Table-toppers post vital win ahead of Bo’ness crunch

Bonnyrigg Rose 1Linlithgow Rose 2

THE Linlithgow committee men were in better spirits at the final whistle than after their last visit to this neck of the woods. Then, following a 3-1 defeat, they sacked Dave Baikie all too publicly out on the New Dundas Park pitch.

Chairman David Roy and his cohorts are a hard bunch to please, having been used to seeing their team enjoy success on a regular basis over the years. It rankles with them that Rose haven’t won the Super League title since 2007.

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But it might not be too long before Lithgae can look forward to being crowned as the East Region’s top dogs once again. A win over arch-rivals Bo’ness this weekend would take them 12 points clear at the top.

Barring a major collapse in the second half of the campaign, that lead would put former Hearts man Mark Bradley on course to savour a title triumph in his first full season in charge, as Max Christie did at Bonnyrigg last term.

Bradley is way too long in the tooth to be counting any chickens yet, but he was entitled to look a contented man after his side edged out Bonnyrigg in a peach of a match in Midlothian.

“It sets us up nicely for the Bo’ness game this weekend and, if we can also win that one, which we know won’t be easy, then it allows us to increase that gap on them.”

Bradley summed this up as “a proper good game of football” and there surely wasn’t anyone in the crowd who could have disagreed. It had chances aplenty, goal-line clearances, fantastic saves from both goalkeepers and two teams trying to play the game the way it should be by moving the ball about quickly and incisively on the ground.

Some of the stuff Linlithgow, in particular, produced in the first half was a joy to watch while Bonnyrigg’s play was slick at times as well.

Adam Nelson, Lithgae’s stand-in captain, opened the scoring with a cross-cum-shot from 35 yards that looped over Andy Carlin’s head.

Bonnyrigg levelled through a piledriver from Kris Renton early in the second-half and enjoyed the ascendancy for a spell thereafter. The league leaders, though, secured their ninth league win in ten games when Tommy Coyne scored from the spot after he’d won the penalty after getting in behind Kevin McLeish.

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Christie has now seen his side lose three games on the trot but, on this occasion, Bonnyrigg had no reason whatsoever to feel embarrassed.

Alex King, who was twice denied by David Hay in the first-half, had a great chance to earn them a point, sending his shot agonisingly wide after finding himself clean through just after Coyne had restored the visitors’ lead. “It’s as sore as it gets for us as we played really well,” said Christie. “Performance-wise that was about full pelt from us and I felt we were in the ascendancy when they made it 2-1.”

Bonnyrigg Rose: Carlin, McLeish, Gray, Woodburn, O’Hanlon, Burrell, King, Roseburgh (Shields 75), Archibald, Grady, Renton. Subs: Thomson, Hamilton, Dunn, Ellison.

Linlithgow Rose: Hay, Gibson, Fleming (Wilson 46), McKenzie, Ovenstone, Nelson, McArthur, Shirra, Strickland (Smith 90), Coyne, Herd. Subs: Manson, MacLennan, Dunn.

Referee: G Ross.

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