Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Palm Beach Sharks faced each other in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Semi Final at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre and in the end it was the home side that advanced to the final with a narrow and hard-fought win thanks to a lone Robbie Younis goal late in the first half of play.
Palm Beach Sharks proved themselves to be worthy opponents but Bonnyrigg White Eagles displayed all the class that made them such a formidable outfit in the regular Premier League season and full credit must go to coach Brian Brown and all his staff for the meticulous preparation of this well-oiled side.
In the ninth minute Arron Peterson for the home side entered the opposition area dangerously and fired across the entire face of goal. It was the opening salvo of this tightly contested game.
Both sides took the opportunity to size each other up as the game went ahead without too much goal mouth action until the 31st minute when Nikola Mirkovic for the Palm Beach Sharks fired over the crossbar, but the ball ended up in the stands and Bonnyrigg’s new goalkeeper James Chronopoulos wasn’t troubled with that attempt.
The Bonnyrigg White Eagles goal arrived in the 39th minute when Robbie Younis played a nice ball to Alexander Canak, who then fed it back to him on the edge of the goal area and the prolific Bonnyrigg goal scorer, with a delightfully placed ball, beat the opposition goalkeeper.
It was no more than Bonnyrigg White Eagles deserved and not unexpected that Younis should once again be the goalscorer after finishing the Premier League season as its top marksman. In the end it was the goal that decided the game and hence the value of such a clinically finisher such as Younis.
The second half’s first chance arrived in the 52ndminute when who else but Younis, from just outside the box, tested opposition goalkeeper Shane Vitakangas.
A marvellous chance followed for the home side shortly afterwards when David Vrankovic volleyed powerfully from close range after receiving a corner, but his shot was blocked by the courageous actions of Karl Dodd at full stretch virtually on his own goal line.
In the 82nd minute Bonnyrigg should really have doubled their lead when Arron Peterson dribbled his way superbly into the box only to be denied at the last minute by a brilliant diving save by goalkeeper Vitakangas. Seven minutes later the ball was played square to Younis from the left and he blasted his shot just wide of the left hand post.
The final will be played next Sunday at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre.
– By Joe Russo