Premier Division leaders Bo’ness United continued their unbeaten streak after completing the league double over Newtongrange Star with a 3-1 win at Newtown Park, writes Kevin McAlpine.
Despite the visitors’ lowly league position they created the first big chance three minutes in. Kyle Scott should have done far better than drag a tame shot wide after strong build-up play from Ryan Porteous.
The opening goal arrived in the 10th minute and it was the home side who took the lead when Brian Ritchie crashed home a header into the roof of the net from a driven Brian Morgan cross.
Newtongrange were undaunted by the early setback and took control of the match.
Kayne Paterson did well when Ross Campbell misjudged a long ball and he raced through on goal but his effort drifted over.
Steven Thomson was next to try his luck from range and his strike from distance was wide of Andy Murphy’s goal
Star deservedly levelled the match midway through the half when Paterson dribbled past his markers and slipped the ball past Murphy for a fine individual goal.
The next goal would prove crucial in more ways than one and it was Bo’ness who retook the lead with 10 minutes remaining in the half.
Michael Gemmell was upended by Star’s Steven Thomson 25 yards from goal, with Thomson booked for the foul. Up stepped Tom Grant and he curled a sublime free-kick into the postage stamp corner for his second goal of the season.
With the half drawing to a close Thomson received his second yellow of the game, for a needless kick out at Nimmo, and the experienced forward was duly sent off leaving his teammates with a mountain to climb.
In the 55th minute United wrapped up the game when Fraser Keast knocked the ball home from close range after Newtongrange goalkeeper Kieron Renton made a mess of collecting a Morgan corner kick and spilled the ball into the path of Keast who couldn’t miss.
Bo’ness were taking full advantage of the extra man and most of the second half was played in the Newtongrange half.
Star had veteran defender Scott Swaney to thank for a fine goal-line clearance after Campbell’s powerful header from a Grant corner-kick was heading for the top corner before his intervention.
And Campbell was again denied when Renton showed great reflexes to keep out another goalbound header.
Renton again was the main man for Newtongrange with a point blank stop to deny Bo’ness substitute Mark McKenzie’s effort. The ball was cleared as far as Snowdon who lobbed in a cross and again Campbell was inches away from extending United’s lead as his header drifted just wide.
In the end Bo’ness had to settle for just the three goals and a vital win that will keep them top of the pile in the Premier Division come what may this weekend when they are idle.
Bo’ness: Murphy, Jacobs, Stevenson, Snowdon, Campbell, Gemmell © (Comrie), Morgan, Nimmo, Ritchie (McKenzie), Keast and Grant. Unused: Adamson.