View Photo Gallery | Discuss the Match | Create a Souvenir Newsprint
Rossvale FC travelled south to Kilmarnock to claim a 4-1 over Bonnyton Thistle yesterday. In the process they took a big leap towards possible promotion while substantially harming Bonnyton's chances of doing the same. A virtuoso performance from Kieran O'Hear was the main difference between the two sides, though Rossvale were the better side overall regardless.
Ayrshire was mild but sunny on this Saturday afternoon, with the game set to be a good promotion-fight clash between 5th and 9th place. Thistle were only four points off Rossvale in the league and three wins away from the top four.
It was the team in 5th though that took the lead with the first real chance of the match. Kieran O'Hear ran in between two Bonnyton defenders to get himself on to the end of a through ball around 14 yards out. The striker dispatched the bally coolly past Chris Murchie in the Bonnyton goal to put the away side in front inside the first ten minutes.
Bonnyton sought about immdiately forcing a route back into the game; James Ferguson worked some shooting space before firing wide on the edge of the area. Three minutes later Paul Young had a header saved from a corner.
The home side did manage to force themselves back in to the game when the refereee gave a penalty for a push inside the box. Eddie Ablorh stepped up to take the kick and struck low into the right corner to level the scores.
It had been a scrappy opening half hour with neither side creating an abundance of chances or stringing together some flowing moves. It had been fairly even up till now and one sensed it could be a slice of luck that would see someone go in front. It was Rossvale who grabbed that slice of luck, just after the half hour mark. Kieran O'Hear stepped up to take a penalty that was won on thirty-one minutes and he too chose to shoot to the goalie's right. Murchie guessed correctly but he couldn't keep out the troublesome O'Hear's penalty.
Rossvale continued to press and almost extended the lead five minutes later but Murchie was alert to make a great diving save from a header to keep the scores 2-1.
Bonnyton fashioned a couple of chances of their own as the half drew to a close. Ferguson spun and shot with his left foot from 14 yards after good work by David Stevenson - but goalkeeper Nicholas Speirs made a good stop. Greg Vernon was next to try his luck for Bonnyton as his shot from distance with his left foot rocketed towards goal, but sailed over.
With only seconds remaining in the first period, Bonnyton again upped the ante but to no avail. Keir White played an inch perfect ball in behind the defence from just inside his own half for Jackson Biggar to run on to on the left hand-side - but he blasted over from 16 yards. White himself then went close in the dying moments as a corner fell to his feet 10 yards from goal, but his half volley bounced wide of the near post.
With only a goal in it and a full period to go, would the home side be able to claw it back and win through? Or would Rossvale make Bonnyton pay for their missed chances and go on to win comfortably?
Half Time: Bonnyton Thistle 1-2 Rossvale FC
The second of the questions was the one answered as within minutes of the restart, Rossvale went further ahead. The away team came out all guns blazing in the second half, attacking from the off and won a penalty on fifty-three minutes - albeit in controversial circumstances as Bonnyton protested vigorously against the decision. Neverthelss, Kieran O'Hear stepped up to seal his hat trick by smashing the ball into the net past the helpless Murchie.
Bonnyton had not been at their best in the first half but still managed to fashion some decent chances and play some neat stuff, particularly in defence and midfield - but the team that came out for the first twenty minutes of the second half looked totally different. On the hour mark, Rossvale took advantage of this as O'Hear, continuing to cause problems, sprinted in behind the centre backs to get on the end of a ball over the top on the right and fire home with a great first-time strike on the edge of the box. The striker showed good instinct to gun in behind and cannon a fierce shot low past Murchie. 4-1 now and it was looking like a win for Rossvale was on the cards, despite there being just under half an hour left.
Bonnyton found themselves battling to try and find any way back into the game and with just under twenty minutes to go, came very close to doing so. Bonnyton hit the post with a strike from distance and Vernon tried to follow up and tap in but he just couldn't connect.
David Stevenson was continuing to try find a route back into the game for his team, almost literally. The midfielder's dribbling was proving a handful for the Rossvale players at times, and his technique was dangerous. On seventy-five minutes Stevenson skimmed the bar with a free kick from 25 yards. Bonnyton were pressing more now to reduce deficit. Stevenson then had a shot from distance after a run and saw it deflect into the path of Ablorh - but the striker couldn't get the ball out from his feet inside the box. Murchie then almost saw a looping header from sub Conor Clarke creep in - but the forward's effort dipped over the bar.
Rossvale were remaining calm at the back but Bonnyton were pressing for a goal and were unlucky not to grab one in the last ten minutes. The home side nearly made it 4-2 after some lovely build up play. The ball reached Ablorh who spun and shot on edge - only to see it fly just wide. Mnutes later Ally Richardson had a shot headed off the line by Robert Finnan following a corner.
So a good win for Rossvale but Bonnyton will be disappointed they did not play to the best of their ability. They played some nice stuff between defence and midfield but in the final third they lacked a cutting edge despite creating a good handful of chances. Rossvale were the more clinical today and had Kieran O'Hear to thank in particular.
Full Time: Bonnyton Thistle 1-4 Rossvale FC