Bo’ness United came away with a hard-earned point in a 1-1 home draw against an impressive Broxburn Athletic side at Newtown Park on Saturday, writes Kevin McAlpine.
The league leaders were on the back foot for most of the match and had to show their trademark resilience to keep the visitors at bay, in particular when they were reduced to 10 men after the dismissal of captain Chris Donnelly early in the second half.
Broxburn started on the front foot and most of their good play was coming from the left side and the direct dribbling of Cammy Ross. The young winger was a constant threat to the Bo’ness defence all afternoon.
BU keeper Andy Murphy was a busy man and he kept out a powerful Zander Miller drive before pulling off the save of the match as he denied Nicky Locke a goal with a point blank reaction stop after good wing play and cross on the right from Conor Kelly.
Kelly was guilty of a bad miss after he seized upon a loose Brian Ritchie pass and found himself through on goal, Murphy making a simple save.
Against the run of play, Bo’ness took the lead in the 34th minute from the penalty spot after Mark McKenzie was tugged down in the box as Broxburn failed to clear their lines from a series of corner kicks.
Having missed their last two spot-kicks there was a nervy feeling around the ground when Brian Ritchie stepped up to take the penalty, Ritchie however kept his cool and smashed the ball down the middle giving Brox keeper Wallace no chance.
Two minutes into first half stoppage time Broxburn finally broke the Bo’ness resistance when they equalised through ex-BU forward Zander Miller.
Ross showed great persistence on the left wing to get a cross over which found Miller unmarked at the far post, the on-form striker took a good first touch to control then guided an accurate shot past Murphy low into the corner.
Bo’ness introduced the influential Brian Morgan to proceedings at half-time and started the second half well.
Wallace pulled off a tremendous save at full stretch to deny Chris Donnelly’s strike from distance for United.
Ten minutes into the half the task for Bo’ness got tougher when Donnelly was late with an unnecessary tackle at the edge of the Broxburn penalty area and duly shown his second yellow and subsequent red by referee Curran.
United did create the opportunity they were craving on the hour mark when Morgan skipped past full-back Grant and sent a cross towards the unmarked Craig Comrie who skewed his effort wide from 10 yards out.
Broxburn were next to fluff their lines with an incredible miss from Kelly, Scott’s cross from the left was spilled by Murphy and when the ball fell to the feet of Kelly he smacked the ball out of the park with an open goal gaping.
The visitors were then denied firstly by a great Ian Nimmo block to keep out a Ross drive, then a superb tip over from Murphy as Ross Nimmo’s cross looked to be drifting in.
Bo’ness: Murphy, MacGregor, Jacobs, Hunter, Campbell, Comrie, Gemmell (Nimmo), Ritchie (Morgan), Grant, Donnelly, McKenzie (Keast).