Bonnyrigg Rose boss Robbie Horn agreed his team weren’t at their best as they beat Tranent 2-0 at home but hailed his players for their grit and determination as they stretched their lead at the top of Conference B to seven points.
Rose, despite going 2-0 ahead inside eight minutes, were second best for much of the afternoon as the visitors fought back without troubling home goalkeeper Michael Andrews enough.
With a seven point lead and a game in hand, Bonnyrigg are well in control of Conference B and it would be a shock were they not to go on and claim the title. “I thought in the first half we were in control of the game. The conditions were difficult; the pitch was very very heavy so it wasn’t conducive to good football,” said Horn. “We were 2-0 up and comfortable in the first half and we had another couple of good chances to put the game to bed.
“When it stays at 2-0 it becomes tight, but to be fair, I don’t think they really had a clearcut chance in the second half – they had a couple of headers but we dealt with them. We weren’t at our best but at the same time we had boys playing with colds – some of them weren’t 100 per cent – and they dug in and showed a bit of character. When you want to win leagues you’ve got to show character and get a result, and that’s what we did.
“A lot of the guys had to pick themselves up out of their sick beds to come and play. I thought we tired a wee bit in the second half but we did our job and it’s a massive three points.
“When you are out in front it’s up to other teams to catch you. Teams are hoping we will drop points but we are not doing it. I just keep saying to the boys ‘keep winning’.”
The hosts couldn’t have got off to a better start.
Lee Currie got the opener after being fed by striker Keiran McGachie, with his shot taking a deflection off defender Ciaran McKenzie on it’s route to goal, the ball looping up and over goalkeeper Sinclair Inglis.
Dean Brett should have made it two just a minute later as he side footed wide at the back post from Kerr Young’s cross, but the home supporters didn’t have to wait too long for number two. Ian Black was ruled to have brought down McGachie in the area and Dean Hoskins stepped up, sending Inglis the wrong way.
Tranent could easily have let their heads drop and end up on the end of another heavy defeat – the last meeting between the clubs several months ago seeing Rose net eight. But they were spirited in their response, going on to compete well for the remainder of the first half with striker Mark McGovern having their best chance as he curled in a shot from the edge of the box to force a good save out of Andrews.
The visitors continued in the same vein after the interval, as they dictated proceedings, forcing a lacklustre home side back with Horn visibly frustrated as his players toiled.
Rose were slack and would have been in trouble had Tranent posed a bigger threat up front, the loss of striker Jamie Devlin to Kelty Hearts last month leaving them lightweight in attack.
And Tranent boss Max Christie praised his players. “Our attitude was great and we will keep going. We were on a good run prior to Saturday and our minimum aim is to be in the top three, that’s our objective.”
“We didn’t stay in the game long enough. They were 2-0 up after ten minutes and we were like what? They got a deflected goal then it was never a penalty.
There was nothing between the teams after that. We huffed and puffed a wee bit but it was very hard to play on the pitch. We want to be beating Bonnyrigg and we want to be up there, but we gave them cheap goals.”
Bonnyrigg Rose: Andrews, Brett, Martynuik (Brown), K Young, Horne Hoskins, Turner (Gray), Stewart, McGachie, Currie, Wilson (Lough)
Tranent: S Inglis, Hawkins, C Inglis, McKenzie, Whitson, Christie, Reid, Black, Barrett (Gray), McGovern (Fisher), Berry