Rose beaten in ‘battle of champions’

26/11/16 WILLIAM HILL SCOTTISH CUP 3RD RND  '  BONNYRIGG ROSE v DUMBARTON '  NEW DUNDAS PARK - MIDLOTHIAN '  Bonnyrigg manager Robbie Horn
26/11/16 WILLIAM HILL SCOTTISH CUP 3RD RND ' BONNYRIGG ROSE v DUMBARTON ' NEW DUNDAS PARK - MIDLOTHIAN ' Bonnyrigg manager Robbie Horn

Bonnyrigg Rose went head to head with East Kilbride last Sunday at the Meggetland Sports Centre in the final of the SFA South Challenge Cup.

A large crowd turned out to watch the Lowland League Champions take on the East of Scotland Champions on a windy day that challenged the players with goalmouth highlights few and far between.

Something had to give in this ‘Battle of the Champions’ and in the end the Lowland Leaguers East Kilbride just shaded it.

Bonnyrigg were to finish up with just nine men in the later stages as two unpunished incidents saw Keith Lough and Ross Gray subject to fouls as referee Craig Napier saw nothing worthy of cards for the Kilbride players.

However, Rose protests saw double red cards for Dean Brett and Lee Currie as a second yellow for Currie meant red and a double yellow for Dean Brett saw him sent off.

It was an even contest mostly throughout as Kilby slightly edged the first half possession but there was little in the way of goalmouth incidents in a tight goalless first forty five with a brilliant save by Rose keeper Mike Andrews denying the Kilbride the chance of an opening goal.

That opener continued to be elusive into the second half but with some 15 minutes left for play Kilby broke the deadlock when a shot rebounded off the Bonnyrigg crossbar and Bernard Coll was on hand to net the rebound to put East Kilbride 1-0 ahead.

Then, just three minutes later, it was all square again at 1-1 with a stunning Lee Currie 25 yard free kick raging into the Kilby net for a deserved Rose leveller.

However that score line only lasted a further four minutes as Kilby struck back with full back Bernard Coll seizing the chance at the far post to slot home what proved to be the cup winning goal.

Two Rose strikers, Aaron Murrell and Louis Swanson, came on for Ross Gray and Alan Horne with some 10 minutes left for play asRose boss Robbie Horn sought an equaliser.

Instead the red cards finished off the contest leaving Rose, despite the outcome, still with their heads held high with top performances from the likes of Alan Horne Lee Currie , Evan Moyes and Jon Stewart on the day.

Speaking after the match, Rose boss Robbie Horn said: “Sometimes you don’t always get the decisions and that was the way it panned out for us.

“We’ve got to keep our discipline better but if the decisions were correct then you don’t get the reaction from the players.

“In terms of the penalty decision I don’t have any complaints about that, the boy didn’t know where the ball was and the wind was playing a factor in it, it would have been harsh.

“I think we’ve given a decent account of ourselves against the Lowland League teams this year.

“It’s disappointing to lose a final, but I am proud of the players again for the way they performed.”

Bonnyrigg Rose’s seemingly endless season continued last night Wednesday, May 29, with an away King Cup semi final tie at Linlithgow Rose’s Prestonfieldfor a potential place in the season final game on Saturday, June 1.

Tranent are awaiting the winners there in the Cup Final after the Belters won their own semi final tie last Friday evening at Foresters Park by 6-5 in a dramatic penalty shoot out against Fifers Crossgates Primrose as the match finished all square at 2-2.