Captain Chris Donnelly struck a late winner to send Bo’ness United top of the East of Scotland Premier Division after a 2-1 win over Tranent.
It was a winning return to Newtown Park for Bo’ness after fire caused damage to the pitch in June, but the East Lothian side will feel aggrieved to have lost a match they were on top of for long spells.
It was all the way back in March since Bo’ness played a home match in their own ground, and the team and support alike were eager to get off to a flyer at Newtown after the long-awaited redevelopment of the pitch.
The game was five minutes old when the first flashpoint occurred, Kyle Landers dribbled into the United box and tumbled theatrically to the ground, the officials were not impressed and Landers was carded for simulation.
The visitors were retaining possession well and had a great chance a minute after the penalty claim when an unmarked Bradley Barratt headed over Shaun Hill’s cross. Andy Jones was next to try his luck for Tranent when he drove in from the left wing, unluckily for him his drive from the edge of the box drifted inches wide of the post.
Landers almost got on the end of a fantastic Shaun Rutherford cross from full-back as Tranent pressed but totally against the run of play the East Lothian outfit fell behind.
Fraser Keast played in the overlapping Ryan Stevenson who advanced and sent in a great low cross from the right, Donnelly couldn’t get on the end of it and the ball bounced off the shin of defender Shaun Hill for an own goal.
Great defending kept Bo’ness ahead late on in the half, Barrett’s free-kick was punched clear by Andy Murphy into the path of Sean Murphy whose volley was cleared from the goal-line by the well positioned Stuart Hunter.
Bo’ness were much improved after the interval and had decent chances missed by Keast and Donnelly. A superb flowing move saw Tom Grant latch onto a cushioned Brian Morgan header at the edge of the penalty area, the forward took a great touch but then shot over.
Hill had a great chance to grab a goal at the right end this time after hesitation in the Bo’ness backline and should have did better than blaze over.
Into the last 15 minutes and the league leaders piled on the pressure as they sought an equaliser yet Murphy was not seriously tested.
A succession of corners were well defended by Bo’ness and just as it looked like the defence would not be breached, Tranent finally made a set-piece count. Barratt’s corner was initially headed clear but only into the path of substitute Lewis Hawkins who leathered the ball into the top corner to level the match.
Hawkins was only on the park for 90 seconds and it was an excellent, composed strike.
The game was petering out until the dramatic finish to the game in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Bo’ness were awarded a free-kick near half-way and Max Christie urged his tall defenders forward for one last attack.
Craig Comrie flighted the ball into the penalty area, Hunter flicked the ball into the path of Donnelly whose left foot volley found the net past the helpless Inglis.