Matchzone: Bonnyrigg Rose (H)
A young Kilmarnock B side progressed to the Second Round of the SPFL Trust Trophy following an impressive 3-1 victory against Bonnyrigg Rose at The BBSP Stadium, Rugby Park on Tuesday 1st August.
Alan Archibald selected a core group of academy graduates, supported by the experience of recent signing Kieran O’Hara who pulled on the Kilmarnock waterways inspired goalkeeper jersey for the first time. New loanee Tom Davies was also given a first run out in Killie colours.
The home side lined up in a rough 3-4-3 formation, anchored by a backline of Ruari Ellis, Jack Sanders and Ethan Brown. Tom Davies and Kian Leslie supported from the wings, with Ben Brannan and Ethan Mersey occupying more central positions. Steven Warnock and Aaron Brown assisted Bobby Wales in attack.
It was the Killie ‘keeper who would be forced into the first meaningful contribution of the game, getting down well to comfortably gather a driven cross into his six-yard box within the opening couple of minutes. The hosts showed attacking promise of their own moments later through left wing-back Tom Davies. The Wales youth international carried the ball towards Bonnyrigg’s defence before feeding Steven Warnock whose sublime swivel created space for a shot, which was held first-time by Michael Andrews.
Steven Warnock would prove to be a thorn in Rose’s side in the opening 10 minutes. His adventurous run into the right side of the penalty area concluded with a cutback into the path of Bobby Wales who met the pass first-time but struggled to make a strong enough connection to divert the ball goalwards from the edge of the box.
It took 17 minutes for Killie to find a way past the Rose ‘keeper; at the second attempt. Kian Leslie’s corner in front of the Main Stand was met by Jack Sanders’ powerful header. A superb stop parried away the first effort, but the lethal Bobby Wales was on-hand to stab home inside the six-yard box (1-0).
Killie went two-up after 20 minutes. Goalscorer Bobby Wales turned provider, showing great physicality before delivering a pinpoint cross from the left touchline. His ball was met on the volley by Steven Warnock who acrobatically fired back across goal and into the net (2-0).
Behind after two clinical Killie attacks, the hosts grew into the game in the following 15 minutes but without showing the same deadliness as their opponents in the final third.
The next major opportunity of the game would come just after the half-hour mark, and it was no surprise that the energetic Steven Warnock was at the heart of play. The No.10 recovered possession on the halfway line and drove 10 yards before finessing a through-ball into the path of Aaron Brown. Striding through on goal, the 18-year-old fired a low shot towards the back post, only to see his effort denied by the foot of the League Two side’s ‘keeper.
On the right touchline, Kian Leslie continued to show his typical characteristics as he utilised pace and trickery to weave past the Midlothian team’s defence. It was his cross which nearly found the next goal, with a defensive clearance glanced narrowly past the Rose centre-back’s own post. A fine piece of defending would deny a third as a powerful headed effort was cleared off the line from the resulting corner.
The hosts went close themselves through a header shortly before the half-time whistle. Joshua Grigor rose highest to meet an out-swinging free-kick from the left-wing, heading Rose’s best chance of the half narrowly wide.
There was just enough time for a final moment of action before the break. Tom Davies was convinced he had earned his side a penalty after skipping past a full-back and being upended as he progressed into the box. Rising to his feet with the expectation of seeing the referee pointing to the spot, he was instead flashed a yellow card for simulation, to the bemusement of many in the Frank Beattie Stand.
The visitors were quickest out of the dressing room in more ways than one, and it took a mere 19 seconds for Rose to half the deficit. A lofted ball from the right side was met by Alieu Faye who appeared caught off guard by his own team’s rapid restart, but done enough to scuff the ball into the bottom corner from around 12 yards (2-1).
Incredibly, Bonnyrigg almost found an equaliser a minute later as Ross Gray’s blasted effort was impressively punched away from goal by Kieran O’Hara.
Killie turned the tide after numerous waves of Rose attacks in the minutes that followed the restart. A quick counter was concluded by Aaron Brown who lofted over the ‘keeper to restore a two-goal lead with 51 minutes showing on the East Stand scoreboard (3-1).
Buoyed by his earlier goal, Aaron Brown began to carry the attack. He was next to fire at the target after displaying quick feet to skip past two defenders, but saw his shot blocked by a third inside the six-yard box.
Killie freshened things up on 60 minutes when Nathan Smith was called upon to replace Ben Brannan, who was given an hour following his return to the club on a two-year deal last week.
Darkness fell alongside the rain as the game entered the final 30 minutes, with both sides making changes to spark new life into the second half in response to a calming tempo. Both teams controlled spells of possession, but without reintroducing either keeper into play.
The next flashpoint would appear with 15 minutes remaining and essentially killed any chance of a comeback. Bonnyrigg substitute Smart Osadolor was shown a straight red card after a late altercation which followed Jack Sanders’ clearance from deep inside the Killie box.
Half-chances were all that fell for both sides in the final 10 minutes: Steven Warnock’s left-footed strike curled past the far left post, before Kieran O’Hara parried away a header bounced towards his goal from 12 yards out.
The hosts saw out the final minutes with a professional performance which secured a home tie against Dumbarton in the Second Round.
Result: Kilmarnock 3-1 Bonnyrigg Rose
Killie lineup: Kieran O’Hara, Ruari Ellis, Thomas Davies, Ethan Brown, Jack Sanders, Ethan Mersey, Aaron Brown (Zander Craik 87), Ben Brannan (Nathan Smi
th 61), Bobby Wales, Steven Warnock, Kian Leslie (Andrew Miller 69).
Rose lineup: Patrick Martin, Neil Martynuik, Kerr Young, Luke Mahady, Lee Currie, Ross Gray, Robbie McGale, Alieu Faye, Joshua Grigor, Reis Peggie, Conor Doan.
You can view the Killie goals – HERE.