JUNIOR FOOTBALL: Unwanted four in a row for Irvine Meadow
BONNYRIGG Rose joined Pollok, Largs and Auchinleck to become the fourth team to knock Meadow out at the quarter-final stage in as many years.
And the sad fact was that although Rose were no more than a workmanlike side, Meadow lacked the guile to play their way through them and, all too often resorted to long ball tactics which were meat and drink to the big visiting defenders.
With Richie Barr suspended and Mick Hughes carrying a fresh injury, centre half Chris Robertson was press-ganged into attack, but although he showed a willingness throughout, his best days as a striker are probably behind him and he seldom troubled the visiting back line.
However it would be unfair to point the finger of blame at the gamekeeper turned poacher as far too many of his team mates failed to make an impression on what was the biggest occasion of the season.
In a game of few scoring opportunities it was Meadow who had the first chance when keeper Mark Weir blocked a close range Garry Fleming effort but the home side were dealt a blow in 15 minutes when the hard-working Gareth Turner limped off and was replaced by Liam McGuinness.
The sub arrived just in time to see Robertson's glancing header from Chris Strain's left wing corner fly wide then David McGeown and David Hamilton got in each other's way as they went for the same ball and the opportunity was lost.
Mark Campbell headed a Sean Grady cross clear as Rose began to find their feet then a terrific turn by Stephen Thomson left two Meadow defenders chasing fresh air but his cross was scrambled clear.
Rose were forced into a change in 35 minutes when Paul Sheilds pulled up with a hamstring injury and Peter Crouch lookalike James Steele came on to replace him and he was only on the park a few minutes before the visitors took the lead as a static home defence allowed centre half David Dunn a clear run at a right wing free kick and he headed the ball past hesitant keeper Michael Wardrope.
Steele shot straight at Wardrope with the goal at his mercy right on the interval whistle then, after the break, Fleming and Robertson did likewise at the other end before Wardrope made an excellent save from a Grady rocket.
A terrific break from defence saw the ball whizz between Strain, McGeown, McGuinness and Robertson to Hamilton but again Meadow could not apply the finishing touch then their best chance arrived in 69 minutes when a Strain cross was headed back across goal by Robertson but McGeown just could not get his toe to the ball at the far post.
As the game wore on the home side were finding it increasingly difficult to break through a packed midfield which was brilliantly marshalled by Alex King and, afer a couple of long-range efforts flew past the home goal Rose wrapped it up with a somewhat fortuitous penalty ten minutes from time when Steele seemed to fall over Mark Campbell as the Meadow defender was trying to get back on his feet after fluffing a clearance, the ref pointed to the spot, and Kevin McLeish belted the ball home to leave the Irvine outfit to contemplate another barren cup campaign.