Redpath grind it out at Pilrig Park

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BONNYRIGG Rose under-16 squad must still be trying to figure out how they lost 1-0 against Redpath Albion in their semi-final clash at Pilrig Park after creating so many good chances.

The only goal came in the first half of this excellent, free-flowing under-16 game, when the ever-alert Neil Ross ran on to a loose ball about 25 yards out to send a terrific half-volley over stranded Bonnyrigg keeper Jordan McCabe and into the empty net.

Redpath somehow managed to hang on to their lead to clinch a place in the final of this local cup event against Haddington Athletic, who beat Arniston Rangers 5-0 in the other semi-final.

It took only a solitary goal for the Edinburgh club to get the better of Bonnyrigg and what a non-stop struggle it was for the home side to protect their lead in the second half.

Aided by a strong defence and an outstanding goalkeeper in Stuart Laird, Albion safely negotiated themselves through to the final.

Time and time again, Bonnyrigg were denied a goal by Laird and his colleagues in the home ranks. It was particularly galling for Rose No.14, the very good Allan Thomson, who went so close on several occasions to making the breakthrough. On the left of the Bonnyrigg attack, Nairne Blackhall was another left shaking his head in disbelief at the number of times his shots were either saved or blocked.

But Redpath had their moments too in the second half, with Ross a real livewire of a player to contend with.

Although he hadn't nearly as much to do as the home keeper, McCabe was also in fine form in the visitors' goal.

It was like the Charge of the Light Brigade at times towards the Redpath goal, with shots to the right of Laird, shots to the left and shots above him, but none of the Bonnyrigg efforts managed to find the back of the net.

Bonnyrigg, though, contributed to their own downfall at times, with Jamie Brown in particular missing an open goal in the second half.

To their credit, the home defenders kept it nice and simple, whenever Bonnyrigg threatened their goal, they booted the ball clear.

Redpath never panicked and it was a good summing up at the finish when one of their coaches said: "We were able to grind out a result."

That was fair comment and it should also be stated that this game was another youth club football clash to be played in a great spirit by both clubs and was a relatively easy game for excellent match referee, Peter Morris, to control.

On any other day, Bonnyrigg Rose could easily have scored four goals but, there again, they will not run up against such a good defence and inspired goalkeeper as Redpath had on show in this semi-final.

While the home side's defence used their no-frills, no-messing about approach to the game to great effect, it wasn't until late in the encounter before the visitors started to really pass the ball about.

That good football increased the pressure on the Redpath defence, but they never broke ranks and they held on to their one-goal lead until gaining relief when the final whistle went.

Whenever Redpath Albion broke out of defence in the second half, they did look dangerous and Ross went close to adding another goal to his first-half effort with a header that crept just wide of a post.

Prior to the start of the game, it is doubtful if any of the Bonnyrigg Rose players had heard of Stuart Laird, but they will by now and the big Portobello High School pupil and his mates in the Redpath Albion defence were real local heroes in every respect for the winners.

Redpath Albion: Stuart Laird, Lewis Hogg, Jamie Osbourne, Connor Moore, Greig Killen, Connor Kirkland, Scott McKenzie, Scott Wilson, Callum Wilson, Neil Ross, Qasim Hashmat, Ben McElhone, Jordan Duthie, Eku Sarr, John Martin.

Bonnyrigg Rose: Jordan McCabe, Connor Gillespie, Allan Brown, David Paterson, Dale McLean, David Hamilton, Chris Wallace, Sean Ryan, Jamie Brown, Ross Alfrakis, Nairne Blackhall, Allan Thompson, William Hume.

Referee: Pater Morris.