A Fraser Keast goal deep into extra time ensured that Bo’ness United advanced into the second round of the Football Nation Cup, and finally break the determined defensive performance of Crossgates Primrose.
A Fraser Keast goal deep into extra time ensured that Bo’ness United advanced into the second round of the Football Nation Cup.
Bo’ness have been in fine form since their opening day defeat against Jeanfield, and the Newtown Park side were seeking their fifth straight win since then. Crossgates have also
started their season encouragingly and have taken points from three of last years Superleague teams in the League Cup, Linlithgow, Penicuik and Sauchie.
United manager Steve Kerrigan made two changes to the side that dismantled Lothian Thistle in their previous game, Alex Marshall replaced Andy Murphy in goals and Josh McDonald came in at the expense of club captain Chris Donnelly.
United were dominating possession in the early stages and it was largely one-way traffic towards Grant Henderson in the Crossgates goal. Stuart Hunter had a header easily saved by Henderson and the keeper was on hand to again to deny Bo’ness when he stood up well to block a Marty Wright effort.
Brian Morgan found himself one-on-one with the Crossgates keeper as he raced onto a hopeful Will Snowdon clearance, the goalkeeper saved well, clattering Morgan in the process. Devon Jacobs and Morgan both had shots that drifted just wide and the teams went in goalless at half time.
Wright was struggling with a knock and had to be replaced by Nicky Prentice with seconds to go in the half.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first with Bo’ness on the front foot. Gemmell and McDonald had efforts blocked by Higgins and Wilkie respectively.
With fifty minutes on the clock, the visitors survived two strong penalty shouts. Ross Campbell was hauled to the ground as he tried to get on the end of a Morgan corner and Prentice went down in the area under pressure from Devaney. Both claims were ignored by referee Smith.
MacKenzie was unlucky after an hour when a Campbell clearance sent him clear through on goal, his lob beat Henderson, but Gavin Ross got back to clear the ball away from the goal-line.
The influential Morgan had to be replaced by Donnelly after picking up an injury, but it didn’t stop the Bo’ness momentum.
Hunter again nodded a corner kick wide and Ross was again in the right place at the right time to clear a goal-bound Donnelly header off the line.
With seven minutes remaining, Crossgates finally caught sight of the Bo’ness goal.
Substitutes Allan and McKenzie combined to set up a shooting opportunity after a swift counter-attack, luckily for United Marshall was alert to push away McKenzie’s effort. For the
remainder of the ninety minutes Bo’ness pressurised the Crossgates goal but could not find a way past the determined Fife side.
The first period of extra time was a non-event but in the second, Bo’ness went all out in an attempt to avoid a penalty shoot-out. Henderson firstly saved Prentice’s deflected effort at full stretch low to his right, then a minute later he somehow tipped over a stunning MacKenzie volley that was heading into the top corner.
Hunter came close with two unmarked headers from Snowdon corner-kicks before the deadlock was at last broken. After a quick throw-in, Snowdon lobbed a lovely ball into the penalty area and Fraser Keast found the net with an overhead kick.
The home side controlled the remaining minutes and made sure of their qualification for round two of the cup.
United will travel to Fife in the second round to face Dundonald Bluebell, with the winners taking their place in the last 16.