Although he was relieved to come away with a point thanks to Nicky Walker’s late strike, Bo’ness assistant boss Steve Pittman was left fuming with the officials after Linlithgow goalkeeper Ally Adams avoided a red card.
In a typical derby encounter not without a controversial incident or two, both sets of management were left bemused by the performance of referee Peter Stuart who divided opinion with his decision to award a late penalty when Adams felled Walker after 77 minutes. Adams was cautioned for the offence, before he stepped up to stop Darren Gribben’s spot-kick, which irked Bo’ness No.2 Pittman who believed the Rose ‘keeper should’ve been given an early bath.
“He should never have been on the park in a million years,” Pittman said. “He said [the referee] that he’s not going to get the ball. I don’t want to get too involved with the referee but some of his decisions were absolutely shocking.
“You’ve just got to deal with that at times – I think he booked players for petty things and then there was a tackle on the park which a player could’ve went to hospital and he doesn’t do anything about it.”
The home side really should’ve been out of sight inside the opening 15 minutes of the first half with Gribben and Walker running amok against a Rose defence who looked shell shocked at their hosts’ rip roaring start.
Gribben was inches away from finding the top corner of Adams’ net after five minutes but curled his effort just wide before Walker’s searching cross found him in space again at the back post which he volleyed first time and Adams diverted wide.
Then out of nowhere, Linlithgow drew first blood courtesy of the man who just loves scoring in derbies. Striker Tommy Coyne cut back from the byline and a nick of a defender sent the ball into Graham Weir’s path where the former Hearts man, who was off balance as he hit the shot from 18 yards, saw his effort trickle over Scott Christie’s goal-line.
Rose were suddenly on top and looked increasingly likely to add to their lead before the break, with Colin Strickland striking the post before Coyne had a goal chalked off for a push on a Bo’ness defender after a lovely finish at the back post from Mark Tyrrell’s cross.
The interval did little to ease the pressure on the home side’s backline, who sought to regroup at half-time, with Ian Nimmo thrown on for Michael Gemmell in the engine room, and Rose should’ve doubled their lead on 51 minutes.
Former Rose keeper Christie saved brilliantly with his leg from Strickland before Blair Batchelor’s rebound was cleared off the line by BUs defender Ross Campbell.
Tempers were threatening to boil over as Bo’ness boss Allan McGonigal was sent off by referee Stuart, only to adopt his place alongside the home support directly behind his dugout where he could still offer his instructions.
Bo’ness were beginning to use the ball better and they got their chance to level from 12 yards when Adams brought down Walker, only for the keeper to make up for his mistake with a fine save to his right from Gribben.
The home side were celebrating two minutes from time though, when Walker latched onto Nimmo’s through ball to round the keeper and fire into the unguarded net.
Rose boss David McGlynn was left wondering how his side hadn’t won the game and gave his view on the penalty flashpoint.
He said: “We’ve dominated the game and we should be coming away with a 4-0 win. They went route one and they got there break.
“It wasn’t a penalty but he’s done great to save it.”
Bo’ness United: Christie, Philp, Devine, Campbell, Hunter, Gemmell (Nimmo), Walker, Sloan (Moutinho), Cummings, Donnelly (McGregor), Gribben.
Linlithgow Rose: Adams, Tyrrell, Baptie, Hamill, McKenzie, Leiper, Batchelor, Shirra, Strickland (Robertson), Coyne, Weir.