East of Scotland: Tranent sink Dunbar to maintain lead; Penicuik Athletic stay in touch; Preston Athletic miss chance; Linlithgow Rose reach final

Tranent maintained their two-point lead at the top of the East of Scotland Premier Division with an East Lothian derby victory, but Penicuik Athletic did just enough to stay in the race.

The leaders recored an impressive 3-0 East Lothian derby victory over Dunbar United at Foresters Park last night, while second-placed Penicuik needed a late penalty to edge out Sauchie 2-1.

Preston Athletic missed the chance to go joint top of First Division Conference B, while Linlithgow Rose booked their place in the final of the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup.

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Calum Elliot’s Tranent look to be hitting form at the right time with just four matches remaining in the title race as they made it seven victories from their last ten league matches.

After sneaking ahead in the flag hunt with a 3-2 victory over Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts on Saturday as then league leaders Penicuik Athletic slipped up, Tranent were keen to stay at the summit.

Two first-half goals put them in control against visitors Dunbar who are still battling to avoid relegation. Kieran Somerville opened the scoring with a fine strike from the edge of the box, before Wayne McIntosh doubled their lead with a headed effort just before the half-time break.

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In-form Jamie Docherty made sure of the three points when he fired in with ten minutes remaining.

A late Paul Tansey penalty ensured Penicuik Athletic didn’t lose any further ground on Tranent as they edged out Sauchie 2-1 at Penicuik Park.

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Midfielder Matty Combe put the home side ahead with a cute finish with eight minutes remaining in the first half.

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Sauchie hit back just three minutes into the second half, however, when Aidan Cracknell got on the end of a long ball before poking into the net.

Tansey entered the field as a substitute after 62 minutes and his introduction by boss Stevie McLeish would prove to be crucial as he converted a spot-kick with just eight minutes to go.

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Elsewhere, Preston Athletic missed out on the chance to go joint top of the 1st Division Conference B as they were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Kinnoull.

Tranent manager Calum Elliot, left, watched his team maintain their two-point lead at the top
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Victory for Jack Lynch’s men would have put them level with Oakley, however with six matches remaining – two of which are in hand on Oakley – they will still be confident of securing promotion.

Kyle Somers had levelled for Preston in the first half from Brandon Archibald’s assist, before they took the lead through Marc Molloy’s thunderbolt. Kinnoull levelled from the penalty spot shortly after.

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In West Lothian, Mark Stow scored a hat-trick in Linlithgow’s emphatic 5-1 win over Lowland League Stirling University in the semi-final of the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup. Alan Sneddon and captain Gary Thom were also on target for Rose, who will face Kinnoull or Gala Fairydean Rovers in the final.

They also qualify for the City Cup semi-finals, which will involve Edinburgh City and Kelty Hearts.

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