Bo’ness claim ‘easy’ derby win over Linlithgow

Chris Donnelly celebrates scoring the opening goal. Picture: Joey Kelly
Chris Donnelly celebrates scoring the opening goal. Picture: Joey Kelly
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Bo’ness United boss Allan McGonigal claimed his side could not have had it any easier as they won the derby at Linlithgow for the first time in almost ten years.

Both sides needed a win to maintain a title challenge, although league leaders Kelty Hearts remain 16 points clear of reigning Super League champions Bo’ness after their victory at Musselburgh.

The BUs have five games in hand over the Fife club, however, and they have already beaten them twice this season. They still have to play each other at Kelty’s Central Park home.

Although admitting Kelty remain favourites for the title, McGonigal is hopeful that victory over Rose will give his side belief that they can still retain their league crown.

“It’s probably as easy a game we’ve ever had here,” he said.

“I think there was only one team in it and we were always in the ascendancy. This was a cup final for us and we played it like a cup final. It’s given us a wee bit of hope that we can still catch Kelty. It’s great to get the bragging rights but it’s just three points and we won’t get too carried away.”

It took just two minutes for referee Peter Stuart to produce his first of nine yellow cards in what was a fiercely competitive derby, after Bo’ness defender Paul Murphy crashed through the back of Tommy Coyne.

With the wind behind them in the opening period, left back Stewart Devine attempted a speculative effort from around the 25-yard mark which whistled just wide of Scott Christie’s left-hand post.

Ruari MacLennan then had an effort for the home side after nine minutes, but he sent his attempt from the edge of the box clear of Mark Peat’s goal.

Bo’ness were almost gifted an opener five minutes later after Rose centre-back John Ovenstone misplaced his pass across goal straight to the feet of Nicky Walker whose angled shot come off the base of the post.

Another lapse in concentration from Rose went unpunished with ten minutes of the half remaining after Roddy MacLennan’s passback to Christie was intercepted by visiting striker Mark Cowan, but Christie did well to make himself big and stop the shot from close range.

McGonigal was then sent to the stand by referee Stuart, after voicing his displeasure when midfielder Ross Philp picked up a booking for a challenge on Roddy MacLennan just short of the Bo’ness half as Rose looked to break.

Ruari MacLennan was inches away from giving the home side the lead just short of the break with a curled shot from outside the area, which took a nick off a defender to take it just wide.

Having failed to capitalise on Rose’s defensive frailties in the first period, Bo’ness took advantage of an error after just two second-half minutes.

Keeper Christie tried to kick clear inside a packed penalty area instead of gathering the ball, only to send his kick to Walker, who passed inside to captain Chris Donnelly and his low strike from 12 yards out crept in at the near post.

With a one-goal lead, Bo’ness were quite happy to sit back and invite Rose onto them, with the home side restricted largely to set-piece attempts for the remainder of the half.

Ovenstone had the best chance of restoring parity on the hour mark when he got his head on the end of Andy Shirra’s free-kick from three yards out, only to send it straight at Peat.

Roddy MacLennan then jinked his way into the area and got a shot away, but Colin Leiper made a timely intervention to block.

Rose manager Danny Smith introduced new signing Alex King for defender Michael O’Byrne with ten minutes remaining as he went to a back three in a bid to salvage at least a point.

However, that plan was dashed moments later as Bo’ness made sure of the win from the penalty spot after Christie felled Walker and Robert Sloan sent the keeper the wrong way.

Smith wasn’t best pleased with his side’s effort.

He said: “I can pick holes in the goals we are conceding and until we start doing the basic stuff right we are making it an uphill task for ourselves.

“There’s nobody who can say that they put in a right good shift and if there is people saying that, they are kidding themselves on and they are no use to us.”

Linlithgow Rose: Christie, Wilson, McKillen, O’Byrne (King), Ovenstone, Shirra (Kelly), Batchelor (Kelbie), Ruari MacLennan, Smith, Coyne, Roddy MacLennan.

Bo’ness United: Peat, Murphy (Snowdon), Devine (Leiper), Sloan, Hunter, Campbell, Walker, Philp, Cowan (Anderson), Donnelly, Scott.