The second half started with Bonnyton trying to make up for their missed chances in the first 45 while Caley pushed higher and higher up the park and began to enjoy more spells in possession. They disrupted Bonnyton’s passing game and the ingenuity of Banks at the back and his team-mate Milligan’s pace up top begun to take control after the opening exchanges.
Milligan showed his drive, pace and trickiness as he won his team a penalty following an ill-timed sliding challenge in the box 12 minutes into the second half. Smith stepped up and slotted the ball home calmly to the delight of the home fans who now had something to cheer about after holding out the visitors for so long.
That wasn’t all they had to cheer about.
Caley didn’t let up after that goal and four minutes later they grabbed a second goal through Kieron Milligan. The attacker more than deserved his goal and it would prove to be the all-important winner. A throw in on Caley’s left-hand side was flicked on and Milligan punced onto the bouncing ball and swiftly took it under control. He darted inside from the wing with the ball at his feet and after advancing 15 yards and into the box he shaped his body and stroked the ball home with confident composure past Murray’s left-hand post.
Bonnyton had just less than 20 minutes to notch an equaliser and with the sun still scorching Caley were able to sit deep and block every attempt that Bonnyton manufactured. Such was the effectiveness of the home team’s tactics they barely even allowed Bonnyton to create many clear-cut opportunities. Their lack of cutting edge had been punished and now they were chasing an equaliser just to stay in the tie.
Kennedy had the best chance for Bonnyton as he raced through on goal with only one defender for company but Banks did his job to force the midfielder into an early shot off a through ball through the middle and Edgar rushed out to stop the effort.
Edgar and his back four were also to thank for keeping out Neilson, Reid and sub Jamie Hamilton later on in the game as the boys in yellow and black looked to hold on for a massive win, following their 3-1 defeat in the league earlier in the season.
Bonnyton continued to drive forward at every opportunity but it looked as if their lack of a crucial finish was coming back to haunt them on this day and Caley’s defence proved were stuffy and hard to break down.
With Reid just about to line up another ball into the Caley area the ref blew for full time and the home players rejoiced with each other and flung their hands into the air before all shook hands. The Prestwick side had showed they wanted the win and they were joyous come full time on 70 minutes.
While the home side were efficient at the back and hard-working across the field, Bonnyton were left to rue not being clinical enough, particularly in the first half. Nonetheless this was a very good game of football and onlookers agreed. For a pitch that barely held out due to the week’s rain and was only playable thanks to a patch of sun, there was a lot of attractive football, both on the ground and through the air at times.
While neutrals would have liked the game - played in good fighting spirits too and refereed very well – Bonnyton players and fans would have hated it. And Caley fans and players would have loved it.
This was a game played on a typically Scottish park in not-so-typical Scottish sun - which produced naturally Scottish dirt and sweat at the end! And, perhaps, a bit of blood and tears.
Caley now march on to the semi final of the BFM Cup whereas Bonnyton are left in the Barr Homes Cup and sit third in the league.