Bo’ness ran riot against Super League title holders Linlithgow, with Darren Gribben coming from his sick bed to notch two great goals in a 4-1 derby victory.
Boss Alan McGonigal was on holiday so coach Steve Kerrigan took the side and was delighted to have done a demolition job on their fiercest rivals, who had two players sent off.
“Before the game we said we had to win to keep us in with a shout at the title, and we did. That was what we were aiming for and the lads did a tremendous job not just in winning the game but the manner in which we carried it out.
“Beating Linlithgow was a must-win for us if we were to have any chance of taking the flag come May next year,” Kerrigan emphasised. “It’s wins like this, that win you titles.”
Both sides created several chances early on but could not find the net. That all changed in the 34th minute when Gribben picked up the ball just inside the Rose half. He drove down the centre with Steven Hislop drawing a couple of defenders away from him.
Gribben then passed a superb ball out to Nicky Walker on the right and his low drive found the net for the opening goal. Only a couple of minutes later and Robert Sloan missed a sitter which would have given them a two-goal cushion. Then, just before half time Sloan drove into the Rose box before being upended for a penalty. Hislop stepped up but hit the post whereupon Andy Scott slammed home the rebound for a second Bo’ness goal.
Into the second half, and things went from bad to worse for Linlithgow when midway through the half they had John Ovenstone sent off with a red for a crude tackle on Scott.
From the resultant free kick Bo’ness went three up with a remarkable goal. Gribben, from fully 35 yards out, sent the ball up and over into the top near corner for a stunning strike.
If things were bad for Linlithgow now, worse was to follow, when Andy Shirra was sent off for raising his hands at Ian Nimmo following a free kick by Colin Strickland.
Linlithgow had to find a way back into the game and in the 67th minute they pulled a goal back. The ball was played into Roddy MacLennan in the Bo’ness box. He lost possession out to Tommy Coyne who slid the ball past Mark Peat.
If they thought that was a sign of a comeback they were wrong though, for only a minute later Gribben struck again. Linlithgow were stretched at the back when the ball was played out wide to him on the left wing. With no one near him he drove into the Rose box before rifling in a low shot past Christie to restore Bo’ness’ three-goal advantage.
Gribben deservedly won the man of the match award and said: “It was pleasing to get the goals and the result. I think it might look like Linlithgow with two men sent off was easy but we were on top from the kick-off.
“I practise the free kicks after training and it worked. I said before the game I wasn’t feeling well and he had to take me off in the second half because I was sick but the lads finished the game off well.”
Linlithgow boss Mark Bradley admitted: “I’m gutted but the better team won. I thought we started the better but once Bo’ness got the first goal we weren’t at the races. They kept their discipline and we didn’t. Fair play to them even when we did get a goal back we were still not at our best. It’s a hard hill to climb when you’re down to nine men. It was our two boys’ stupidity that cost us a lot.”
Bo’ness: Peat, Snowdon, Devine (T Jaconelli), Murphy (Gibb), Hunter, Nimmo, Walker, Scott, Hislop, Sloan, Gribben (Anderson). Subs: B Jaconelli, Wallace.
Linlithgow: Christie, Gibson, McKillen, Tyrrell (Smith), Ovenstone, McKenzie, MacLennan, Shirra, Strickland, Coyne, Herdv (Meechan). Subs: Nelson, Dunn, McKinven.