Bo’ness United boss Allan McGonigal bemoaned his side’s carelessness in the final third as they missed out on the opportunity to go three points clear at the top of the Super League.
The BUs had hoped to take advantage of title rivals Bonnyrigg Rose and Kelty Hearts both being on cup duty to stretch clear at the top but they had to settle for a point as Musselburgh scored a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
Burgh could even have stolen all three points but a fine save from home keeper Scott Christie denied visiting striker Sean Jamieson when he was clean through.
Bo’ness are therefore just one point clear of Bonnyrigg at the league summit but have played three more games and McGonigal reckons their title rivals will be boosted by the result.
“I would think they would all take a wee lift out of that, especially with us being at home – they were probably expecting us to win and we were expecting to win,” he said. “Hey ho, there will be twists and turns all the way through the season I’m sure, we’ve just got make sure we hang in there at the moment. We’ve gone from an experienced team to a younger team, but that’s what we’ve got to work with and that’s what we’re going to do.
“I thought we had enough possession of the ball in the final third of the park, but for whatever reason, it was one of those days where we seemed to pick the wrong options and allowed them to counter attack. It was one of those times that they got lucky and got the goal, then Scott had to make a fantastic save to give us a point at the end of the day because we could’ve lost the game.
“For a game that we dominated and had so much possession, it’s a bit disappointing.”
Marty Wright had the ball in the back of the net for the home side in the opening minutes but his strike was ruled out for being offside. Steven Thomson then carved out a great opportunity for the visitors. Cutting back from the byeline team-mate Jed Davie was poised to fire home, but Nicky Walker nipped in to cut out for a corner.
Scott Gibson then headed off the line from Wright’s header as the home side raced up to the other end.
Robert Sloan was causing problems with his delivery out wide and from corner kicks and his ball to the back post was met by defender Stuart Hunter but Burgh keeper Murray Jackson, replacing John Dodds who was out with the flu, palmed wide.
Sloan then cracked a free-kick off the bar from 25 yards with Jackson beaten as the home side ranked up the pressure.
The opening goal arrived four minutes before the break, Sloan’s corner again causing problems inside the visiting box and Hunter pounced to head home.
The second half was a dour affair with little chances for either side until the match sprung back into life with 15 minutes remaining.
Thomson curled a free-kick over the wall which Christie caught well before the striker fired Burgh level after a well-worked team move. Great build-up play involving Thomson and substitute Sean Pacliczka ended with youngster Jack Wright crossing deep for Thomson, who fired across goal and into the far corner of the net.
Thomson then put Jamieson clean through with a delightful reverse pass midway inside the home half with eight minutes remaining. You’d have backed Burgh’s top goalscorer to dispatch the opportunity any day of the week, but Christie spread himself to make the stop.
Bo’ness pushed for a winner in the final stages with captain Chris Donnelly moved forward but they couldn’t break through a resilient Burgh rearguard who didn’t give the home attack an inch all afternoon.
Musselburgh boss Stevie McLeish thought his side were deserving of a point as they matched the league leaders for 90 minutes. He said: “As a squad we really needed that. It showed that we’re up there with the big boys, we matched them every step of the way.
“I thought our goal was what we are all about. It was a fantastic move and a good finish as well. We showed that we can match them and we’ve become a team to be reckoned with again. I don’t think we’ll win it [the league] but we’ll have a right say in it.”
Bo’ness United: Christie, Snowdon, Sloan, Campbell, Hunter, Simpson (Nimmo), Walker (Morrison), Philp, Eddington (Robb), Donnelly, Wright.
Musselburgh Athletic: Jackson, Myles, Hamilton, Gibson, McLeish, Jamieson, Thomson, Davie, Bracks (Paliczka), Wright, McKenna.