Haddington boss Bonar reckons title race will go down to the wire

East Lothian derby as third meet fourth in the East of Scotland Premier Division
Haddington Athletic boss Scott Bonar says his players are constantly improvingHaddington Athletic boss Scott Bonar says his players are constantly improving
Haddington Athletic boss Scott Bonar says his players are constantly improving

Haddington Athletic boss Scott Bonar says his side must be more ruthless in front of goal if they wish to challenge at the top end of the league.

The Hi-His host Musselburgh Athletic at Millfield Park this afternoon on the back of two losses to Sauchie and Broxburn Athletic, with Bonar feeling his side deserved to take something from both matches.

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Bonar is looking for a 90-minute performance when Liam Burns’ side visit and has urged his players to be more patient in possession.

“I was pleased with how we played against Broxburn, it wasn’t like they came and we were nowhere near them, we were the better team and we played some great football,” said Bonar.

“In the second half it was just all us and I think they would admit that themselves. We just aren’t taking our chances; even against Sauchie we should have been three or four one up at halftime. To be fair, I took responsibility for the second half, because I kept the same shape, and they were getting on top of us.

“We keep improving, it is gradually bringing it all together and I can see they will kick on again.

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“They are maturing. What I am trying to get into them just now is to be more composed, keep the ball and be in control of possession. When they are young, they can be quite erratic and they think they need to score every time they have the ball, which causes poor decision making.”

Today’s windy conditions aren’t conducive to attractive football, but Bonar still wants his side to try and play.

He continued: “It’s a massive game. Musselburgh are doing well. I know they also had a bit of a setback on Wednesday as well but that just shows how hard the league is, you can’t take anything for granted. Even though we have lost our last two games we are still sitting in fourth – you win another game and you are right back in it.

“It will be lottery with the wind. I still want them to keep the ball on the deck. Derbies are always a battle but what I want to see is them competing for the 90 minutes. There has been a couple of games where they have done really well for a half then been complacent or started slow, and it’s maybe killed us a wee bit.”

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League leaders Broxburn Athletic are four points clear at the top of the table and host Hutchison Vale at Albyn Park. Linlithgow Rose secured the title with a nine point gap last season, but Bonar reckons it will be a lot closer.

He added: “I think whoever wins the league will lose a right few games, you could lose about seven or eight and still win the league. It won’t be like a Linlithgow, I don’t think any team will run away with it this year, it will be a lot closer, because there is so many teams that can compete, it’s probably harder than the Lowland League to be honest.”

Elsewhere, second place Dunbar United host Penicuik Athletic, who are without a win in three games. Tynecastle are away to Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts.