Bo’ness United crashed out of the Alex Jack Cup after losing an ill-tempered match at Olivebank against Musselburgh Athletic, writes Kevin McAlpine.
United paid the price for a slow start and the dismissal of two key players as they lost for the first time this season.
Bo’ness didn’t heed the warning signs early on and on 11 minutes they were a goal down when Mathu King had all the time he needed to control the ball and send a low finish past Andy Murphy from Conor Thomson’s cross.
Musselburgh were all over Bo’ness and came close to doubling their advantage when the rampaging Evans tried to release King but he couldn’t get on the end of his ball. United rallied midway through the half and the goal frame came to the rescue for the home side when Chris Donnelly’s header from an Iain Syme cross was tipped onto the bar by Paul Grant.
Musselburgh soon reasserted their dominance and doubled their advantage through the excellent Thomson, the forward advanced unchallenged from midfield and unleashed a superb strike from 25 yards into the top corner.
The task to come back from two goals behind got even harder for the visitors on the half hour when Stuart Hunter was shown a red card after a coming together on the touchline with Evans. Things were to go from bad to worse for Bo’ness when the influential Michael Gemmell was forced off injured after a horrible looking head knock incurred during an accidental collision with Murphy.
Despite the growing list of setbacks Bo’ness gave themselves a glimmer of hope when they pulled a goal back deep into first half stoppage time through a controlled volley from substitute Will Snowdon.
Hopes of a comeback were all but quashed ten minutes into the half when Donnelly received his marching orders after a firm tackle. A melee ensued involving nearly every player and the only action taken by the officials was a straight red for the BU skipper.
There was a large penalty claim after a clear handball in the Musselburgh penalty area, but referee Addy was unmoved.
Shortly afterwards the home side made the game safe with a wind-assisted third goal from Jordan Orru’s cross.