Midfielder Lewis Turner reckons Bonnyrigg Rose have nothing to fear in next Tuesday’s replay at Dumbarton after Rose dominated Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup third-round tie but just couldn’t find the back of net.
The pre-match odds being offered by bookmakers suggested an almighty gulf between Super League champions Rose and Ladbrokes Championship side the Sons, but such a disparity was not evident on the pitch as the Junior side took the game to an experienced outfit containing former Scotland internationalists.
The sense of disappointment visibly apparent on the faces of those wearing yellow at full-time suggested they felt they should’ve won, while Dumbarton were relieved and thankful to still be in the cup.
“We were delighted with the performance we put in, but we’re disappointed we are having to go through and play them next Tuesday,” said winger, Turner who was a constant threat down the right flank all afternoon.
“I think we throughly deserved to beat them over the course of the 90 minutes.”
Few Dumbarton supporters, of which there was around 300 in a 1552-strong crowd, could disagree with that assessment. their side having been outfought for the majority of the 90 minutes, with striker Keiran McGachie bullying Scottish Cup winner Darren Barr all afternoon, while the ever-reliable Alan Horne was imperious at right-back.
It wasn’t just the physical battle in which Rose were superior – far from it – their passing and movement were also much better as they exhibited the quality which proved they could all play at a higher level. “In the changing room at half-time, we were saying we needed to keep it up because I thought we played really well,” continued Turner.
“The gaffer [Robbie Horn] was telling us we had to maintain our performance from the first half or it would count for nothing. We knew they would get a rollocking and they’d come out and wouldn’t play as bad as they did in the first half. We stuck to it and we deserved a victory. If we put in the same performance next Tuesday we’re confident that we’ll get a result, because there’s nothing really to fear. We’ll take a lot of confidence from Saturday and hopefully it will stand us in good stead.”
The magic of the cup was evident before Saturday’s match, with Bonnyrigg shelling out for pitch covers to give the game every chance of going ahead. Over 30 volunteers, including committee members, supporters and local residents helped to lay them out on Friday afternoon before returning at 7am on Saturday morning to remove them – ensuring the tie was just one of six Scottish Cup matches to beat the freeze.
Manager Horn hailed the club’s committee and the help of the local community in helping to get the game on.
He said: “The club forked out money to buy covers for the game in an attempt to get it on. We had 30 volunteers putting them down yesterday and then they were back this morning – that’s an effort you don’t get sometimes at senior level but that’s a community spirit.”
Turner was just gutted they didn’t give them a victory to reward them for their efforts adding: “I thought it was absolutely brilliant – the club went out and bought covers for the pitch to make sure the game was on. The amount of fans that were here was just brilliant to see.
“Bonnyrigg must have been like a ghost town outside of this stadium. Charlie [Kirkwood], chairman] and all the committee worked so hard to get the game on and we are probably a bit disappointed for them that they aren’t going out to celebrate a victory.”
Referee Stephen Finnie had to hold the game up for ten minutes to allow time for those queuing up outside to get in for kick-off such was the sense of intrigue for the big match.
Walking out to a packed ground seemed to galvanise Rose and they were on the front foot from the off, with defender Kerr Young heading over after nine minutes.
The centre-back doesn’t score often, but he must’ve thought he had given Rose the lead four minutes later with a rasping half-volley from 25 yards out, only for goalkeeper Alan Martin to thwart him at full stretch. Their early dominance continued with marauding left-back Ruaridh Donaldson trying his luck from distance, before a quick breakaway almost saw Turner tee up Wayne McIntosh in space but the cross was cut out.
A Dean Hoskins missed header provided the visitors with their first chance, but Michael Andrews was alert to rush out and halt striker Donald McCallum at close quarters.
Rose were proving dangerous from the set-piece and McIntosh must’ve thought he had given the hosts the lead on 52 minutes after Hoskins nodded on Adam Nelson’s free-kick, but his effort was straight at Martin, while he had already strayed offside.
The best chance of the second half fell to midfielder Nelson ten minutes from time after Turner’s deflected cross landed to him just inside the area. However, his his low effort lacked direction and Martin gathered it comfortably.
Gregor Buchanan could’ve won it for the Sons with a looping header which Andrews was alert to flick over, before a leggy McIntosh passed up a chance at glory when he flashed an effort across goal and wide in the dying minutes.
Rose boss Horn was full of pride after his team’s showing and is confident they can produce the same performance again when the sides meet again at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium tomorrow week.
“Credit to the players – they competed with a championship team for 90 minutes and, for me, we were just a wee bit unlucky we never got the result,” he said.
“There’s a lot of boys in my team that have been senior before and some deserve to be senior again, they had a belief that they were going to show they were capable of. I think a lot of them did that. We will go there with belief that we can go and compete. A bigger park might suit us. We’ve got pace in the wider areas and up front so we might cause them problems as well.”
Dumbarton boss Stevie Aitken was just relieved to still be in tonight’s fourth-round draw whoch takes place at Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park.
“We are happy we are still in the tie,” he said. We always knew it was going to be difficult coming here. It was a potential banana skin and there’s always shocks in cups.Credit to Bonnyrigg for getting the game on and I thought they were terrific. Every one of them deserved credit and they made it really difficult for us. We’re just thankful we are still in the tie.”
Bonnyrigg Rose: Andrews, Horne, Donaldson, Stewart, Hoskins, Young, Turner, Kidd, McGachie, Nelson (Gray), McIntosh (McLaren).
Dumbarton: Martin, Pettigrew, Buchanan, Barr, Smith, Docherty, Todd, Stirling, Stevenson, Fleming, McCallum (Thomson).