Newtongrange Star boss Alan Miller felt referee Alan Hogg cost his side all three points in the Midlothian derby as his men dropped back to second in the Super League.
Miller was left furious at full time as he lambasted referee Hogg for getting “two major decisions wrong”.
Bonnyrigg, who came into the derby rejuvenated and looking for their sixth straight win since the departure of manager Max Christie, took the lead in controversial circumstances.
Striker Steven Hislop appeared to have headed the ball into the net on 12 minutes but, from the vociferous appeals by Nitten goalkeeper Keiron Renton and several others, it suggested that he may have handled.
Miller didn’t hold back in his assessment of Hogg’s display and was forthright on his views of Hislop’s opener. He said: “For a match of this scale to get a referee like Alan Hogg, he was ridiculously poor.
“The two major decisions in the game he got wrong; Steven Hislop punched the ball into the net and he should’ve red carded Darren Smith who had a deliberate kick at Michael Deland. It’s just ridiculous; the standard of refereeing is just unbelievably bad.”
Newtongrange midfielder Chris King might have won the game for the home side on his own however, had he been more clinical in front of goal.
King left Bonnyrigg keeper David Hay stranded after just seven minutes after rounding him, but he didn’t hit his strike hard enough and defender Shaun Woodburn cleared off the line. Then, in the second half, King sent a header off the bar from just six yards out when it seemed easier to score.
After Hislop opened the scoring for Rose from Connor Thomson’s corner, Bonnyrigg were unlucky not to increase their lead with two chances shortly after. Winger Thomson shot inches wide of Renton’s right-hand post, before Blair Henderson, on the back of a hat-trick last weekend, stung the palms of Renton with a fierce strike after 17 minutes.
Newtongrange left back Deland looked the home side’s biggest threat with several rampaging runs down the left wing, but after doing the hard work to evade his marker, the final delivery was missing.
When the home side did get decent delivery into the box, there weren’t any takers. Sean Jamieson drove a low cross into the danger area, but Woodburn got in front of striker Kris Renton to clear and then Renton himself did the same, but Jordan Cropley couldn’t connect at the back post.
Nitten had fired the warning shots before they levelled on 56 minutes. Midfielder Craig Thomson saw his strike saved, while Cropley’s goal-bound effort was clawed away by Hay.
Bonnyrigg were living dangerously and it was no surprise when Star struck. Jamieson did well to get a cross into the area and Renton rifled home.
The home side looked more likely to go on and win the game, with Bonnyrigg failing to create as many opportunities as they had in the first period.
Midfield man Gary Cherrie’s effort from the edge of the box looked set for the top corner of Hay’s net, but the former Linlithgow Rose stopper did well to reach up and push wide for a corner on 64 minutes.
King then headed off the bar from Jamieson’s cross, before Bonnyrigg’s only effort in the second half was headed wide by substitute striker Jonathan Court. Another Bonnyrigg sub, Smith, was lucky not to be shown a straight red card after he brought down Deland with a scything tackle – catching the defender on the knee as he looked to break down the wing, but was just given a yellow for the offence.
Bonnyrigg manager David McGlynn felt a point each was a fair reflection on the match, while admitting that Hislop had handled for the goal. “It was a handball so they say,” he said.
“It’s one of those things – you’d take them for you, but it’s not something you’d encourage anybody to do and we got away with it. A draw was probably a fair result.”
Newtongrange: Renton, Gillon, Deland, Tolmie, Dunn, Thomson, Jamieson, Cherrie, Renton, C King (M King), Cropley.
Bonnyrigg: Hay, Horne, Archibald, Stewart (Carse), Wilson, Woodburn, Whitson (Smith), McLeish, Henderson, Thomson, Hislop (Court).