Bo’ness in seventh heaven after early scare

Four-goal hero Chris Donnelly, far left, is hailed after putting his side on easy street against Culter
Four-goal hero Chris Donnelly, far left, is hailed after putting his side on easy street against Culter
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Captain marvel Chris Donnelly hit a first half hat-trick as Bo’ness eased through to the third round of the William Hill Scottish Cup with a thumping victory over their North Super League counterparts.

BUs manager Allan McGonigal had spoken of a potentially nervy tie at Newtown Park in his programme notes – urging the home support to be patient if things didn’t go their way, but apart from the opening five minutes, this was the most comfortable afternoon the Super League champions will have all season.

After conceding an early goal, the BUs hit seven without reply and striker Donnelly, whoe scored four, felt the early setback was perhaps significant.

He said: “It was a bad start to be fair, we just never defended it. It was maybe the wake-up call we needed to get going. After we went 3-1 up there wasn’t really any doubt after that.”

The draw for the third round will be made this afternoon and with Rangers and five other Scottish Championship clubs in the hat Bo’ness could be handed a money-spinning tie.

Donnelly would prefer a non-league outfit at home or a team outwith the Championship, but believes they’ll give anyone a game on their own park.

He said: “I’d prefer a team you could compete against – we’d take anyone in the third division (League Two). We know most teams won’t fancy coming down here and we know if we play we’ll be a match for some of those teams.”

Bo’ness were found wanting as Culter went ahead after just four minutes.

A seemingly innocuous free-kick was awarded wide on the right, with Jamie Cromar’s best option simply to flight the ball into the box and hope for a deflection. However, his curled set-piece evaded everyone in a packed penalty early to end up in the back of Mark Peat’s net.

The response from Bo’ness was admirable as they threw themselves at the North champions. After Darren Gribben and Ross Philp has both come close to levelling, Donnelly got the equaliser on 12 minutes.

Gribben’s low cross found its way between goalkeeper and defender, and the home No. 9 slid in to toe-poke home.

The visitors could hardly pause for breath as Bo’ness continued to up the ante and it wasn’t long until they took the lead. Ex-Jambo Robert Sloan’s piercing through ball put in Gribben and he let the ball bounce before swinging his right boot to send a half-volley into the bottom corner past keeper Barry Thompson.

Five minutes later and it was three. Philp and Scott Pittman exchanged a one-two going into the Culter penalty area, before the former had his strike saved, but Donnelly was there to slam home the rebound.

Culter were being run ragged now as Bo’ness continued to dominate and it wasn’t long before Donnelly got his hands on the match ball. The North champions were struggling to cope with the BUs’ short quick passing – Will Snowdon this time putting Donnelly through after neat build-up play in the middle of the park, and the striker finished with aplomb.

That wasn’t all the goal action for the first half however, as the rampant BUs made it five on the stroke of half-time. Gribben’s pace had posed problems already for Culter and he strode clear once more, before disposing of Paul Murphy’s pass with an exquisite lob.

Donnelly had the ball in the net once more on 59 minutes as Bo’ness looked to continue their dominance in the second-half, but he was offside.

Manager Allan McGonigal made substitutions to freshen things up as the home side began to take their foot off the gas a little, and it wasn’t until the final few minutes that they increased their lead further.

Winger Nicky Walker made an enterprising run down wide left before cutting the ball back for Kieran Anderson to fire home on 89 minutes. Walker got himself a goal just a minute later when, after rounding the keeper, he finished emphatically into the empty net.

Bo’ness United: Peat, Snowdon, Devine (Hunter), Murphy, Leiper, Sloan (Nimmo), Walker, Philp, Donnelly (Anderson), Pittman, Gribben.

Culter: Thompson, Smyth (Smith), Sim, Thomson, Crisp, McArthur (Heads), Leith, Shand, Gordon, Taylor, Cromar.