Updated: Mar 12, 2019
Dundonald Bluebell 1-3 Bonnyrigg Rose
EOSFL Conference B
Moorside Park, Dundonald
Bonnyrigg took a huge step towards the Conference B title with a narrow win over third placed Dundonald at Moorside Park. Rose already had one foot in the play-offs, and thanks to goals from Hoskins and Lough added to a McDaid og, they now have four toes from the other foot there too. They didn't have it all their own way in Fife though, when Lewis McKenzie scored one and had another chalked off as the Bell pushed the leaders all the way.
With Billy Rogerson suspended, Bell gaffer Jason Dair was forced into one change to the side that was knocked out of the King Cup last week, Derek Wallace returning into midfield.
The hosts started with captain James Lennox in goal behind a back four of Scott Durie, Ross Drummond, Liam McDaid and Craig Wedderburn.
Chris Gay was the anchorman in midfield, Mikey Ness on the left, Wallace on the right with Lewis McKenzie on the point of the diamond behind Archie Campbell & Callum Smith.
Bluebell knew that only a win would be enough to keep their faint play-off chances alive, and were giving it a good go right from the off, Campbell and Ness both looking lively in the opening minutes. Their best chances of joy looked like coming from a set-piece, Wedderburn and McKenzie working the keeper from a couple of whipped corner kicks and McDaid's free-kick testing the Rose defence.
The visitors on the other hand could afford to be patient, and were happy enough to soak up the early pressure. They are not the run away league leaders for nothing though, always looking dangerous on the break and growing more into the game as the half went on.
Rose made the breakthrough on 30 minutes, Horne picking Smith's pocket on the half-way line and teeing up Gray who fired over a dangerous cross that McDaid could only turn into his own net with Murrell lurking. With a sticky pitch and a swirling wind, this was never going to be a classic, but to their credit, Bell were trying to keep the ball on the deck and get a passing game going. Durie's floated free-kick was begging to be headed in at the back post, but nobody could get their napper on it, and the teams headed for their half-time cuppa with the visitors narrowly in front.
The freezing cold wind was still swirling in the second half, making it difficult for both sides and it was a bit of a lottery any time the ball was in the air. Rose were beginning to get into their groove and went looking for the second that would kill the game off. Dean Brett was starting to get some joy down the left wing and Lennox had to be on his toes on more than one occasion.
Bluebell shocked their visitors on the hour mark with a lighting quick counter attack though, Lewis McKenzie getting on the end of a long ball out of defence and keeping his cool to draw the keeper off his line before sliding the equaliser into the bottom corner.
Rose turned to the bench, Louis Swanson replacing Aaron Murrell, as the visitors looked to restore their lead. It came twenty minutes from time, Hoskins scrambling his header home from the corner kick.
Bell has shown plenty of resilience this season, and although Rose deserved their lead, the Fifers refused to lie down, and it looked as if they'd got their reward in the dying minutes, McKenzie tapping Campbells cutback into the net once again. The linesman's flag was up though, and after a quick conversation, ref Craig Wilson ruled that the ball had already gone out of play and the goal didn't stand.
Few could have denied that Bell were worth a draw, but football can be a cruel game at times, and Rose rubbed salt into the wound by heading straight up the other end and scoring their third, Keith Lough with a clever turn & finish to kill the game off at last.
Rose had probably been the better side over the piece, although 3-1 flattered them slightly. They have however been the stand out side in this conference all season long and are now just one win away from making top spot certain, and clinching the all important play-off slot. The leaders will host LTHV next week, hoping to get job done at the first time of asking.
Despite the defeat, Bluebell still look more than capable of a comfortable top five finish that will guarantee them a place in the EOSFL Premier League next season. Dair's men now have a couple of free weeks to re-charge the batteries before heading to Meggetland at the end of the month to face 10th place Tynecastle.
Bluebell Man of the Match: Lewis McKenzie was the danger man for Bell once again, constantly in the thick of the action. In difficult conditions, he was always looking to get the ball down & play football and rounded it off by sticking his goal away with a cool & clinical finish.
View all the match photos HERE