Bonnyrigg Rose 3
(after extra time)
Stow manager Fraser Riddell is on a recruitment drive after a lack of substitutes cost his side a spot in the South Cup quarter-finals.
Riddell was forced to start himself to ensure Stow could field a team – but they looked to be heading through against Bonnyrigg Rose when they went 2-0 up.
However, while Rose could bring on five substitutes, two of whom scored, Stow had no-one, and tiredness eventually told as they gave up their lead and lost in extra time.
Riddell is now looking to bolster his squad as they face a fight to remain in Border Amateur League Division ‘A.
He said: “We are disappointed to be out but I am really proud of my players. It is really hurting us at the moment, having such a small squad, so we are looking for new players to come on board.”
Missing four key players, it looked ominous for Stow against a side who had hammered Leithen Rovers 7-1 in the previous round.
But it was Stow who took a shock early lead in blustery conditions. After Ewan Riddell’s effort was deflected over, the subsequent corner by Ryan Grant was swept in by James Runciman on seven minutes.
Bonnyrigg responded strongly and only a last-ditch save by goalkeeper Tom Kerr and some brave challenges by Craig Wood denied the Midlothian side.
Despite the visitors’ pressure, Stow went further ahead on the half hour as a mistake in the Rose backline allowed Bruce Runciman to go clean through and finish high into the net.
Ewan Riddell wasn’t far off making it 3-0 at the start of the second half with a near-post header which went wide, but Bonnyrigg completely dominated the remainder of the game as Stow began to toil.
The visitors deservedly pulled a goal back on 64 minutes with a sweet strike by Stuart Duncanson and were then denied what looked a certain penalty by referee John Robertson, with Marc McAskill upended by James Runciman in the box. And when McAskill hammered a shot off the Stow crossbar with five minutes left, it looked as if the homesters were going to hang on.
But, with two minutes left, they were cruelly denied. Substitute Calum Roberts fired a shot towards goal from 25 yards, which took a massive deflection and spun into the bottom corner of Kerr’s goal.
Stow’s luck ran out in extra time when Bonnyrigg substitute Blair Matthewson’s wind-assisted cross flew into the top corner and, although James Runciman had a late chance for Stow, the visitors held out.