Linlithgow Rose wrecked Bonnyrigg Rose’s hopes of retaining their Super League title thanks to goals in either half from Conor Kelly and Robbie McNab.
The home side needed all three points to set up a grandstand title decider on the final day away to Kelty Hearts, but losing just their third league match at home this season rendered Saturday’s clash meaningless, with the Fife club crowned champions.
Robbie Horn’s men, stretched due to injuries with last night’s match their 11th game in just 31 days, had the majority of chances over the piece but struggled to find the conviction they had shown in front of goal recently having scored 16 goals in the preceding three matches.
“It was just one of those games. We didn’t play particularly well and we were down to the bare bones,” said Horn.
“We didn’t play that well but I don’t think they had a lot of chances. I thought we had a decent penalty claim turned down – the referee says he played the advantage but there was no advantage there so that was disappointing. Decisions like that change games.
“At the end of the day, the best team in the league wins the league over the course of the season. Congratulations to Kelty. They’ve won the league and we’ve just got to lick our wounds and pick ourselves up and go on Saturday.”
Sean Jamieson could have got the hosts off to the perfect start in the opening minute after he cut inside defender Jamie McKenzie, but his shot was straight at goalkeeper Darren Hill.
Midfielder McNab responded for the visitors with a fizzing low shot from distance which Michael Andrews got down well to stop and hold.
Bonnyrigg were struggling to get a foothold in the opening 15 minutes with the visitors dominant in possession.
Home winger Scott Gray did well to work in a cross from the left as he turned Linlithgow defender Gary Thom right and left. His ball in was laid on a plate for in-form striker Jamieson but he shot straight at Hill from four yards out at the near post.
Linlithgow went in front on 20 minutes as striker Kelly rose highest at the front post to glance Harvey Swann’s cross across goal and in off the rear upright.
Horn’s men should’ve been level on 31 minutes when defender Colin Leiper gifted possession to Jamieson with a poor clearance in his own area. The striker got hold of the ball first, then was impeded by Thom but kept on his feet and had his shot saved. The home side appealed vehemently for a penalty but had their appeals waved away by referee Colin Whyte.
The home side would need a rousing team-talk at the break to keep their title hopes alive going into the second half. Wayne McIntosh almost gave them the perfect start on 48 minutes. The striker rattled the bar on the volley from Lewis Turner’s cross with Rose players claiming the ball had gone over the line.
Ewan Moyes had a net-bound header from Andrew Kidd’s corner kick cleared off the line on 63 minutes with Keiran McGachie unable to turn home the rebound.
On 73 minutes, McIntosh drilled the ball across goal from the left but neither McGachie nor Jamieson could find the desired touch to divert the ball into the back of the net.
With the home side starting to labour as they went on search of an equaliser, the visitors sealed their second win under manager Mark Bradley ten minutes from time with McNab tapping home after Ross Gray had stretched the home defence with a fine run down the right.
Bonnyrigg Rose: Andrews, Kidd, Archibald, Young, Moyes, Turner, Jamieson, Gray, McIntosh, Nelson, McGachie.
Linlithgow Rose: Hill, Thom, Williams, MacKenzie, Leiper, Muhsin, Gray (Small), McNab, Kelbie, Kelly, Swann.