A first-half sending off threatened to leave Linlithgow Rose pointless at home to Hill of Beath, but in the end the teams finished tied at 2-2
Rose boss Danny Smith had stressed the importance of winning on their own patch ahead of their second home fixture of the season, but his side threatened to come away pointless after a first half sending off against the Fifers.
Summer signing Blair Batchelor was given his marching orders after two bookings within minutes of each other, with a Hill of Beath equaliser sandwiched in between.
Beath ended the match with ten men themselves after Kevin Byle was shown a straight red card late on for violent conduct, as tempers flared.
Rose manager Smith was disappointed not to win the match, but admitted he would have probably taken a point at half-time given the visitors’ numerical advantage.
“At half-time I would’ve taken a point, if I’m being honest,” said Smith. “It’s disappointing we’ve not won another home game.
“We went down to ten men and that made it more of an uphill task, although I can’t fault the effort of the players in the second half.
“We changed things at half-time for the benefit of the team and we started the second half well, but then went behind again. The players dug deep and to be fair to them we got ourselves back into it, but it’s still very disappointing we didn’t get three points.”
The home side, on the back of a 5-1 win away to Lochee United, started confidently and had visitors Beath pressed back inside their own half. Striker Tommy Coyne, with four goals from Rose’s first three matches, had looked certain to grab the opener on 12 minutes.
Dangerous winger Roddy MacLennan exchanged passes with Colin Strickland on the edge of the area before driving into the box and firing the ball across goal, however Coyne, sliding in, couldn’t connect.
Strike partner Strickland then forced a shot on target from close range, but Beath keeper Mikey Couser held on well.
Hill of Beath might have taken the lead themselves midway through the first period after James Adam tried his luck from the edge of the box, the ball rebounding back to him, but he put his second effort wide of Michael McKinven’s post.
Adam was left rueing his miss as Rose got the opener three minutes later. Strickland fed MacLennan on the left side of the box and he cut across his marker before firing a low shot, which, with the aid of a deflection, outfoxed Couser.
The lead lasted just four minutes however, as Beath struck back through Greig Smith. The ball broke kindly for the striker 20 yards out and he swept a fierce shot past McKinven.
Rose received a double blow when Batchelor was shown his second yellow card minutes later after bringing down Byle. Harsh, given it was his first foul after his initial booking for what was a similar challenge.
Beath went close to taking the lead ahead of the interval when Adam glanced a header wide from Calum Adamson’s sweeping cross.
Smith substituted strike duo Coyne and Strickland at half-time for midfielder Ruari MacLennan and striker Kevin Kelbie, however, Beath went in front within four minutes.
Winger Adamson had shown glimpses off his pace at several points during the first period, but he truly utilised his speed when given a free run down the right wing, as he strode past left-back Ritchie McKillen into the area before firing high past McKinven.
Rose fought back though and drew level after they were awarded a dubious penalty on 65 minutes after it appeared Rikki Dair had clearly won the ball when sliding in on Ruari MacLennan, but referee Jordan Curran quickly pointed to the spot. Kelbie, top goalscorer in the East Region last season, marked his home debut with his first goal from 12 yards.
Buoyed by their leveller, Rose might have snuck in front as Mark Tyrelll and Ruari Mac Lennan had efforts on goal.
In fact Rose looked more likely to score with their numerical disadvantage, but, after Byle was given his marching orders for an apparent headbutt on Rose defender Gary Thom with ten minutes remaining, they never troubled Couser.
Linlithgow Rose: McKinven, Tyrell, McKillen, Thom, O’Byrne, Nelson, Batchelor, Shirra, Strickland (Ruari MacLennan), Coyne (Kelbie), Roddy MacLennan (Smith).
Hill of Beath: Couser, Lee (Wright), Byle, McKenzie, Dair, Adam, Anthony, Gemmell, Smith (Shaw), Hay, Adamson.