Bo'ness Athletic: Irvine says 4-1 cup defeat wasn't a reflection of the performance

East of Scotland First Division Conference X side Bo’ness Athletic took a shock lead against Lowland League high-flyers East Kilbride in the fifth round of the South Challenge Cup but, eventually, were defeated 4-1, going down to 10 men in the process.

By Ben Kearney
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 1:32 am
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2022, 1:32 am

Free-scoring forward Tiwi Daramola gave Athletic an early lead in the opening minute, finishing well to score his 41st goal of the campaign so far. But goals from Jamie Stevenson, Joao Victoria and a double from Neil McLaughlin sent Kilby through.

Speaking to the Herald, manager Willie Irvine felt the margin of the scoreline didn’t match how close the game was out on the pitch.

He said: “We started the match well and it was close game throughout, despite the scoreline.

Athletic players celebrate the early shock lead against the Lowland League outfit (Pictures: Scott Louden)

"We weren’t down and out at any point and I am coming away happy, in the main, with the way we played.

"I’m annoyed with the goals we conceded because two of them were totally avoidable from our point of view, but we did have defenders out and it wasn’t our best starting eleven.

"I said beforehand we would give them a game and we did that."

Irvine was irked by the decision that saw Johnny Mitchell sent off early in the second half for a second bookable offence.

Tiwi Daramola scores in the first minute to put Athletic ahead early on

“That didn’t make it any easier,” he said.

"For me, their player is smart and pushes Johnny into their player and the referee makes a quick call.

"If anything, it is a foul against them before it gets to the point that he gets sent off.

"It is frustrating because, at that point, it really hampers our chances of getting back into the game."

Athletic had numerous chances to get back into the game, but didn't take them

He added: “The penalty for them soon after was just a silly moment from our point of view. It was rash and just a split-second call.”

One player who wasn’t involved for Athletic on the day was attacking midfielder Callum Sheridan.

He has recently joined local side Camelon on loan as they look to stay up in the Premier Division, which sits two tiers higher than Conference X.

Irvine said of the move: “Callum is a player we rate highly but he needed game time and he will get that at Camelon Juniors.

"They are like us in that they are fighting for something and it isn’t holiday mode as such, so he will be playing in intense fixtures.”After Tuesday night, Athletic face over a month before returning to league action, with more cup action on the horizon with the side still in the other three cups available to them, starting with the trip to Kinnoull on Saturday in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup fourth round.

Irvine admitted the priority for his side is the league title, despite having a decent chance of cup success this year.

He said: “We want to win the league this season and go up. That is our main goal.

"This League Cup for me is nonsense. The four games don’t help us at all and I can’t focus on it with what’s at stake for us.

"Clearly, it is for the sides who don’t have much to play for now and need fixtures filled.”

Athletic played a rearranged league fixture on Tuesday night, winning 5-1 at home against Fauldhouse to go four points clear.