The war of the Roses ends in a stalemate

Bonnyrigg's Sean Grady scored a vital goal
Bonnyrigg's Sean Grady scored a vital goal
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Linlithgow boss Danny Smith was unsure as to whether his title-chasing side had gained a point or lost two after they were pegged back by Bonnyrigg having been two goals up at the break.

Both sides went into this game desperate for the win with the hosts still having a very slim chance of taking the title, while Linlithgow were looking to leapfrog Bo’ness at the top.

And the visitors’ manager Smith admitted: “We may look back on this result and say this was the point that won us the title or, this may be the day that lost us the title after giving away a two-goal cushion. Only time will tell. There will be twists and turns to come before the title is settled.

“Any side coming to Bonnyrigg will need to play at their best. This is always one of the hardest games in the league season.”

Bonnyrigg started well with some good flowing football culminating in a super chance for Kris Renton in the tenth minute. Ross Archibald conjured up a great cross to the back post where Renton was free. His header back across goal was tipped brilliantly onto the post by Linlithgow goalkeeper Scott Christie and cleared by Richie McKillen.

It was Linlithgow, though, who opened the scoring after 17 minutes through Mark Tyrrell. He tried his luck from 30 yards with the ball taking a deflection up and over keeper Mark Weir and landing in the net.

They doubled their lead just before the half-hour mark with a scrambled effort. The Bonnyrigg defence failed to clear a corner taken by Adam Nelson and, when the ball landed at the feet of Ruari MacLennan, he slammed it home.

Bonnyrigg needed a lifeline and, within a minute of the restart, they got one. Alex King sent over a cross to Sean Grady and his header found the net.

The home side took a lot of confidence from that strike and were soon pressing hard for the equaliser, Alan Horne and Sean Grady bringing out the best in keeper Christie.

However, on the hour mark, the pressure told. Bonnyrigg’s Kevin McLeish crossed from the right wing for David White to send a header into the net to bring the teams level.

Both teams had chances to find a winner, but the defences held firm to the final whistle.

It was a cracking game of football with both sides going for the win. Linlithgow had the best of the first half while it was the home side, Bonnyrigg, who took the honours in the second. Bonnyrigg boss Max Christie said: “Linlithgow were on top in the first half and took advantage of that crazy deflected goal.

“Then we didn’t defend the corner properly and they scrambled it home.

“At half-time, I told the players we were sitting too far back and needed to press higher up the field and we got a quick result from that.

“I thought we had the better chances in the second half and their keeper had a great day, especially when he tipped a Kris Renton header round the post.

“I can’t be disappointed by the result, though, because we have been playing good football lately and we would have been in a good position in the league. But early-season draws are coming back to haunt us.

“We have Camelon next week to finish off the season and we want to keep our unbeaten away record intact.”

Bonnyrigg Rose: Weir, McLeish, Roseburgh, White, Woodburn, Horne, King, Gemmell (Whitson), Archibald, Renton, Grady. Subs: Burrell, McKenna, Manson.

Linlithgow Rose: Christie, Tyrrell, McKillen, Gibson, McKenzie, Nelson, Ru MacLennan (Diack), Shirra, Smith, Coyne, Ro MacLennan. Subs: Herd, Wilson, Ovenstone, McKinven.