Brechin City 2
Bonnyrigg Rose 2
BONNYRIGG ROSE boss Max Christie couldn’t mask his disappointment after his side came within a whisker of reaching the fourth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
The East Junior champions led Brechin by two goals to nil only to allow the Second Division team back into the tie with a couple of howlers.
The home side got out of jail after being ripped apart by a rampant Bonnyrigg, who had worked their socks off to get that two-goal cushion, only to let it slip through lapses of concentration at the back.
Manager Christie, whose side face a replay at New Dundas Park this Saturday, said: “We’re absolutely gutted after a performance like that. We were solid at the back and only individual errors allowed them back into the game.
“We were always a threat going forward and scored two super goals and looked like the side that were going to win the game. The players were superb and hats off to them. It’s only half-time with the second half on our turf and we’re already looking forward to that game.”
Bonnyrigg started like a train, forcing goalkeeper Craig Nelson into a fumble in the opening five minutes.
Brechin were proving dangerous, though, with Andy Jackson hitting the side-netting from a good position.
Bonnyrigg took the lead in the 22nd minute through Sean Grady. The ball was played up to him in the right-wing position and he drove along the bye line before drilling the ball goalwards. It took a slight deflection and found its way into the net.
Rose almost doubled that lead only a couple of minutes later when Grady and Kris Renton tore the Brechin defence apart before Nelson smothered Renton’s effort.
Kevin McLeish then had a free-kick scrape the post as Bonnyrigg piled on the pressure up to the half-time whistle.
Bonnyrigg came out for the second half expecting Brechin to up their game but it was Renton who had a great chance to double their lead only for Nelson in the Brechin goal to deny him again.
Bonnyrigg were due a second goal and it came just on the hour mark from Renton. Grady was played in down the left wing where he turned his marker before chipping the ball to the back post where Renton rose unchallenged to head home from five yards.
Bonnyrigg were in charge of the game and were reducing Brechin to just a few chances. It looked as if the only way the hosts would score would be courtesy of individual errors and that’s how it proved in the 75th minute. A long, lazy cross was played into the heart of the Bonnyrigg box which goalkeeper Michael Burgess came for. Instead of punching, however, he decided to catch the ball but it slipped through his gloves to the feet of Brechin striker Jackson, who gleefully rolled the ball into the empty net.
Brechin were lifted by the goal and piled the pressure on Bonnyrigg. With ten minutes left, they were level after an own goal by David Dunn. A low cross from the right wing looked to be a keeper’s ball but Dunn stretched out his foot to divert the ball into the net.
Brechin were going for it now and Brechin boss Ray McKinnon sent on all his subs in an all-out effort to get a winner. In the dying minutes, Bonnyrigg keeper Burgess redeemed himself with a tremendous save from Jackson to deny Brechin a third goal.
Brechin boss McKinnon laid praise on the visitors, saying: “Fair play to Bonnyrigg. They came out the traps quicker than us. All credit to our lads, though. They came back from two goals down and are still in the Cup. I’m a bit disappointed in our performance but the lads stuck in against a very good Bonnyrigg side.”
Grady, scorer of Rose’s first goal said: “We came up here as massive underdogs but I think we showed we are here on merit. If we could have kept the two-goal lead for another five minutes then I think we would have won the game. We came here as a good team and we go away as a good team and get another crack at them on Saturday.”
Brechin City: Nelson, McLean, Brown, Hay, Moyes, Brady (Lowdon), Trouten, Malloy (J Stewart), Jackson, Byrne, McKenna (Carcary). Subs: R Stewart, Andrews.
Bonnyrigg Rose: Burgess, McLeish, Roseburgh, Dunn, Woodburn, Burrell, King, McKenna, Archibald, Grady, Renton. Subs: Thomson, Hamilton, Noble, Hendrie, Ellison.