Stirling University 0
Bonnyrigg Rose 1
Bonnyrigg are into the pot for the third round of the Scottish Cup following a terrific win at unbeaten Stirling University thanks to a scrambled header from striker Kris Renton with ten minutes remaining.
This was always going to be a difficult tie for East Region Junior champions Bonnyrigg who were facing the East of Scotland League Senior champions. That was the reality facing Bonnyrigg boss Max Christie on Saturday so to win away from home against such an in-from team was a delight for him and his players.
Key to victory was an early penalty save by Bonnyrigg’s Michael Burgess from Chris Geddes.
Christie said: “It was a great result for us. They are a really good footballing side who like to play the ball about. We didn’t have the best of the first half but we did our homework and it paid off when Michael saved the penalty. Steve Ellison had seen Geddes take a penalty before and knew he would hit it to Michael’s left and he had a great save to keep them out.
“The second half we played the game in their half and probably should have scored more. We huffed and puffed a wee bit and I wondered if we were going to score but then we did and could have scored a couple more. It’s a great result for the club because the third round can be a money spinner.”
Stirling started the game well, passing their way deep into the Bonnyrigg half and they were rewarded with a penalty for handball in the sixth minute. Geddes stepped up but Burgess dived down to his left and pushed the ball out for a corner. There was a lot of silky soccer being played by Stirling and time and again they carved Bonnyrigg part. However scoring chances were few and any that did manage to penetrate a solid Bonnyrigg defence were handled comfortably by Burgess in goal. On the half hour a mistimed tackle by Stephen Thomson saw him suffer a fractured cheekbone in two places and he had to be taken off in agony. Substitute Kris Renton took over as Christie hastily rearranged his line-up.
Bonnyrigg began the second half looking a better balanced team and now it was their turn to play the silky soccer. They had long spells of pressure in the Stirling half and it was keeper Kevin Walker who kept them at bay with a series of good saves.
Something had to break though and in the 70th minute it did. Stirling full back Jack Nixon was booked twice in the space of five minutes and was red carded.
A goal had to come and it arrived with ten minutes to go. From a corner taken by Stuart Roseburgh the ball was cleared straight up into the air. It came down on the goal line into a ruck of players and Renton rose to scramble a header over the line.
Renton said: “We were up against it in the first half. But I think we deserved to win the game on our second-half performance. We stopped them playing and stepped up a gear ourselves. We’re in the third round and a draw away at Ibrox would be great for the club and the players but a game against a club where we could do something would be just as good. The goal was a bit scrambled but they all count.”
Stirling boss Eddie May said: “This is the first time the University have been in the Scottish Cup and we’re disappointed to be knocked out at this stage. Credit to Bonnyrigg though because we had the first half and didn’t score while they had the second half and did score.”
Burgess earned a £5 bonus from long time supporter Danny Potter who donates the money for the keeper every time he keeps a clean sheet. There was a party atmosphere from the Bonnyrigg supporters helped no doubt by the club donating financial support towards the cost of the buses.
Stirling University: Walker, Nixon, McKee, Atkins, Drummond, Nichol, Mason (Burns), Robertson, Geddes, Corr, Sludden (Sutherland). Subs: Marshall, Dale, Pearson.
Bonnyrigg Rose: Burgess, McLeish, Sp Thomson (Renton), Dunn, Woodburn, Burrell, King (McKenna), Sv Thomson, Archibald, Grady, Roseburgh. Subs: Hendrie, Noble, Ellison.