Rose unable to halt rampant Kelty as title defence begins with a defeat

Bonnyrigg Rose 2-4 Kelty Hearts
Bonnyrigg Rose 2-4 Kelty Hearts

East Super League 2016 champions Bonnyrigg Rose crashed at home in their opening 2016/17 championship clash against visiting 2015 champions Fifers Kelty at New Dundas Park last Saturday.

The Rose fell 3-0 behind to rampant Hearts before pulling a back ahead of the interval but an early second-half goal by Kelty put the match beyond Bonnyrigg.

The visitors stunned Bonnyrigg with two superb goals in the sixth and eighth minutes to grab an unlikelyearly 2-0 lead. First, a 30-yard rocket by Neil McCabe beat goalkeeper Mike Andrews in the postage stamp corner and just two minutes later, after a crunching tackle by Andrew Kidd, another supremely hit free kick-from 25 yards by Stephen Husband beat Andrews down to his right !

Playing uphill, Kelty looked dangerous in every attack, while Bonnyrigg found the Fife defence on top form.

A tenth-minute header by Jamieson went straight to Kelty keeper Kyle Allison, then in the 16th minute Bonnyrigg saw red as just after a free kick was awarded to the Rose for a Thomson foul. The linesman drew referee Duncan Smith’s attention to touchline dissent by substitute Lewis Turner who was sent off.

A series of Kidd corners made little impression on the Kelty defence, though Bonnyrigg did improve – but it looked an off day for strikers Jamieson, McGachie and McIntosh.

In 35 minutes it was 3-0 to Kelty when Neil McCabe’s left-wing cross tested the home defence, and it was netted by the alert Brian Ritchie as the Rose rearguard laboured.

Two minutes before half-time, a stunning goal by full-back Ruaridh Donaldson gave Bonnyrigg some hope, despite trailing 3- 1 at the interval.

But they were undone early in the second half.

When Kelty substitute Devon Jacobs, who came on in 53 minutes, delivered his first cross, he set up Stuart Cargill, who made no mistake as he tucked away with Kelty’s fourth goal of the afternoon.

In reply, Adam Nelson tested Allison with a free kick, before a McIntosh shot was parried by the keeper and rebounded to Nelson who netted the second Rose goal.

Ther was still a good half-hour left to play, and Rose introduced Fraser McLaren and Alex King in an attempt to reduce the deficit even further.

But a third goal proved elusive as Kelty held their two-goal advantage to secure all three points.