Bonnyrigg Rose boss Robbie Horn believes Kelty Hearts will be their main challengers as they bid to retain the Super League title.
The New Dundas Park outfit secured a massive three points away to fellow championship hopefuls Bo’ness United to maintain their battle with Kelty at the top of the table.
The champions suffered a defeat in a badly-tempered encounter the last time they visited Newtown Park which ended their long unbeaten run, but they were far to strong for Bo’ness who were lucky to only concede three.
Goals from strike duo Keiran McGachie and Sean Jamieson had the visitors flying inside 20 minutes and Horn felt they should’ve put the game out of sight before the break.
“The first part of the game we were well in control and we could’ve found ourselves two or three goals up,” said Horn. “We had them on the rack and could’ve put the game to bed early in the first half.
“The game changed with their goal right before half-time and in the second half we had to dig in in spells. They came back in the game and they came back strong. They were very direct in the second half, but we saw in through. It’s a great result and a great three points.”
With Kelty beating Linlithgow Rose 2-0 to make it eight victories in succession, it will be a tough ask for any side to dislodge them off top spot.
Horn continued: “We want as many teams as possible to be challenging to really push Kelty because it looks like they are going to be really, really strong. We need to take care of business ourselves as well and we’ve done that since the first game and we’re on another winning run.”
Bo’ness were struggling to cope in the early stages as Rose came flying out the traps. Jamieson should’ve fired them ahead inside the first minute when put through, but Stuart Hunter got back just in time to nick the ball away.
McGachie displayed ruthlessness when presented with his first opportunity after four minutes. However, Andrew Kidd drilled a low ball right into the big striker’s path and the former Motherwell youngster crashed a first time shot into the top corner.
Jamieson and the majority of the visiting support thought he had made it two on 12 minutes when he got on the end of Lewis Turner’s ball into the area.
His header looked set for the far corner, only for Darren Jamieson to claw it away with a spectacular stop and McGachie struck the post on the rebound.
The Rose strike duo were causing no end of problems for the BUs and when presented with his next chance, Jamieson made no mistake. Kidd’s ball in wasn’t dealt with and Jamieson needed no invitation as he pounced from three yards out.
The home side were on the ropes for much of the first half but they pulled one back to give themselves a glimmer of hope before the interval. Ruari MacLennan found Hunter at the back post and his header across goal was prodded home by Fraser Keast.
Bo’ness improved after the interval, but despite dominating territory they didn’t breach a resilient rearguard to trouble visiting keeper Michael Andrews.
Kidd showed how it was done with an inch perfect through ball which split the Bo’ness defence for McGachie to latch onto. He wasn’t going to squander the chance as he motored in on Jamieson, although the on-loan Hamilton Accies stopper did get a hand to the shot.
The home side ensured a nervy finish for Rose when substitute Marty Wright smashed in Snowdown’s cut back on 83 minutes.
Horn moved to a back five to preserve their one-goal advantage but they really should have extended it when McGachie fashioned a chance for himself to secure his hat-trick but his strike was straight at Jamieson.
Rose now turn their attention to Saturday’s visit to Highland League side Turriff United in the first round of the William Hill Scottish cup and Horn can’t wait .
“It’s a massive game for the club,” he said. “It’ll be a great experience for everybody – it’s just a bit different going up on a Friday night, it feels like you are a professional football club all of a sudden.
“If we perform like how we can do there’s no reason why we can’t go up there and get a result. It’s going to be incredibly difficult, but we’ll give it our best shot.”
Bo’ness United: Jamieson, Gemmell, Snowdon, Campbell, Hunter, Ruari MacLennan, Keast, Philp, Strickland (Walker), Sloan, Roddy MacLennan (Wright).
Bonnyrigg Rose: Andrews, Horne, Donaldson, Stewart, Hoskins, Young, Jamieson (McLaren), Turner, McGachie, Nelson (Moyes), Kidd (Brown).