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Bonnyrigg Rose 3-2 Stranraer

Scorers: Bonnyrigg Rose – Gray (28), Mitchell (37) and Martyniuk (Pen 83); Stranraer – Walker (13) and Watt (86)

A disappointing showing saw Stranraer finish 2022 with a defeat away to Bonnyrigg Rose.

The Blues had taken the lead but found themselves behind at the break before losing goalkeeper Luke Scullion to a serious injury with about 15 minutes left to play.

The 20-year-old underwent lengthy treatment on the pitch before he was replaced by George O’Connor.

The substitute goalkeeper’s first job was to pick the ball out of the net after Neil Martyniuk thumped home a penalty.

Luke Watt managed to pull one back almost immediately but the Blues could not find a leveller.

Jamie Hamill’s men have not had their troubles to seek on their travels and came into the game at New Dundas Park without Dean Hawkshaw.

Ikechi Eze was given a place in the starting line-up and it was his team-mate Josh Walker who got the first goal of the game.

The midfielder collected a loose ball in midfield and with the defence backing off opted to fire home from fully 25 yards.

Bonnyrigg had carved out a couple of half chances as they attempted to get back into the game and it was no surprise when the equaliser came.

The visitors were caught napping at a quick throw in and despite Scullion twice making saves the ball fell to Ross Gray, who slammed home.

Kieran Mitchell wasted an opportunity to get his side in front moments later but the striker was on target eight minutes before the break.

Again, Stranraer’s defending was not the best and Mitchell was on hand to blast home from inside the six-yard box.

Stranraer would definitely need to improve after the break if they were to take something from the game and Craig Ross failed to make a proper connection with a volley five minutes after the restart.

A double change – Dylan Forrest and Eze making way for Matty Grant and James Hilton – and a change in formation sparked the Blues back into life.

Many of the travelling support called for an equaliser after a scramble in the box.

Walker was again involved as his teasing cross was first touched onto the post and then goalkeeper Michael Andrews managed to stop the ball crossing the line on the follow up.

The goalkeeper then pulled off a save to deny Hilton before Grant and Craig Malcolm were denied in quick succession.

However, with momentum firmly in Stranraer’s favour, it swung back to the home side when Scullion and Mitchell collided as both raced onto a looping ball towards the visiting goal.

Referee Craig Fordyce pointed to the spot but more concerning was that Scullion was down on the turf for seven minutes as he underwent treatment.

The shotstopper was stretchered off to applause from the crowd and Martyniuk blasted the resultant spot kick beyond replacement O’Connor.

It looked like game over but Stranraer found a near immediate response when Watt rose highest to head home Walker’s corner.

With a substantial amount of stoppage time to be played, it was hoped there would still be chances but Bonnyrigg managed to stifle the game and break up any attempts at momentum.

The closest Stranraer came to finding a leveller was from another Walker corner but Andrews punched clear under pressure and under his crossbar.

A disappointing result for the Blues who had hoped to end the year with a first win away from home this season and a place in the play-offs.

Now, they have to wait until 2023 and a trip to Ochilview as they look to get the challenge going again.

Bonnyrigg Rose: Andrews, Young, Grigor, Martyniuk, Gray (Brett 60), Doan, Currie, Gray (Connolly 87), Barrett, Mitchell, Smith (Hunter 73).
Not used: Hall, Khan, Forbes and Weir.

Stranraer: Scullion (O’Connor 82), Ross, Robertson, Girvan, McIntosh, Eze (Grant 54), Gallagher, Forrest (Hilton 54), Watt, Walker, Malcolm (Kouider-Aissa 90+1).
Not used: Ellis, Brady and McLean.

Referee: Chris Fordyce
Attendance: 622
HT: 2-1