Bo’ness United 3
Bonnyrigg Rose 2
BONNYRIGG believed they were robbed of a precious point after a controversial decision denied them a goal in a stirring fightback against the double Super League champions.
Defender David Dunn was convinced his 78th-minute shot had crossed the line and so was Ryan McCallum, who was standing on the byline after cutting the ball back to his team-mate. But referee Paul Reid didn’t and it proved a bitter pill for Rose to swallow as they went down by the odd goal after finding themselves 3-0 behind early in the second half.
“I thought we scored three goals after the break as my players thought it had crossed the line,” admitted Bonnyrigg boss Max Christie.
In the only Super League fixture to beat the weather, Bo’ness deserved their win, though they were hanging on a bit at the end as the visitors threw caution to the wind.
“We were a bit gung-ho towards the end but we had to do that,” added Christie in reference to the mountain his side found themselves facing five minutes into the second half.
Bo’ness had started the game on the front foot yet went ahead just as Bonnyrigg were starting to build up a bit of steam. The opener arrived just after the half-hour mark when Mark Weir saved superbly from Lee Duffy only to see the rebound fall to Iain Nimmo, who drilled the ball into the back of the net.
Just four minutes later Bo’ness went 2-0 up, Nimmo scoring from the penalty spot this time after Chris Gray had given away a cheap penalty by tugging back Nicky Walker inside the box.
Nimmo then made a brilliant block at the other end to stop Stuart Roseburgh getting in a clean shot at goal but it came at a cost for the home goal hero as he took a knock in the process and didn’t re-appear for the second-half.
Just before the break, Sean Grady rattled the woodwork with a vicious half-volley as Bonnyrigg tried to get back into the game. But they looked to be fighting a losing battle when Stephen Bonar, Nimmo’s replacement, made it 3-0 as he took full advantage of Gray barely being able to stand after taking a knock just beforehand.
Bonnyrigg have made a habit of finding themselves trailing in games this season and managing to salvage something from them.
Incredibly, they almost did it again after Ross Archibald sparked a fightback as he got on the end of a Grady cutback to slam the ball home in the 54th minute.
Scott Christie, back in goals for Bo’ness after turning out for Hamilton against Falkirk in the SFL the previous weekend, then saved well at the feet of Stuart Roseburgh.
And, as the visitors started to flood men forward at every opportunity, it certainly seemed as though Bo’ness got a break when play was waved on after Dunn’s drive was cleared either on the line or over it with 12 minutes to go.
Undeterred, Rose kept pushing and substitute David Burrell curled home a peach of a shot from outside the box in the 82nd minute after being teed up by Grady.
Given that Grady then shot over and McCallum failed to connect properly after a great chance fell to him, it was no surprise that the sound of the final whistle was greeted with a sense of relief in the home ranks.
“Having lost our last two league games, it was an important win for us,” admitted United manager Paul Ronald.
“You can see how Bonnyrigg have been doing well as they work their socks off and certainly posed a threat when they pushed four up front towards the end.
“I felt we should have been comfortable after going 3-0 up but it was all a bit nervous in the latter stages as it almost became like a cup tie. The three points mean we can have a good Christmas and New Year before trying to kick on from this when the league resumes after the break.”
Unsurprisingly, Ronald was delighted with the performance of John Harvey as he made his debut after joining the champions recently from Penicuik.
“John’s fitness is a bit low and we’ll work hard on that, but he held the ball up well and also linked up play well,” added the Bo’ness boss.
For his counterpart, it was a day when Bonnyrigg left Christie both disappointed and pleased.
“We keep giving ourselves mountains to climb and you can’t afford to do that against good teams,” he said.
“But our spirit was great once again and I just wish we would start to play with a bit more arrogance when we are on the front foot as we created chance after chance when we got back into it.”
Bo’ness United: Christie, Snowdon (Hay 82), McLaren, Gibb, Reilly, Nimmo (Bonar 46), Shields, Duffy, Donnelly, Walker, Harvey. Subs: Watt, Allan.
Bonnyrigg Rose: Weir, McLeish, Gray (Burrell 50), Morrice, Dunn, Grady, King, Steven Thompson (Steele 65), Archibald, McCallum, Roseburgh. Subs: Shields, Stuart Thomson, Burgess.
Referee: P Reid.