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Derek Hall’s report on the Bo’ness United v Spartan’s game on Wednesday 18th August

todayAugust 19, 2021


Bo’ness United 2-3 The Spartans

A month into the new season and already a crucial LL fixture as home side Bo’ness United were looking to start moving up the table and visitors Spartans hoping for a result to put them right in amongst the challengers at the top. A fairly cagey opening ten minute period saw both sides doing some sparring and little else with the nearest thing being a long clearance from Spartans keeper Blair Carswell which Blair Atkinson was almost onto but Bo’ness skipper Stuart Hunter shepherded the ball safely over and within a minute Atkinson had another go from the edge of the box but the effort was high, wide and anything but handsome. After 10 minutes, Scott Maxwell fed Michael Allan on the left wing and his cross saw Bo’ness keeper Andy Murphy take the ball confidently with Atkinson right behind him looking for any errors. However after 11 minutes, the home side broke the deadlock as a threaded pass picked out Zander Miller moving into the penalty area and his first effort was blocked by the advancing Carswell but the rebound came back to Miller who was able to turn the ball in from around nine yards to put the home side one up. Two minutes later, Matty Flynn whipped in a nice cross from the left but Carswell’s handling was secure. On the quarter hour, a Maxwell corner saw Lewis Hawkins clear to the edge of the Bo’ness box where Ian McFarland tried the 20 yard half volley but got right under the ball and skied it well over. However from the goal kick, Murphy played a casual pass straight to Jamie Dishington who rounded his defender before squaring to Atkinson but he seemed to get the ball caught under his feet and it trundled harmlessly wide. On 17 minutes, Kevin Waugh found Blair Henderson who rolled the ball to Atkinson and he saw keeper Murphy throw himself full length to his right to parry away the 20 yarder. Galbraith then gifted possession to Atkinson who again drove forward to the edge of the home penalty area but his disappointing off target shot posed no problems. Spartans we’re now pressing hard after going behind and on 24 minutes, Michael Herd fed Dishington and he dropped a lovely cross onto the head of Maxwell who should have done much better than to head behind. Before the game was restarted, Flynn of Bo’ness was cautioned by referee Alastair Grieve for complaining that he had been fouled in the lead up to the Maxwell chance, with the referee clearly not of the same opinion. Almost immediately Dishington sent Atkinson to the goal line and his cutback saw the unfortunate Maxwell completely miss his kick almost on the penalty spot. Bo’ness finally got themselves forward and Miller laid a nice ball into the path of Hawkins whose 30 yard drive along the ground shaved the base of keeper Carswell’s right hand post. However on 29 minutes, Herd again found Dishington on the right flank and he played in another pinpoint cross to the back post and only Maxwell will know how he failed to get his unchallenged eight yard header on target, a superb chance squandered. Two minutes later, Spartans claimed for a penalty as Dishington laid the ball off to Euan Smith whose drive from the edge of the box was blocked and as Smith followed up, he went over the grounded defender but the referee was having none of it. With 37 minutes gone, the second avoidable caution of the game arrived as Hawkins went into the book for delaying the taking of a Spartans free kick. Five minutes from the break, Spartans produced their best chance of the half as Allan played a cross to the back post and Dishington’s six yard header was turned onto the post by keeper Murphy with the ball then rebounding off the keepers back and behind for a corner from which Smith hooked the ball onto the roof of the Bo’ness net. On 43 minutes, Atkinson got a shot away from the edge of the Bo’ness box but Hawkins defended the situation really well and used his body to just put his opponent off balance with Murphy having no problem holding on to the ball. Right on the break, Jamie McCormack became the third yellow card of the game for blocking out Allan near the corner of the Bo’ness penalty area around 25 yards out but Maxwell’s free kick was cleared as the half time whistle brought a bit of a slow burner to a close. Both sides could have used the ball much better than they did but the home side would be delighted to go in ahead, as the majority of good chances had come for a Spartans side whose finishing up to this point had let them down.
At the break the home side brought on Conor McKenzie for Keir MacAulay and within a minute of the restart, Bo’ness no11 Galbraith went into the referees book for bringing down the strong running Maxwell. However on 50 minutes, the home side doubled their lead as a nice passing move through the middle saw Tom Grant side step his man inside the D before slamming the ball into the bottom left corner of the net from 18 yards past the helpless Carswell. Spartans responded with a dangerous Atkinson cross being blocked at the far post before visiting captain Michael Bolochoweckyj had to leave the field for some treatment but he was able to return. Atkinson then played a nice ball to Waugh in a promising position but with men to find in the Bo’ness box, the cross went straight out. On 56 minutes, Dishington was next into the referees book for another delay of game before Spartans then made their first changes of the evening as Sam Newman and Lennon Walker were brought on for Maxwell and Atkinson, and this was followed shortly afterwards by a Bo’ness change as Jamie Allan replaced Connor McMullan. The two Spartans subs, Walker and Newman combined well on 63 minutes and it took an excellent covering challenge from Hunter to clear the danger. However after 65 minutes, Spartans were back in it as Newman got to the goal line before finding Allan and his low driven cross into the penalty area was clipped home on the turn by Blair Henderson with a really sweetly struck finish. Newman and Walker combined again with the latter forcing keeper Murphy into an excellent save from his good low near post cross and on 68 minutes, Newman somehow managed to hook the ball in almost from the corner flag and Walker looped a nine yard header into the arms of Murphy. Two Newman corners in quick succession saw a Dishington header blocked at the back post from the second of these and once again the visitors were turning up the heat. Walker then almost played in Henderson on 72 minutes but once again great covering defending from Bo’ness captain Hunter saw the ball cleared behind. Fifteen minutes from time, Miller of Bo’ness took a head knock but he too was able to return after receiving treatment. After 77 minutes, we were all levelled up as Spartans got an equaliser which their overall play thoroughly deserved and once again Newman and Allan were involved in sending a cross to the back post and when the ball dropped, Henderson was first to react and forced the ball home from around five yards and we were set up for the proverbial grandstand finish. Before the restart, Bo’ness brought on Kieran Anderson for Flynn and he arrived to see an awkward bouncing ball headed down by Newman into the path of Allan and his left foot drive from the edge of the Bo’ness box was beaten away by a fine save from keeper Murphy. The lively Newman then played the ball into the heart of the Bo’ness penalty area and the ball dropped for Dishington who managed to smash the ball off a defender with almost the entire goals to aim at. Seven minutes from time, a long clearance from keeper Murphy saw the Spartans defence caught on their heels allowing Anderson to get to the edge of the box but his lofted effort sailed over. Spartans responded with a low 25 yard effort from Dishington which slipped past Murphy’s far post but went even closer on 86 minutes as a flashing move down the right ended with a back post cross which picked out Henderson and his powerful downward header was brilliantly turned behind almost on his goal line at the base of the post by keeper Murphy, a magnificent stop. However the goal was only delayed 60 seconds as Newman got past Grant down the left wing before driving a cross to the back post where Bolochoweckyj’s first touch to kill the ball allowed him to then lash the ball home from around eight yards and with three minutes remaining, the Spartans comeback was complete. At this point Spartans sent on Alan Brown for McFarland. Bo’ness tried to get the ball swiftly into the Spartans penalty area with a couple of Greig Skinner long throws but the final whistle saw the visitors delighted as they took the three points back to Ainslie Park after an excellent fight back eventually got its reward, but the outcome will be a devastating blow for a Bo’ness side still hoping to make an impression at the top end of the Lowland League table.

Written by: Russell Aitken

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