Bo’ness United strengthened their stranglehold on the East of Scotland Premier Division in impressive style, with a crushing 4-0 win over Blackburn at New Murrayfield Park, writes Kevin McAlpine.
Saturday’s outcome was never in doubt after a Craig Comrie strike and an own goal had the visitors coasting at the interval.
Second half strikes from Ryan Stevenson and Brian Ritchie completed the scoring and ensured another fine result which put Max Christie’s team 13 points clear at the top.
Christie named the same starting 11 which saw off Linlithgow Rose the weekend before, and there was a space on the bench for returning forward Kieran Anderson who signed the day before the match, ending a spell at League Two outfit Stenhousemuir.
Bo’ness enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the early stages but didn’t create much until the 29th minute when, out of the blue, they grabbed the lead.
Craig Comrie picked up a loose ball 20 yards out from goal and quickly sent an accurate left foot shot low into the net.
The goal frame came to the rescue for the hosts in the 36th minute when Brian Morgan sent a fizzing half-volley past Mitchell only to see the ball crash off the post and rebound to safety.
Bo’ness extended their lead shortly before half time when Blackburn skipper Michael Browne, under pressure from Hunter, knocked Morgan’s cross into his own net.
The second half was largely one-way traffic towards the Blackburn goal, yet the home side were doing their best to hold firm at the back.
Ten minutes into the half Mitchell again showed his class with a wonderful save to tip over Brian Ritchie’s delicate lob.
But the pressure finally took its toll shortly afterwards when Bo’ness stretched their advantage through Ryan Stevenson.
Comrie was again prominent when he nicked the ball from David Taylor in midfield.
He dummied to shoot but instead slipped a neat ball to Stevenson who drew the keeper then expertly found the net for his third goal in his last three BU appearances.
Blackburn did come close to pulling a consolation goal back on the hour mark through Calum McDowell whose free-kick from 25 yards deflected off the defensive wall, and with visiting keeper Andy Murphy wrong footed the ball bounced inches wide.
Mitchell was doing his best to keep Bo’ness out with three decent stops, but he was finally beaten again in the 68th minute when Brian Ritchie nodded home a driven Ian Nimmo cross.
Ritchie has now netted five times in his last seven matches and looks to be relishing his new role as a centre forward.
Mark McKenzie and Kieran Anderson were introduced to the action from the bench but despite their industry they couldn’t add to the BU tally.
Bo’ness: Murphy, Jacobs (Anderson), MacGregor, Campbell, Hunter, Nimmo (Donnelly), Comrie, Morgan, Stevenson, Grant, Ritchie (McKenzie). Unused: Adamson, Snowdon, Keast, Faulds.