LAING Park saw its biggest crowd since it opened in August, 2004, on Saturday when the Gowfers welcomed champions elect, Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, for the final game of the season, in the ACA Sports East Super League.
For the clash, manager Ian Gilzean made three changes to the side that had beaten Bo’ness United the previous week and so ensure their Super League status. Goalkeeper Craig Jamieson was back between the sticks while Mark Matthew replaced Robert Hendry in defence and Kevin Cumming was on for the injured Josh Perera. Bench spots went to John Roberts, Robert Hendry, Mike McIlravey, Andy Cowan, Brian Clark and Alan McSkimming.
Bonnyrigg took up the attack right from the kick-off resulting in a foul by Ferguson on Burrell. McLeish took the kick, but it was far too strong and went out the far side for a goal kick. Carnoustie’s Cumming then put a ball through for Watson to chase, but he fouled Bunyan to bring an end to the move.
Moments later, Steele forced a corner off Narey at the other end which nearly resulted in Bonnyrigg taking the lead when McLeish’s kick struck the inside of the far post and Robertson had to be alert to clear the danger.
Again Bonnyrigg attacked, this time with Thomson feeding a ball through for Steele, but Jamieson was out smartly clear. Bonnyrigg kept up the pressure and Burrell forced another corner, this time off Millar, but the kick by Thomson was over everyone and out the far side.
At the other end after Cook was fouled by Thomson, Gates sent the ball into the box, but it was just a shade too high and although Ferguson managed to get his head to it, he couldn’t direct it properly and it went past the post. Carnoustie came more into the game and Gates made a good run down the left then crossed for Watson, but his header was cleared off the line by Bunyan. Cumming was then fouled by Morrice 30 yards out, but Gates fired his kick into the defensive wall.
Gates was giving the visitors’ defence problems and hurried Woodburn into clearing for a corner which Cook took, into the near post, but the ball struck Watson and went out for a goal kick. Bonnyrigg went close again from a McLeish corner, but the ball was scrambled off the line by Matthew.
On 30 minutes the deadlock was broken when Robertson and Burrell clashed heads going for a high ball on the halfway line. The referee let play run on and McKENNA ran through and fired past Jamieson from inside the box. Both injured players were able to carry on after treatment.
Seven minutes later Shields broke through the Carnoustie defence, but hurried his shot and the Gowfers were glad to see his effort fly over the bar. The same player was then fouled 35 yards out by Millar and he took a short kick to Grady, but his shot was well wide. Just on the interval another bit of pressure by Carnoustie resulted in a corner, but the kick, taken by Gates, was punted up the park to safety by Woodburn.
Half-time: Carnoustie Panmure 0, Bonnyrigg Rose 1.
Gowfers’ Tonner required treatment right after the restart, following a clash in midfield with Woodburn, but was able to carry on. Steele forced a corner off Cook which was again taken by McLeish and Shields, from the edge of the box, blasted a shot which came back off the post and Tonner was on hand to clear upfield.
In 51 minutes Carnoustie made a change with Matthew being replaced by Roberts. Cumming and Cook combined well up the right, but unfortunately Cook’s cross came back off the bar with Burgess well beaten.
In 60 minutes Carnoustie made another change with McIlravey coming on for Narey. Burrell pulled down Roberts out on the right and Gates took the kick into the box, but although it went to Robertson, he was in an offside position. Robertson then put a long ball through for Watson to chase, but Woodburn and Burrell combined to snuff him out.
With more Carnoustie pressure, McIlravey won a corner off Woodburn, but his kick was punched clear by Burgess under pressure from Watson. The Gowfers gained another corner which was taken by McIlravey for Robertson to knock down to Watson, but he shot weakly past.
Gates then fouled McKenna on the left and the kick, taken by Thomson, was aimed for Burrell, but a timely intervention by Millar, cleared the danger. Bonnyrigg had a good chance to increase their lead when Ferguson lost his footing just outside the Gowfers’ box, leaving Grady a free shot at goal, but he shot well past.
In 80 minutes Cowan came on to replace Robertson for Carnoustie’s third change. Roberts fouled Burrell on halfway and the kick into the box, by McKenna found Shields, but Cook put in a great tackle to block his shot. In 85 minutes Shields was replaced by Archibald. Carnoustie almost drew level when a long-kick out by Jamieson was brought under control with his chest, by Watson and he struck a fierce shot from the edge of the box which was goalbound until Burgess made a brilliant save to turn the ball round the post.
A minute later, Bonnyrigg made a second change with Burrell being replaced by King and a minute later they sent Gray on for Morrice. Right at the death, Carnoustie had a last effort to level the score, but Gates’ shot was well over the bar.
Carnoustie Panmure: Jamieson, Narey (McIlravey 60), Ferguson, Tonner, D. Millar, Matthew (Roberts 51), Cook, Robertson (Cowan 80), Cumming, Watson, Gates. Substitutes not used: Hendry, McSkimming and Clark.
Bonnyrigg Rose: Burgess, McLeish, Morrice (Gray 87), Woodburn, Bunyan, McKenna, Grady, Burrell (King 86), Steele, Shields (Archibald 80), Thomson. Substitutes not used: Hendrie, S. Thomson, McAllum and Ellison.
Referee: Mr Ross McIntyre, Dundee.
ACA Sports East Super League
Results: Carnoustie Panmure 0, Bonnyrigg Rose 1, Hill of Beath 0, Musselburgh 3.
Bonnyrigg Rose are Champions and Bathgate Thistle are relegated.
ACA Sports East Super League final placings
P W L D F A Pts
Bonnyrigg Rose 20 13 3 4 48 23 43
Hill of Beath 20 11 4 5 39 23 38
Linlithgow Rose 20 10 5 5 42 32 35
Bo’ness United 20 7 7 6 25 26 27
Kelty Hearts 20 7 8 5 24 26 26
Camelon 20 7 9 4 30 29 25
Lochee United 20 7 10 3 33 37 24
Musselburgh 20 6 10 4 41 45 22
St Andrews 20 6 10 4 28 40 22
Carnoustie 20 5 9 6 32 39 21
Bathgate Thistle 20 5 9 6 27 48 21