Hill of Beath Hawthorn 1-2 Bo’ness Utd
EOSFL Premier League
Bo’ness extended their lead at the top of the Premier League with a late fight back against Hill of Beath at Kier’s Park. The Haws had taken the lead midway through the first half with a Daniel Watt strike and it looked like they might hold onto all three points. But Chris Donnelly levelled for the visitors on 77 minutes before substitute Mark McKenzie grabbed the winner for United just 2 minutes from time.
It was a rotten day in Fife with heavy rain and gusty winds but this one did well to survive the weather. United started the day with a 4-point cushion at the top of the table. Haws were a further 3 points behind in third spot, but with two games in hand, there was plenty at stake.
Despite the grotty conditions it was a really good first half, with both sides going at each other. It was an end-to-end kind of a game with lots of goal mouth action and chances aplenty. United were probably edging in terms of possession, but Haws were dangerous on the counter attack which made for an intriguing game.
Haws took the lead on 23 minutes with a quick break, the ball played forward to Callum Adamson, who beat two defenders and found himself one-on-one with the keeper. Murphy saved well with his feet, but the rebound fell perfectly to Michael Watt, who didn’t need to be asked twice and tucked away the opener.
The hosts had a couple of chances to add to their lead, Lyle Kellichan delivering a string of tempting looking corners, but United were well organised and dealt with the danger. Bo’ness had plenty of chances of their own and looked like they'd had the ball in the net via the crossbar on the half hour, but the referee ruled it was on the line and they had to make do with another corner.
Things began to get a bit tasty as half-time approached, four players booked in a feisty 10 minute spell and at one point it looked as if we’d struggle to get to the break with 22 bodies still on the park.
Haws enjoyed another good spell immediately after the break, Adamson and Watt both having good chances, but they couldn’t find a second goal to kill the game off and United slowly began to control possession as the pendulum swung back the other way. The chances were starting to rack up for the visitors while the hosts were finding it increasingly difficult to break them down at the other end.
The yellow cards were starting to add up too thanks to some fussy refereeing from Daniel Graves. It was still raining heavily and although there wasn’t any standing water, it was pretty muddy and the pitch was starting to cut up quite badly. It was difficult to judge the bounce of the ball and easy to mistime a tackle, but Graves didn’t seem to be giving the players any leeway and was reaching for his pocket at virtually every tackle. How the game finished 11-a-side is a bit of a mystery.
Bo’ness were really starting to turn the screw and Stuart Hall had to pull out a couple of top drawer saves to keep his side in it. The BUs thought they’d taken the lead when a shot from Hunter struck the crossbar and again bounced down on the line, but Haws managed to clear the danger. Haws were still carving out the odd half chance of their own, but nobody could have been too surprised when Donnelly scored the equaliser on 77 minutes.
It looked as if Haws had settled for the draw, but United had other ideas and kept pressing forward looking for the winner. When it came two minutes from time, it was a good old fashioned stramash as the ball was forced over the line. It was eventually credited to Mark McKenzie, although a couple of his team mates seemed to be claiming the final touch.
With stoppage time added, there were about five minutes for Haws to try and rescue something, but although they gave it a go, they weren’t really convincing and United were able to see the game out and head back over the Queensferry crossing with all 3 points which, on the strength of the second half, was probably about right.
Man of the Match: Stuart Hunter. There really wasn’t much between these two sides, and at the end of the day it the strength of the Bo’ness defence that was the difference and Hunter was immense all afternoon.
To see all the match photos, click HERE