Last weekend Allan Ramsey scored the winner that just about sealed Saints’ position in the East Region Super League. This week it was the decision of the referee to send off the experienced midfielder that totally changed the pattern of a game that United were desperately unlucky not to take anything from.
Saints boss Jim Hardie was forced into one change with Sam Buchan replacing Ryan Dignan who had not recovered from an ankle injury sufficiently to start the game, while Bonnyrigg Rose shuffled their pack with tough games to come.
It was obvious from the start that the game was going to be won in midfield as both sides battled for early supremacy on a pitch that was surprisingly spikey after the heavy rain during the run up to the game. United were first to threaten when a move resulted in Sam Buchan pushing on but McLeish cleared the ball for a throw.
Then Buchan fed Sutherland but the striker was judged to be offside by the far side linesman, a decision that looked to be tight.
Buchan and MacRae combined but, as the full back overlapped, a poor pass by Buchan left his team-mate in no mans land.
United had just about shaded the first 10 minutes of the game but were given a warning when a Saints attack broke down and Steele was set free, unchallenged, up the left wing but his cross-come-shot drifted out for a goal kick.
Steele was beginning to become a thorn in United’s side and he broke free again, once more firing wide. The big forward was then lucky to get away with a reckless challenge on McInnes while Suttie found himself lectured for a soft foul.
Rose had two corners in quick succession and, as McInnes cleared the danger, Patrick was unceremoniously dumped on the ground by a challenge from Sean Buchan.
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The visitors were enjoying a fair amount of pressure and McKenna broke free from the shackles of MacRae but Bennett came out narrowing the angle and deflected the shot wide.
United’s Buchan did very well with an acrobatic cross under pressure from McLeish and Dunn was forced to put the ball behind. The resultant corner was only cleared as far as Ramsay but last week’s goal hero put his effort high over the bar.
Patrick did well to get to the byline and cut the ball back but Burrell headed the ball behind out of keeper Burgess’s arms. Porteous met a McInnes corner with a looping header but, as Rattray challenged the keeper, he was adjudged to have fouled him.
Sutherland found himself booked after 37 minutes by the referee for delaying a free kick for the second time. United had a great chance as Buchan fed the ball through to Sutherland but Rose’s Buchan did well to hold him off and it went through to Burgess. Suttie was booked for a late challenge on McKenna.
The second half started with the visitors on top and Rattray was booked with 50 minutes on the clock for a silly challenge on Grady. When the free kick came in from Burrell, Bennett did well to turn and it kick over the bar.
An incident spotted by the assistant referee in the Bonnyrigg box saw Ramsey for Saints and McKenna for Bonnyrigg booked while MacRae was penalised for a foul on the United left.
On the hour mark, the referee changed the face of the game completely. Steele made a run into the box with Ramsay, the centre forward went down as the two clashed and the referee adjudged that Ramsay had denied a goalscoring opportunity, sent the midfielder off and pointed to the penalty spot. McLeish stepped up and converted.
United regrouped and went for an equaliser, Porteous was flattened in the box by a challenge from Dunn but the referee refused United’s appeals. Patrick was booked when he protested at another decision.
A great move by United saw McInnes fire over after good work by MacRae and McMullan, then Bonnyrigg decided to freshen things up by replacing Steele and McKenna with McCallum and Paliczka.
Rattray showed his calmer side as he cleared an effort from McCallum from just in front of goal.
However, Rose were now well on top and smelled a second goal. Grady made a great run down the left before losing control under the challenge of Bennett.
United had a rare chance when a Patrick throw was flicked on by Porteous to Buchan but he could only direct his header at Burgess.
Bonnyrigg netted their second when Grady lost his man who bore down on goal, Bennett came out but the Rose man slipped past and knocked the ball into the open net.
Rattray was the second Saints man to see red when he was shown a second yellow for dissent as United completed the game with only nine men.