LINLITHGOW ROSE boss Mark Bradley was delighted as his champions clinched a 2-0 Super League victory at Newtongrange on Saturday in the first of three tough games for his side.
A goal in each half from Tommy Coyne and John Ovenstone maintained Rose’s unbeaten run in the league ahead of games against title rivals Bo’ness and Bonnyrigg in the next fortnight.
After seeing his team beat a Star side who looked more like the team which had raced away at the top of the table earlier this season, Bradley said: “It’s always a hard place to come but, with Tommy Coyne getting his goal, we were solid. Newtongrange will take points against all the top teams so to come here and get that result was great.”
The game started in filthy conditions and, as passes went awry, chances were missed.
Gradually, though, Linlithgow found their feet and, with winger Gordon Herd in superb form, they were soon camped around the Star penalty box.
On the half-hour mark, Herd forced his way into the box before firing in a shot which Kieran Renton pushed onto the far post. Coyne stabbed at the ball from a couple of feet out but hit the legs of Scott Gibson and the ball was cleared to safety.
Newtongrange’s relief was short-lived though, as, with a couple of minutes to go in the first half, Ruari MacLennan was sent tumbling in the box by Guy Kerr and Tommy Coyne stepped up and scored his 17th goal of the season to take Rose in one up at the break.
Just before the hour mark, Ruari MacLennan tackled Blair Tolmie from behind. While MacLennan was on the ground, the pair clashed, with the Linlithgow player left holding his face. After cooling things down, the referee sent MacLennan off for the tackle before booking Star’s Sean Jamieson. However, the far-side linesman called the referee over to inform him that Tolmie was the real perpetrator and sent him packing.
With both sides down to ten men, the game opened up with Newtongrange finding their feet. Linlithgow central midfielder Adam Nelson, though, grabbed the game by the scruff of they neck and, as he pulled the strings in midfield, Rose gradually forced play to the other end. And, in the 77th-minute, they made the game safe with a killer second goal.
Star’s Michael Deland was forced into a rash challenge near the corner flag and he was sent off for a second booking. From the free-kick, Nelson sent over a terrific cross for Ovenstone to power a header into the net.
Newtongrange boss Alan Miller said: “We knew it was always going to be a difficult game for us but the boys played a lot of good football in trying conditions. Some decisions made by the referee were difficult to understand but we have to get on with it.
“We played a lot more like ourselves against a side who have a lot more experience and we look to be back on track.”
Newtongrange Star: Renton, Gibson, Deland, Tolmie, Kerr, Noble, Jamieson, Shields, O’Reilly (Graham), Cropley, Forster. Subs: King, Cherrie, Swaney, Amos.
Linlithgow Rose: Christie, Gibson, McKillen, Tyrrell, Ovenstone, Ru MacLennan, Shirra, Nelson (Meechan), Strickland (McKenzie), Coyne, Herd (Smith). Subs: Ro MacLennan, McKinven.