On a crisp and sunny November Sunday morning, Cramond FC came into the game knowing that a win would send them to the top of the league after achieving promotion to the division the previous season. For added spice, the teams are due to play each other in the semi-final of the cup at the same venue next weekend. Suffice to say it is set up nicely.
In a fantastic match that ebbed and flowed right until the end, Bonnyrigg rescued a draw with 2 goals in the final 3 minutes and some excellent football. Cramond’s Ben Martin notched up a brilliant hat-trick as his team appeared to have consolidated the win until a pair of injuries curtailed their rhythm.
Cramond FC took a 2 goal lead half way through the second half and in a sign of things to come, doggedly fought back to close the gap before half time. Immediately after the break, Cramond restored their two goal advantage and it was 4-2 with a little over a quarter of an hour remaining.
For a few minutes, Bonnyrigg looked to have conceded to the defeat, but they took a relaxed attitude to playing some good football and steadily ramped up the intensity going into the final stages.
With 3 minutes remaining a sublime goal inspired them to force the point and they attacked wherever they could with probing through balls and dangerous free-kicks until they were granted their reward in the final minute.
After 2 minutes the first meaningful action came from Bonnyrigg’s Aaron Abrahams controlling the ball well and releasing a good pass to set up play for a shot from Michael McFadzean. Then Cramond went up the other end and played Brodie McDiarmid in down the left. He cut inside and took a fine and deft shot towards the far stanchion, going close.
Cameron Stone and Ben Martin had a quick and clever interchange for Cramond in the right back zone before pressing forward but Bonnyrigg rescued the ball and had soon won the game’s first corner, following up with continued pressure on the Cramond goal. The home side’s Kesar Hassan made a long clearance after preventing a goal-scoring opportunity for Bonnyrigg and Brodie McDiarmid picked it up and was able to play a good pass down the line to Jack Howard on the attack.
Again McDiarmid was showing his creative side with a lobbed pass into the path of a colleague in the box but Bonnyrigg’s Matthew Blakewell showed composure and dealt with it, heading the ball backwards to his keeper Jack Deegan to collect. Then, Matthew McKinley for Crammond got the ball with fine control and was able to go past a couple of players before being tackled well.
On 9 minutes, Deegan made an excellent save to prevent a Cramond goal after a swift break. Then McDiarmid set about applying the pressure again by coming down the right, cutting inside the box, twisting and turning and winning a corner. This was crossed deep and fast and if any Cramond players had got on the end of it would surely have been a chance but it bounced right on through the area.
Soon Bonnyrigg’s Paul Allan turned well in attack, dropped off and laid on a good pass out to Reece Bertram down the right who slowed down the attack and returned the ball with intelligence to Allan. Cramond had retrieved the ball in defence with McDiarmid with another ball down the right to Howard followed by Ben Martin going looking for the ball with a fine run. Matthew McKinley saw it but it was well intercepted.
The pressure from Cramond continued as McDiarmid got to the byline on the right and did well to pull the ball back to Howard in the centre. His nicked shot was good and well considered but scooped past the wrong side of the post and into the side netting.
Bonnyrigg had their chance to go on the attack with Allan winning the ball and passing forward to Andrew Denholm before more pressure from Cramond lead to a corner which was crossed deep again by McDiarmid and reached Lewis Brodie who took one touch and then fired it up in to the roof of the net to make it 1-0 to the home side.
Bonnyrigg broke forward from the restart and Denholm got a chance running into the box but Cramond stood fast and marshalled the ball out for a goal kick. Then they were up the other end with good play down the left wing by Alfie Torbet and McKinley leading to a corner. McDiarmid took it well once again and a snap side-footed shot was cleared well by Abrahams for Bonnyrigg off the line.
It allowed a break with some excellent play for Bonnyrigg, Abrahams releasing a side-foot pass to his team mate who came inside and shot low and hard to the near post forcing Cramond’s GK into the save.
On the 19th minute, Cramond extended their lead with a great run through the centre by Martin being seen and located by McDiarmid with a first time ball, excellently executed. Martin took it in his stride and glanced it past the on-rushing keeper to make it 2-0.
McDiarmid was soon involved again, stepping inside on the edge of the box and shooting low and hard to the bottom right of the goal. Deegan in goal for Bonnyrigg made a fantastic save, palming it on to the post after a stretching dive to his side. It was a bittersweet moment though as the landing was obviously awkward to have caused a strain and Deegan came off in some pain to be replaced by Aidan Gibb.
At 27 minutes, Andrew Denholm collected the ball and dropped off, playing a well timed pass for Rose teammate Allan to get on to but Cramond’s Charlie Cumming did excellently to come in between and shield the ball for his keeper to retrieve.
At the half hour mark, Sean O’Donnell for Bonnyrigg laid on a great through ball to Paul Allan whose first touch in to the area set up his next brilliantly, and suddenly a fizzing low shot diagonally in to the bottom right of the goal had brought it back to 2-1 for the away side.
At the restart, Rose carried on playing with verve and zip, piling on the pressure seeking out an equaliser but Cramond broke away down the right and Gibb came off his line for Bonnyrigg with a great call and collected the ball.
For Cramond, McDiarmid had a sweet turn in the midfield and tried a through ball but Ethan Singh saw it and intercepted. His clearance eventually found a Cramond foot though and came back forward winning a free kick in a dangerous position for the home team. It was crossed in and headed over the bar for the final act of the first half.