Linlithgow Rose boss Mark Bradley believes all the pressure is on Conference C pacesetters Broxburn Athletic in the pursuit of the East of Scotland league title as he revealed his players still reckon they can win it.
The Prestonfield men bounced back from last week’s debacle at Ormiston with a routine victory in the Capital thanks to goals either side of half-time from Gary Thom and Tommy Coyne.
Rose handed the advantage to West Lothian neighbours Broxburn with their surprising draw last week and need Brian McNaughton’s men to slip up in their remaining five matches to have any hope of catching the Albyn Park outfit.
“All our games are must-win for us now. We’ve made it harder for ourselves now we need to win all of our games, unless Broxburn start slipping up but we’ll take it every week as it comes,” said Bradley.
“The boys still have belief. Let’s be honest, did anyone think we would draw with Ormiston last week? Broxburn have got a different pressure on them now to win every game because we’ll be right on their tails. Anything can happen, we just have to keep going game by game.
“The teams down below are going to fight because nobody likes getting beat by stupid scorelines, and teams are having a bit of a go because it makes it more interesting for everybody.”
Bradley was happy with the response from his players, he continued: “The boys were disappointed last week, I don’t think anybody should think that they weren’t; they were gutted. You’ve got to turn up and have a better mentality and we never had that last week. It was a bit of slackness that crept in. All credit to Ormiston but we should still be beating them at home and that was disappointing, but good teams bounce back and we did that on Saturday.
“In the second half we played better and our fitness and better quality maybe showed. I don’t know how many chances we missed but we would’ve taken 2-0 before the game.”
Bradley’s men were on the end of some rough challenges from the hosts in the early stages, with referee Simon MacLean producing his first yellow card after just nine minutes – which wasn’t early enough for the Rose gaffer.
“They’ve got to do what they’ve got to do to get a result in the game, and that’s fine, but the referee has got to step in,” said Bradley. “He can’t let the first one go because it’s the first tackle; the boy took Oweny [Owen Ronald] out and he’s allowed him to set the tone – if he books him right away he can’t do another tackle like that, but these clowns don’t understand that. He could have really hurt him and then the same boy did it again to Gary Thom.
“The standard needs to get better because somebody will get seriously hurt and then it will be on them and nobody else. If teams want to boot in and stop us playing, that’s fine, but they [referees] have to do that job, and if they don’t, somebody will take a sore one.”
Home goalkeeper Shea Dowie had kept his side in the game in the opening period until Rose broke the deadlock three minutes before the break when Thom headed in Ronald’s corner-kick.
Rose midfielder Ross Barbour had the ball in the net three minutes into the second half, only to be ruled offside when he was clearly well on – referee MacLean not helped by having no linesmen. Club record goal scorer Coyne made the three points secure on 74 minutes after Roddy MacLennan had set him up perfectly.
Home boss Ian Flynn was proud of his players for their showing, he said: “We’ve got be realistic about where we are and we are progressing great with a group of young boys. They had a lot of the ball and put us under a lot of pressure, but I thought our laddies did well under those circumstances and I thought we looked a threat. I’m delighted with them.
“If you gave me Tommy Coyne out of their team, we probably would have won the game. We need that bit of know how but that will come. If people are patient at the club and can see the bigger picture, I think we will end up with a decent side.”
Edinburgh United: Dowie, Kerr, Murray, Guiney (Grieve), Conlon, Murray, Flynn (McKinlay), Auriemma, Swanney, Watson, Ritchie (Redpath)
Linlithgow Rose: McKinven, Gray, McKinlay, Thom, Mackenzie (Turnbull), Barbour, Ruari MacLennan, Ronald (Smith), Strickland, Coyne, Roddy MacLennan (Batchelor)