Hill of Beath Hawthorn 0-2 Bonnyrigg Rose
League Cup Qualifying Group F
Kiers Park, Hill of Beath
Hill of Beath lost their first home match of the season despite a brave performance, having to play most of the match with just 10 men. There was a touch of deja vu about the fixture, with these two having played each other in the final junior match at Kiers Park at the end of May. Much has changed in the 66 days since that fixture, but the first meeting as senior sides didn't go as well as Haws would have hoped.
Haws line up had a familiar look to it: Stuart Hall in goals; a three man central defence of Shaun Leishman, Rikki Dair and Rory Harrower with Lyle Kellichan & Russel Grierson playing wing-back. Ricky Patrick and Michael Watt in the centre of midfield with Darrin Wright in the hole behind the two forwards Daniel Watt & Lewis Payne.
The night got of to a terrible start for Haws, when Harrower conceded a foul on the edge of the box in the seventh minute. Ref Chris McNab consulted with his linesman and shocked everyone by pulling out the red card for Harrower. The damage was limited when Bonnyrigg couldn't make the most of the free-kick, but it left Haws with a mountain to climb.
With the extra man, Rose pressed for the opener, but although they carved out a few chances Haws managed to weather the storm. Rose were understandably controlling possession, but Haws were working hard, and Stuart Hall was once again on top form between the sticks. The keeper pulled out 2 or 3 cracking saves to deny Rose, including an impressive double stop after touching a shot onto the post and diving on the rebound.
There was plenty of bite to the match too, and a tough tackle by Grierson in front of the dug-outs sparked a full-on handbags session. Rose captain Kerr Young jumped for a header with Patrick and got a bit of a soft yellow for his trouble. Grierson and Stewart clashed on the edge of the box, which left both players struggling. Swanson replaced Stewart for Bonnyrigg, and Grierson limped off to be replaced by Conners.
Being a man short, chances were few & far between for Haws, and they had to be content with trying to make the most of the counter attack, which wasn't producing much joy. Hall nearly blotted his copy book with a fresh-air swipe on the edge of his box, but was able to recover to make the save. But just as it looked like the 10-men might make it to half-time, Haws once again conceded a free-kick on the edge of the box. The wall didn't really stand up to the shot, and when the ball broke to Steven Thomson, he poked his shot low into the bottom corner to give Rose the lead at the break.
Things got even worse for Haws five minutes after the re-start, when Jonathon Brown got on the end of a loose ball and fired number 2 beyond Hall to give the visitors the comfort of a two goal cushion. Haws needed to gamble now to try and get back into the match, and they swapped Daniel Watt for Calum Adamson. Watt had just been booked, and Haws couldn't afford to lose another man, while Adamson gave them some fresh legs. His extra energy up top seemed to give the home side a bit more of an outlet for the counter attack, but it was still a tough night for the Haws front men.
As the game wore on, the frustration began to show. Leishman & Swanson tangled and then got involved in a bit of verbals. As others got involved, Swanson seemed to lead with his head but the ref showed both players the yellow. Swanson is the type of player who get under the opponents skin, which often makes him a target. Craig Watt came of the bench to replace Wright and immediately found himself in the book for another challenge on Swanson as Haws looked like they were losing their discipline.
In amongst it all, there was still plenty of football being played, and Haws were trying to claw their way back into the game. Rose went close through McGachie, but the ball somehow stayed out although nobody was quite sure how. In the closing minutes, Leishman twice went close with surging runs from deep, but he couldn't find a finish, and the game ended 2-0 to the visitors.
Not the best sway to start the season in front of their home fans, but Haws can be pleased with the way they dug in after going a man down so early on in the game. The result leaves them second in their qualifying section, and they can still qualify for the next round of the League Cup if they can win against Stirling Uni at home this coming Saturday.
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