Bo’ness ace hopes Lochee can be Hearts breakers

Musselburgh's Darren Smith feels the full force of a challenge by Bo'ness United's Ian Nimmo. Pic: Jon Savage
Musselburgh's Darren Smith feels the full force of a challenge by Bo'ness United's Ian Nimmo. Pic: Jon Savage
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Bo’ness striker Mark Cowan is hoping Lochee United can spring a surprise against league leaders Kelty Hearts next Saturday to put their Super League title destiny back in their own hands.

The former Hearts youngster struck a last minute winner to complete a fantastic comeback for the reigning champions and keep their title bid alive for another week, after they had gone down to ten men before Musselburgh pulled level and then edged in front.

Kelty, who are nine points clear of the BUs at the top of the table, bounced back from last week’s loss to their challengers, to record a 3-0 victory over Camelon – a result which means they just need a point in their final game of the season against Lochee this Saturday to secure their first ever Super League crown.

But, Cowan isn’t ready to concede the title yet, he said: “Hopefully Lochee can do us a favour next Saturday. We’ve got to keep going, win our next two games and claw a few goals back and we might still win it – stranger things have happened.”

Cowan’s 90th minute winner sparked wild celebrations amongst the large visiting support and on the pitch with his team-mates, which highlighted the fighting spirit within the group after they had refused to be beaten.

“It was a great way to win it,” he said. “It was two yards out and that’s the easiest goal I’ve scored in a while, but I’m happy with that.

“I thought we were struggling a bit when we went down to ten men, but we done well to come back and get the win.

“It says a lot about the fight in the team. It was the same on Wednesday against Newtongrange when we went down to ten and came back, but fortunately it went the other way this time.”

As Burgh continue to prepare for their Scottish Junior Cup final against Auchinleck Talbot next month, manager Stevie McLeish opted to give some of his fringe players a run out in their sixth match in 14 days, with youngsters Ewan Ralton and Jed Davie handed starting berths.

It was the home side, with little to play for in the league, who came closest to opening the scoring however. Striker Jordyn Sheerin controlled Jackie Myles’ lobbed ball onto his chest before sending a volley towards goal which nicked off the post.

Darren Gribben was then inches away for the visitors with a long range effort after home keeper Ally Adams was caught off his line, but he made sure after 24 minutes.

Nicky Walker freed the striker on the right and he powered his strike across Adams and into the far corner.

Gribben then almost turned provider for Walker, after his cut back from the byline found Walker in the penalty area, but his side-footed effort was gathered easily by Adams.

Burgh, who were without first choice centre-back Robert Wilson through injury, lost his regular partner Andrew Munro towards the end of the first half, with youngster Kyle Doig, usually a midfielder, thrown in at the heart of the defence.

The visitors were pushing for a second goal before the break and Adams had to be alert to push over Gribben’s effort which looked set to sneak in under the crossbar.

At the other end, defender Colin Leiper denied Davie’s goalbound effort which had beaten goalkeeper Mark Peat.

Burgh were awarded a penalty early in the second half after Ross Campbell brought down Lewis Turner as he was about to strike into an empty net, with substitute keeper Connor Wallace and Myles having clashed when challenging in the air.

Campbell was shown a red-card for denying what would’ve been a certain goal and Sheerin converted for his 39th goal of the season.

The home side capitalised on their man advantage when striker Steven Thomson curled in a lovely strike from the edge of the box with his left foot after Darren Smith had fed him from midfield.

Burgh began to sit deep with their lead and this invited pressure onto them as Bo’ness sought to keep aspirations of the title alive for another week at least.

Leiper levelled on 81 minutes with a thundering header from Gribben’s corner, before substitute Cowan popped up to convert from two yards out from Ross Philp’s knockdown.

Musselburgh Athletic: Adams, Myles, Hamilton, Smith, Beveridge, Thomson, Sheerin, Russell (Hunter), Ralton (Turner), Davie, Munro (Doig).

Bo’ness United: Peat (Wallace), Murphy, Sloan, Campbell, Leiper, Nimmo, Walker, Philp, Anderson (Cowan), Donnelly, Gribben (Alexander).