TRANENT took a major step towards the South League title with a 2-1 victory over Whitburn but manager Gary Small admitted the match was a nerve-wracking experience.
Promoted Tranent can now clinch the crown at Rosyth on April 16 after edging out second-placed Whitburn on Saturday.
“This was a huge win for us but we didn’t half make it hard for ourselves,” said Small. “We had the best of the first half but only a goal separated us and, against a team like Whitburn, that wasn’t enough. But we got the result and go to Rosyth in a couple of weeks looking to wrap up the title.”
Tranent started well and, within a couple of minutes, threatened the Whitburn goal as winger Kayne Paterson ran at a hesitant defence, beating the keeper but Greg Skinner cleared off the line.
They didn’t have to wait long before they grabbed a deserved lead. A high ball was headed out to the experienced Stevie Manson just outside the box. He controlled the ball before turning and smashing a low drive into the far corner of the net.
It was a different Whitburn who came out for the second half and, within five minutes, they had an equaliser. The Tranent defence failed to deal with a ball into the box allowing James Martin to waltz through the middle and finish well.
The game looked like heading for a draw until with ten minutes to go, Tranent’s Neil Smeaton sent a long high free-kick to the back post where Lewis Hawkins met the ball to send a header into the net.
Tranent captain Darren Smith said: “It was a hard game for us. A one-goal lead is never enough but we showed enough character. It’s now in our own hands.”
Tranent: Inglis, Smeaton, Gordon, McKenzie, Beaton, Manson, Miller, Hawkins, Smith, Paterson, McMillan. Subs: Fisher, Flynn, Wotjovicz, Murray, Robertson.
Whitburn: Horne, Hamilton, Hogarth, Skinner, Porteous, M Russell, Taylor, Martin, K Russell, Brass, Bain. Subs: Wilson, Brown, Walton, McQueenie, Chambers.