IF EVER there was a game of two halves then Bo’ness United’s performance at Auchinleck Talbot fitted that description.
A cliché it may be but it perfectly tells the story of the BUs’ exit from the Scottish Junior Cup.
In the first half Bo’ness looked the better side and they had the holders looking worried as they pushed forward onto the Auchinleck goal. Unfortunately there were no goals to show for the effort and after Auchinleck scored early in the second half Bo’ness were unable to capture the form they showed in the first half.
With Steven Mulligan cup tied and Nicky Walker unavailable, Stuart Hunter returned after a long time out due to injury and Chris Donnelly was in from the start.
Bo’ness made the early running with a Hay shot that went wide and a great angled drive from Hamilton tested Auchinleck keeper Leishman. Auchinleck might have got on the scoresheet as Milliken cut in from the left but he shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
A Hunter shot went wide of the Auchinleck goal and Milliken was again off target with a header on the Bo’ness goal.
It was end to end stuff with Bo’ness dominating possession although Auchinleck were dangerous on the break.
In 39 minutes Donnelly saw his header from a Snowdon cross tipped round the post by Leishman. From Hamilton’s corner Gibb headed off the underside of the Auchinleck bar and the keeper was grateful to see the ball safely in his hands.
Spence had a shot on the Bo’ness goal deflected off target and only a great tackle by Latta stopped Hamilton’s run in on the Auchinleck goal.
The BU support hoped for the same in the second half but only four minutes had elapsed when Auchinleck scored. From a free-kick inside their own half, the ball was played up the right and from Latta’s low cross Faulds was unmarked as he put in at the far post.
The goal gave Auchinleck confidence and they looked a much better side.
Collins headed wide from a good position and Spence also went close to getting Auchinleck a second.
During this period Bo’ness keeper Christie made a couple of good stops to keep his side in with a chance. Bo’ness were a pale imitation of the side that did so well in the first half and they were unable to make an impact on the game.
With a minute remaining Auchinleck secured their semi-final place with a second goal when Paterson crossed from the right and Milliken headed in from close in.
To compound Bo’ness’s misery Bonar was red carded just before the end and Bo’ness will now turn their attention to the Super League where they still have a chance of retaining their title.
Bo’ness man of the match: Chris Donnelly.
Bo’ness: Christie, Snowdon, Bonar, Gibb, Reilly, Hunter (Canning 69), Watt, Hamilton (Stewart 63), Hay (Nimmo 57), Duffy, Donnelly. Subs (not used): Shields, Plenderleith, Allan.