Newburgh travelled back to Newtown Park to visit Bo’ness Athletic in the Alex Jack Cup. Less than a month ago free-flowing Bo’ness brushed Burgh aside with ease. On Friday, whilst the match outcome was the same, the wounded Burgh showed a lot of bite and weren’t lying down as easily this time and snapped back at the hosts to cause a few warnings of their own.
A lot has happened to the club since that night a month ago as new manager Rikki McNeill took charge of his first game with his player-assistant filling the left back berth. Despite only one training session with his new squad, the level of performance, energy and determination was notable in a match that was always going to be a mountain against a free-scoring side.
It was Burgh that started brightly with two good early chances that fell to Connall White and Adam Wilson who both shot just over with the left hand side of the Bo’ness defence seemingly absent. It was a good warning shot against the bows that showed the hosts Burgh were serious.
The opening goal came in the 13th minute, ultimately a defensive slip that allowed Main to run onto the loose ball and dink over the advancing Chalmers. On another day it might not have been so costly, but a side like Bo’ness will make you pay at every opportunity.
It was a game where defensive mistakes were costly, and Burgh punished Bo’ness three minutes later when a soft back pass from Paterson was pounced on by Mitchell Sharp who ran on to clinically dispatch past the keeper for the equaliser.
Burgh returned the gesture on 32 minutes when a stray pass backwards from just inside the Bo’ness half didn’t reach it’s target and it was quickly 3vs2 and Macdonald took the ball round Chalmers to slot home.
Two quick fire goals from Shearer on 37 and 39 minutes effectively the mountain even more steep. The first was from the penalty spot after Chalmers had brought down the striker through on goal. Another loose piece of defending on the edge of the Burgh box saw possession lost and quickly the ball was flicked through to Shearer for his second over the advancing Chalmers for 4-1.
Bo’ness added the fifth on 57 minutes with a slick move from the back before accelerating quickly towards the Burgh goal and a swift ball across the box fell to Shearer who calmly slotted home for his hat-trick.
Newburgh were not giving up at all and really were working their socks off chasing down from front to back and making life as difficult as possible. On 61 minutes Burgh scored arguably the goal of the game when a beautiful ball into the box from Adam Wilson was powered into the far corner from Kellar Harris’s head to make it 5-2.
The work-rate from the Burgh side was exceptional against a high-tempo and skilful was impressive. Inevitably they couldn’t keep that level for the whole game and as they tired late on Bo’ness netted two late strikes with Robertson volleying home at the far post and then Meechan hooking in a shot on 86 minutes.
Whilst on the face of it, it was a heavy defeat. Once again Bo’ness showed what a great side they are as they are surely destined to go on to bigger things on their sharp upward trajectory, it was a very different Burgh performance from that one a month ago and one that deserves a lot of recognition (as many might make that assumption from the scoreline). The work-rate, team unity and effort was notable from just that short spell under the new guidance of Rikki McNeill and Bryan Wilson.
A lot of hard work still lies ahead and the need to eradicate individual mistakes, but on the basis of the performance and effort from the team, there’s a lot to be pleased about and I’m sure this will carry on to future games.