Penicuik Athletic midfielder Greg Ross hailed the fighting spirit of his team-mates after they came from 2-0 down to rescue a dramatic point with two late goals at Prestonfield.
The former Dunfermline Athletic star nodded in an unlikely equaliser after 92 minutes to steal a point as they prevented Linlithgow Rose from taking their place at the top of the Super League table.
The 28-year-old admitted his side were run ragged in a dominant first-half from the hosts and were just thankful to go in at the break a goal behind.
“We were a bit all over the place in the first half and they were passing the ball around us for fun and we were chasing shadows at times,” he said.
“We just kept battling away and I think they maybe tired a wee bit at the end. We got our first goal and then they got a wee bit nervous, then it was a great corner in at the end and I managed to get my head on the end of it.
“We’ve got a never-say-die attitude and we just kept going and I think our fitness showed in the end. The manager made a couple of substitutions to put more attacking players on and we just took it from there.
“It’s not been the best of starts for us, but hopefully this result can be a platform for us to kick on.”
Just how Linlithgow contrived to throw away their two-goal lead in the final three minutes is quite unthinkable. Rose were in complete control, and with Penicuik lined-up to stifle the home side’s attacking intent with five in midfield, they were penned back in their half for almost the entirety of the 90 minutes until they delivered two hammer blows at the death.
The signs are promising for Rose boss David McGlynn despite their late undoing. His side played some terrific stuff in the opening half, but perhaps lacked a ruthlessness in front of goal as they squandered several gilt-edged opportunities.
Penicuik keeper Youssef Bejaoui was in part responsible for that. He was in inspired form as he made countless saves from Mark Tyrrell, Tommy Coyne and Graham Weir to keep the home side at bay as Rose drove forward.
He was finally undone after 26 minutes though, as Blair Batchelor headed into the roof of the net after left-back Chris Gray got on the end of Tyrrell’s deep cross from the right to send the ball back into the danger area.
The visitors managed to limit Rose to little in the way of meaningful chances after the opener. Coyne went down in the box under a Dougie Cunnison challenge as the opening period came to a close but referee Alan Hogg waved away the appeals.
Rose got what they thought would be a crucial second to wrap up the three points after 65 minutes. Weir’s high ball from the right was brought down by Coyne and he played a quick one-two inside the box with Kevin Kelbie before lashing his shot past Bejaoui – the keeper getting a hand to the ball but there was too much pace behind it to push it to safety.
Penicuik’s Ross had a rare chance for the visitors when he flashed a strike just past the far post a minute later, before Batchelor should’ve made it three when he latched onto Andy Shirra’s delicate through ball but lifted his lob over the bar. Substitute Ross Montgomery pulled one back on 89 minutes after a well worked move which began from inside their own half – Penicuik’s limited celebrations hinting that they thought it was no more than a consolation.
However, their unbelievable comeback was complete when Ross beat off the attentions of defender Tyrrell to nod Ryan Gay’s corner past the helpless Ally Adams.
They might even have won it with almost the final kick of the game as youngster Kyle Mitchell raced towards goal, but Gary Thom managed to get a foot in to prevent the on-loan Cowdenbeath striker from getting his shot away and put the brakes on a comeback Graham Weir would have been proud of.
Linlithgow Rose: Adams, Tyrrell, Gray, Hamill, McKenzie, Leiper, Batchelor, Shirra, Weir (Jones), Coyne (Thom), MacLennan (Kelbie).
Penicuik Athletic: Bejaoui, Bruce (Lough), Cunnison, White, Young, Barr, Ross, Devlin (Montgomery), Somerville (Mitchell), Gay, Janczyk.