Linlithgow Rose scored two goals in the final four minutes of the DTF Fife and Lothians Cup final to deny closest rivals Bo’ness the double on their own patch.
Striker Iain Diack’s 89th minute winner retained the trophy for the Prestonfield outfit, against ten-man Super League champions Bo’ness, with Rose having gone into the interval a goal behind from a Nicky Walker strike.
Linlithgow manager Danny Smith, who joined the club in late March from Super League rivals Camelon, expressed his delight at full-time, but admitted he didn’t think it was going to be their day.
“I’m delighted for the players first and foremost,” said Smith.
“From when myself and Allan (Moffat) came in they’ve gave us everything and they’ve applied themselves to everything that we’ve asked.
“Tonight again, they gave us everything. I always felt if we were to get a goal back that we’d have enough to go on and win the game. I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect it to happen how it did happen. Standing at the side I didn’t think it was going to happen, but we kept at it and we got that break.”
Linlithgow had looked more likely to score before Bo’ness got the opener on 26 minutes.
Rose captain Mark Tyrell brought out the best in keeper Mark Peat with a free-kick from the edge of the box, but two minutes later Bo’ness were in front. Walker got on the end of a defence-splitting pass before he coolly lifted the ball over the onrushing Scott Christie and into the net.
The goal seemed to give the BUs a lift and Christie had to be alert to stop a Chris Donnelly header, before Darren Gribben nodded wide from a Walker cross on the stroke of half-time.
The game-plan for Bo’ness however was redundant just two minutes after the restart after Ian Nimmo was given a second yellow card for pulling back Tommy Coyne down the wing.
Rose then came close to an equaliser when Ruari MacLennan shot wide of the post after setting himself up, and they continued to pile the pressure on Bo’ness. It wasn’t until the 66th minute that they fully tested out Peat however, when left-back Ritchie McKillen’s header at the back post from a Coyne cross had to be pushed clear.
Rose’s Calum Smith was only on the park for a couple of minutes when he found space to get a shot away from just inside the box on 70 minutes, but Stuart Hunter threw himself in front of the shot to block.
Bo’ness suffered a blow on 73 minutes when left-back Stewart Devine – who wasn’t expected to feature due to a broken bone in his foot – limped off and Robert Sloan was moved into defence. The reshuffle gave Rose further hope that there was still life in the match and they eventually broke through on 86 minutes.
Diack held the ball up well before laying off Coyne whose pass found Roddy MacLennan in space and he raced in before sending a deft lob into Peat’s top right-hand corner of the net.
The unthinkable was reality just minutes later, when Rose who despite all their pressure didn’t look like scoring, secured the win in the 89th minute when Diack’s shot across goal nestled in the corner of Peat’s net to spark wild celebrations on the Rose touchline.
Deflated Bo’ness manager Alan McGonigal felt the sending-off cost his side the game.
He said: “I think the referee caused us to lose the game. It was never a red card. His first booking (Ian Nimmo) he won the ball and then was booked out of frustration, while his second was nothing other than a foul. But, I’ve got to praise my players.
In the face of adversity it was always going to difficult. We’ve had a great season, we are disappointed tonight, but we’ll pick ourselves back up.”
Bo’ness United: Peat, Devine (Miller), Hunter, Murphy, Donnelly, Jaconelli, Nimmo, Walker, Sloan, Hislop (Anderson), Gribben (Craig Scott)
Linlithgow Rose: Christie, Tyrell, McKillen, MacKenzie, Ovenstone, Nelson (Strickland) Shirra, Ruari MacLennan (Smith), Roddy MacLennan, Diack, Coyne (Meechan)