High winds and driving rain in Penicuik weren’t enough to prevent Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic Under-21s from lifting the SERYFA William Johnston Cup after a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Tranent Juniors.
A torrential downpour greeted the players as they headed out for the kick-off and the weather went on to have a large role in the game as the league’s top two sides gave it their all in this compelling match.
Top-of-the-table Bonnyrigg started the brighter of the teams and were able to combat the dreich conditions to take an early lead when Scott Finlayson nodded in an unmissable chance after just three minutes. A long ball to the back post from Jordan Lister was knocked across the face of the goal for Finlayson to finish with the Tranent defence nowhere to be found.
It was to be the story of the first half as Tranent Juniors struggled to gain any sort of foothold in the game. Goalkeeper Ross McMullen epitomised his team’s problems with a number of close escapes throughout the first half as both the opposition strikers and treacherous weather threatened to get the best of him. Tranent’s best chance of the half came against the run of play when a deflected free kick almost looped up over Bonnyrigg keeper Andrew McQueen, but the Belters’ hopes were dashed as the ball zipped over the bar.
As the players returned to the pitch for the second half the rain mercifully subsided. And whatever Tranent manager Blair Glynn said to his boys at half-time worked as his charges started the second period with much more intent. First, Robert Berry rose unmarked to glance a header past the left-hand post but the shot went wide.
They didn’t have to wait long for an equaliser though as Alexander Christie directed a well-placed header past McQueen in the Rose net. A great cross to the far post left the goalkeeper with little chance to prevent the match from becoming all square.
That goal lifted both teams as the game really kicked in to life. The rain continued to abate and both teams were able to move the ball with much more fluidity although Tranent looked the most likely to take the lead with a number of half chances coming and going.
As Bonnyrigg fought for a way out of the pressure a moment of individual brilliance gave them an unlikely lead. Darren Flynn controlled the ball 25 yards out from the Tranent goal before turning his marker and bending a great strike into the top left corner.
The goal changed the game and it became a feisty affair with Bonnyrigg’s Jonathan Kelly and Tranent goalscorer Christie booked following Kelly’s poorly timed challenge.
Tranent were unable to create any realistic chances despite pushing both wing backs further up the field. In the end it was that extra space afforded to the Bonnyrigg strikers which ended the match as a contest.
A poor pass out of defence from Tranent captain Steven Glynn allowed Finlayson to take possession and pick out Sean Patterson in the box with a great pass who shot to the keeper’s left to bring home the trophy for the Rose.
Rose club Secretary Ian Robertson, speaking on behalf of his side’s manager, was quick to praise his young team: “It was a really hard game for the lads and I think they just about edged it. Darren’s goal was a cracker and changed the game.”
Tranent Manager Blair Glynn was just as devastated as his defeated players: “The weather stopped us playing in the first and their second goal changed the whole tie. We’ll keep working and hopefully finish the season strongly.”
Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic ‘A’: Andrew McQueen, William Lunn, Richard Ramsay, Greig Callaghan, Glen Marshall, Sean Patterson, Jordan Listen, Jordan Scott Bain, Darren Flynn, Scott Finlayson, Jonathan Kelly Subs: John Callaghan, Dean Birrell, Stephen Ferguson, Calumn Hunter.
Tranent Juniors: Ross McMullen, Andrew Horne, Blair Murray, Alexander Christie, Steven Glynn, Craig Wojtowyck, Robert Berry, Robbie Mason, David Ross, Mark Moncrieff, Kenny Hall Subs: Anton McKillop, Michael Porteous, Cameron Reynolds, Ryan Hall, Rory Fleming.