Newtongrange Star defeated ten-man Bo’ness United 3-2 at Newtown Park last night to give themselves a fighting chance in the race for the Super League title.
League leaders Kelty Hearts have two games remaining and are 11 points clear of second-placed Bo’ness. They will secure the title with two victories, although last season’s champions Bo’ness and Star could still overtake the Fife club.
Star raced into a two-goal lead in the opening 15 minutes against Bo’ness – who had kept 14 clean sheets in their last 15 league matches.
Striker Kris Renton, who was sent-off in Saturday’s loss to Broxburn Athletic, but was available to play as his two-match ban doesn’t kick-in until this weekend, fired the visitors in front. Craig Thomson played a ball directly over the home defence, who appealed for offside and Renton was there to tuck his shot past goalkeeper Mark Peat after nine minutes.
Bo’ness were undone once again after great work from Sean Jamieson down the right. He got the better of left-back Stewart Devine and his cut back found Steven Noble who sidefooted into the net. Jamieson almost made it three just a minute later, but Colin Leiper threw himself in front of the shot to divert wide for a corner.
The home side tried to respond through captain Chris Donnelly after 27 minutes, but his shot from the edge of the box was always rising and it did not trouble Star keeper Keiron Renton. Ian Nimmo, who replaced Devine after half an hour, then forced Renton into a save with a first-time volley from the edge of the box.
Kieran Anderson came on a substitute at half-time and he made an instant impact in the lead up as the home side pulled a goal back after 46 minutes. His cross found striker Darren Gribben in the area and he finished high into the net past Renton.
Bo’ness pushed for an equaliser, but they suffered on the counter attack when goalkeeper Mark Peat was sent-off after 68 minutes when he rushed out of goal and took out Renton midway inside his own half, who had broken clear of last defender Ross Campbell.
The ten men rallied however and equalised through a Chris Donnelly strike just three minutes later. Anderson’s shot was deflected into his path and the Bo’ness captain sent an unstoppable volley into the top corner.
Bo’ness had Star on the ropes, but the visitors who nicked the winner with four minutes remaining. Substitute keeper Connor Wallace was caught off his line after stopping Jamieson’s shot and the Star forward sent the ball back into the area for Matti King to head into an empty net.
Star boss Alan Miller was delighted with his sides performance, who made it a league double against Bo’ness having beat the BUs at New Victoria Park earlier in the season.
“They put in an almighty shift with just 14 players and we had to make changes,” he said.
“Bo’ness changed their shape and it unsettled them at the start of the match. It was a great game of junior football and we demonstrated tonight that we aren’t a bad wee side.
“We’ve got five league games and we’ll do what we can. We’ve got to hope that Kelty slip up.”
Bo’ness United: Peat, Snowdon, Devine (Nimmo), Campbell, Leiper, Murphy (Wallace), Walker, Philp, Sloan (Anderson), Donnelly, Gribben.
Newtongrange Star: Keiron Renton, Gillon, Deland, Tolmie, Dunn, Thomson, Jamieson, Noble (Cropley) , Kris Renton, Cherrie, King.