple of mistakes. To their credit they came here and took the points but we always knew it was going to be a hard game for us. They are a good side and showed that.

“After getting the goals they knew what they had to do and we just didn’t have the quality to break them down. Their goalkeeper won the game for them, he was outstanding.”

Bonnyrigg winger Stevie Thomson was gutted after the game, saying: “We were flat and should have played better. I thought the first goal wasn’t a free kick because the referee had played on. Then they got the break with the own goal and it just turned out to be one of those days.”

Hill Of Beath manager Jock Finlayson was pleased with his team’s performance. “After the first half I thought we did well. We were a wee bit fortunate with the OG just before the break. We have a small squad and it’s the same boys who are playing every week and they’ve done well for us. Credit as well to the boys who came on. It was a good team performance and that’s Junior football, a good game and a good result.”

Bonnyrigg: Burgess, McLeish, Steven Thomson (Paliczka), Woodburn, Dunn, McKenna, Shields, Burrell, Archibald, Grady, Stephen Thomson. Subs: McCallum, Steele, Hendrie, Morrice, Bunyan, Weir.

Hill Of Beath: Hall, Haddow (Winter), Seeley, McCulloch, Dair, Smart, Wright, Gemmell, Smith (Hepburn), Bathgate, Adamson (Hepburn). Subs: Allum, Reid, Inglis.