Bonnyrigg take strong grip on Super League title race

Ross Archibald strikes home the opener. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Ross Archibald strikes home the opener. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Bonnyrigg Rose took a giant leap towards the Super League title with a 2-1 victory over Tayport.

But midfielder Lewis Turner insists their focus only extends as far as the next game as they just aim to keep on winning.

Rose moved five points clear of title rivals Kelty Hearts in second place, with Bo’ness United maintaining their two-point lead at the top of the table, although they have played four games more than Bonnyrigg.

Turner, who joined the New Dundas Park outfit from Musselburgh Athletic in the summer, is flourishing at his hometown club as Rose seek their first top-flight crown since season 2011/12.

“As long as we keep winning and keep playing the way we are playing we’re confident we’ll do well,” said Turner.

“We’re coming to the business end of the season now and there is talk around the club [about the title] and there’s talk around the fans, but we try and keep that in the dressing-room and we just want to keep winning. We’re not thinking about winning titles yet, we’re just thinking about Sauchie next week and picking up three points.”

The former Berwick Rangers winger believes team spirit has been the main factor behind a terrific campaign.

He continued: “If it was anyone else, I wouldn’t have probably left Musselburgh, but Robbie [Horn, Bonnyrigg manager] asked me to come and I was delighted to get the chance to play for such a big club.

“Last year at Musselburgh was really enjoyable, we got to the Scottish Cup final, but I’m playing for my home club and I love playing for them. I love the people around the club and I can’t wait for next season to start already just because I’ve enjoyed it that much. We’ve got a really good group, we’re a really close-knit squad.

“There’s not a single person that doesn’t get on, it’s probably one of the best team spirits I’ve been a part of. I feel like this is probably one of the better seasons I’ve had playing in Junior football and I’m just hoping that I can keep improving and getting better. Half the battle is enjoying your football, any time in the past I’ve not been playing well is because I’ve not been enjoying it.”

Second-bottom Tayport came into the match on the back of three straight victories as they seek safety, but they couldn’t cope with a rampant Rose side in the first half as Horn’s men ramped up the pressure on the visiting defence.

Ross Archibald fired the hosts in front after seven minutes. He could not have struck his effort any better after the ball landed to him in the box from Dean Hoskins’ ball across goal, his right-footed effort across goal almost bursting the net behind goalkeeper Gavin Sorley.

Andrew Kidd was then inches away from doubling the lead three minutes later, as the former Whitehill Welfare man’s ambitious attempt from 25 yards whistled just wide of Sorley’s left-hand post.

Kidd then supplied an assist for Rose’s second as they continued to dominate – his ball down the left channel finding striker Kieran McGachie, who still had a lot of work to do from out wide, but he cut inside the visiting defence with ease before curling a lovely effort into the far corner of the net.

Tayport defender Gregor Anderson had to be alert to clear off the line after Turner’s strike took a deflection on route to goal, and keeper Sorley produced a fantastic stop to prevent the same player, whose effort looked set for the top corner on the stroke of half-time.

Rose keeper Michael Andrews had spent much of the first half watching on as his side dominated, but he was ready to produce the goods when required as he tipped over Stefan Elvin’s effort from outside the area after 59 minutes.

Sorley then matched his opposite number with a fine save as he tipped Archibald’s net-bound volley onto the crossbar seven minutes later.

Rose’s exertions in the first period had clearly taken it out of them as they were unable to replicate the swashbuckling tempo they had produced prior to the interval.

Tayport began to create more chances and they deservedly pulled a goal back on 79 minutes after Hoskins lost his footing, allowing Alan Tulleth to stride in one-on-one with Andrews before producing a composed finish.

The visitors were inches away from an equaliser in added on time after a Rose player headed inches wide of his own goal under pressure.

Bonnyrigg Rose: Andrews, Archibald, Donaldson, Stewart, Young, Hoskins, Kidd (Horne), Turner, McIntosh, Tobin, McGachie (McLaren).

Tayport: Sorley, Robertson, Ovenstone, Anderson, Ogg, Cavanagh, Reid, Elvin, Finlay (Kay), Tulleth, Adam (Connelly).