Musselburgh Athletic 0
Bo’ness United 1
MUSSELBURGH boss David McGlynn today reflected on a “cruel” defeat for his side as Super League champions Bo’ness ground out a 1-0 win.
An early Kevin Watt strike was enough for the visitors, but they had to hang on grimly as ten men ’Burgh fought back to try and grab a share of the points.
The result leaves Musselburgh in relegation danger and McGlynn admitted: “Football can be a cruel game. We played for an hour with ten men and dominated the game, so to finish with nothing after a display like that was very cruel.”
Bo’ness came to Olivebank needing a win to maintain their chances of retaining the championship, and boss Paul Ronald set his side up without the experienced captain Will Snowdon in the starting line-up.
The honour of captain for the day fell to Nicky Walker, who was playing his 100th game for the club.
Bo’ness struck the only goal in the seventh minute. Musselburgh lost the ball in midfield and new Bo’ness signing Darren Gribben played a good ball through to Watt, who steadied himself before firing past the keeper for an early lead.
The visitors then huffed and puffed without causing Musselburgh any real problems before Musselburgh were reduced to ten men in the 34th minute when Steve Noble was booked for a second time.
Instead of weakening, the home side, the sending-off appeared to galvanise them. Paul Tansey was pulled back briefly to cover for the departing Noble and was immense at the back. His running and defensive cover kept the Bo’ness strikers at bay. The only chance the visitors had was another Gribben strike which brought out the best in home goalkeeper Ally Adams.
Into the second half and Musselburgh took heart from the first and pushed Tansey forward again. They took the game to Bo’ness and pressed hard for an equaliser. Tansey was working his socks off looking for that vital breakthrough and was linking well with striker Kris Renton, who was causing havoc every time he got the ball.
Tansey had a 35-yard strike which forced Bo’ness keeper Scott Christie into action. Bo’ness had their chances as well, though, with Steve Canning hitting the woodwork and Scott Gibb seeing the follow-up scrambled off the line.
But there were no more goals as the 11 men of Bo’ness held out for the win.
Should Bo’ness retain the title they will look back on this game as one of the most important wins of the season. They had to grind out this result and they will play better and be beaten.
So the pressure at the top continues. Linlithgow are seeing their lead at the top disappearing quickly as Hill Of Beath, Bonnyrigg and Bo’ness all gather behind them. This season the fight for the title looks like going to the wire.
Bo’ness manager Paul Ronald wasn’t happy with his team. “That was a shocking display from us,” he said. “We didn’t get a grip of the game all afternoon. The only good thing is we won the game and the points, but we can’t play like that again this season.
“It was an ugly game for us. Lots of things didn’t work, but I couldn’t put my finger on anything in particular. They probably worked harder than us and we can take nothing from the game in performance terms. All the credit would have to go to Musselburgh.”
Musselburgh boss McGlynn added: “If we play like that every time I’m confident we will be safe.”
Musselburgh Athletic: Adams, Burns, Noble, Shand, Gibson, Gordon, Murray (Morgan), Russell (Miller), Kr Renton, Currie, Tansey. Subs: King, Hamilton, Ke Renton.
Bo’ness United: Christie, Shields, Bonnar, Gibb, Reilly, Duffy (Nimmo), Walker, Canning, Gribben (Stewart), Watt (Harvey), Donnelly. Subs: Hamilton, Snowdon, Plenderleith, Allen.