Bonnyrigg Rose player-assistant Neil Janczyk set his sights on catching Super League leaders Linlithgow Rose after they claimed the bragging rights with a 3-2 home win over Penicuik in the Midlothian derby.
David White’s side closed the gap at the top to two points, although they did it the hard way after twice going behind, while they were awarded a controversial goal with video replays proving inconclusive as to whether the ball had crossed the line.
Former Hearts star Janczyk was introduced after just half an hour against his former club in a bid to change their fortunes and he was instrumental in their comeback as he orchestrated play from the middle of the park.
“The first half wasn’t great. We were just happy to get in at half-time at two each,” said the 34-year-old. “We changed the shape a wee bit early doors; we identified it wasn’t working and that helped us.
“We got the ball down a wee bit more in the second half. I think shooting into the wind is a wee bit easier because the ball just runs away from you when you’ve got the wind behind you.
“We played with a high line in the second half because we knew everything was going to run through to Bry [Bryan Young, goalkeeper] or run out for a bye kick.
“It’s up to him [White], he gets the final decision but I was itching to get on anyway. It was good to get on and I maybe brought a wee bit more composure into the game, trying to play a bit more.
“It’s a good win because they’re a good side – they’ve got a lot of energy in the team so it’s a great three points. It sets us up nicely going into the new year to kick on and hopefully catch Lithgae.”
Despite playing into the wind in the opening period, Penicuik were dominant and could have been three goals to the good after just ten minutes.
Eager to get off to a good start, their opener arrived in the first minute. Aaron Somerville went down in the area under a Dean Brett challenge and referee Duncan Smith immediately pointed to the spot, with Somerville dispatching the spot-kick.
The Cuikie striker then glanced a header wide from an Andy Forbes cross with Rose still startled from the early blow, before Sean Jamieson teed him up and he shot just wide from the edge of the box.
Rose hadn’t given Penicuik goalkeeper Kyle Allison a save to make in the opening half an hour with striker Keiran McGachie hooked for Janczyk as the home side changed things up.
Allison could do nothing to prevent Rose equalising on 34 minutes as Lee Currie’s free-kick from 30 yards with a gust of wind behind it almost took the net clean off.
Johnny Harvey’s men regained their lead four minutes before the break when Lewis Barr turned in Scott McCrory-Irving’s cross at the front post.
Their advantage was cancelled out almost immediately, however, as Allison flapped at a corner in the wind and Forbes made a desperate bid to clear, but Smith ruled the ball had gone in.
Penicuik never really recovered from that and while they had looked the better side in the first half, their attacking momentum fizzled out after the break with the home side in control.
They got what proved to be the winner on the hour mark when right-back Brett lashed into the far corner from just inside the box.
Harvey’s side might have got an equaliser five minutes from time as substitute Lumbert Kateleza marauded down the left and cut back for Sam Jones but he prodded the ball well wide.
Penicuik boss Harvey was left deflated after seeing his side dominate for long spells but come away with nothing.
He said: “I maybe need to look at myself because I’m getting frustrated with being the better team but not getting the results. It’s something we maybe need to look at collectively.
“I like what Bonnyrigg have got – they’ve got that never-say-die attitude and they always keep coming back, but do they play the football that we play? Not in my opinion and that’s what disappoints me.
“I’d prefer to be the winning side rather than the best footballing side. I want to be ruthless and winning big games – there’s no doubt about it, that was one of the biggest games of the season and we’re on the wrong side of the result.”
Bonnyrigg Rose: B Young, Brett, Martyniuk, K Young, Moyes, Horne, Gray (Nelson), Currie, McGachie (Janczyk), Lough, McIntosh (McConnell).
Penicuik Athletic: Allison, Forbes, MacDonald, Hume, Young, Barr, McCrory-Irving (Kateleza), Jones, Jamieson, Somerville, Ponton.