9 man Bo’ness exited the South Challenge Cup today in an exciting cup tie at Hannah Park. 1-1 at H.T. , 2-2 at F.T. and 3-3 A.E.T. but a place in the next round eluded Bo’ness who lost the penalty shoot-out 4-3.
On loan Kelty Hearts striker Finlay Shearer was thrust straight into the starting line-up for today’s game. Bo’ness started the match on the front foot, with an early chance falling to Robertson. Spotting the Shotts goalkeeper positioned at the edge of his 18-yard box, Robertson attempted a looping header. The ball soared tantalisingly close to the goal but ultimately cleared the bar due to its pace.
Just two minutes later, Main received a pass down the right, successfully evading the offside trap. His shot across goal was well saved by the keeper, who parried it beyond the post.
Shotts responded with two long-range attempts, neither of which troubled Currid as they sailed high over the bar.
On the 34-minute mark, Bo’ness took the lead. This time, Main, operating from the left, outwitted his marker and ventured into the box. Deceiving the keeper, who anticipated a shot, Main cleverly rolled the ball across to the unmarked Robertson, who calmly slotted it home.
Robertson had two more opportunities to extend the lead, with both attempts originating from free-kicks at distance. The first struck the crossbar, while the second was adeptly saved by the keeper, diving towards his far post.
Shotts managed to level the score just before half-time. A long ball down the left was delivered across the goal to Shotts’ No. 9, who curled a precise left-footed shot past Currid.
At Half Time, an injury forced Simpson to be replaced by Shanks.
Within the first two minutes of the second half, Shotts had a golden opportunity to take the lead. A defensive mix-up allowed Shotts’ No. 9 to seize the ball from Snedden, but he sent his shot high over the bar from 12 yards out.
On the 60-minute mark, R. Weir and Shearer were substituted for MacDonald and Meechan in an attempt to inject fresh impetus into the game.
However, Shotts began to dominate and appeared more likely to score. They narrowly missed an opportunity to take the lead when a shot rolled just past the keeper’s left-hand post. Bo’ness breathed a sigh of relief, but it was short-lived as Shotts struck four minutes later. A corner was delivered to the back post, where Shotts’ No. 9 rose to head it back across goal to No. 15, who nodded it towards the net. Although Currid got a hand to it, it wasn’t enough to prevent the goal.
Mackay received a second yellow card, reducing Bo’ness to ten men.
As the game entered its final ten minutes, Meechan was thwarted from point-blank range. A well-driven pass from Robertson bounced at his feet, but he couldn’t direct it towards the goal, and his effort sailed wide of the right-hand post.
In the dying moments, Bo’ness secured an equaliser. In a move almost identical to the previous goal, Robertson was again the architect from the right. His cross this time deflected off a Shotts defender’s foot, falling perfectly for Meechan, who calmly dispatched a shot from eight yards out, leaving the keeper with no chance.
Paterson was forced off due to injury and replaced by Turnbull, leaving Bo’ness with no outfield substitutes on the bench.
The second half whistle blew with the score level at 2-2.
The contest proceeded to extra time in search of a winner, and within a minute, Shotts seized the lead again with a remarkable goal. Shanks rose to head clear a cross into the box, but the ball fortuitously fell to Shotts’ No. 6. With a single touch, he unleashed a thunderous strike from around 26 yards out, eluding a diving Currid. Although Currid got a slight touch, he couldn’t deny Shotts’ No. 6 a splendid goal. Snedden was then immediately red carded for a second yellow card.
In the second half of extra time, Bo’ness conjured an astonishing equaliser, displaying remarkable resilience despite their numerical disadvantage. Robertson delivered a corner from the left, met by MacDonald, who eluded his marker with a diving header, sending it crashing into the net, much to the delight of the travelling Bo’ness supporters.
The game concluded 3-3, setting the stage for a penalty shootout.
Shotts began with a missed penalty, as Currid produced a splendid diving save to his left.
MacDonald had the opportunity to give Bo’ness the lead in the shootout, but his penalty cannoned off the crossbar, keeping the score level at 3-3.
Ultimately, Shotts held their nerve, converting their final penalty to secure a 4-3 shootout victory. Shanks’ agonising strike against the crossbar marked the end of an enthralling contest that tested the mettle of both teams.
Bo’ness Athletic may have departed from the South Challenge Cup, but their spirited performance cannot be denied.
Final Score: Shotts Bon Accord v Bo’ness Athletic (AET, 4-3 Pens)
The South Challenge Cup, Second Round, North-East Zone