Linlithgow Rose boss Mark Bradley says his side must start converting the chances they are creating if they wish to hit their targets this season.
The Prestonfield men were held to a 1-1 draw at home to fellow former Junior outfit Penicuik Athletic as Rose’s winless start continued in their East of Scotland Qualifying League Section C.
Lithgae failed to qualify for the Central Taxis East of Scotland League Cup as they suffered the ignominy of finishing rock bottom of their mini-league with Penicuik going through to the first round as group winners.
“It is concerning that we haven’t won yet,” bemoaned Bradley. “We dominate so many games, we have lots of possession and create chances. It’s frustrating because we should be putting teams to bed after 15 or 20 minutes and we’re not doing it, then we’re giving them things to hold on to. We’re working hard to try and change it.
“I was quite disappointed that we didn’t win. I thought we dominated the whole of the game. We created so many chances, the boys were excellent. I think Penicuik only got back into it because of the referee’s stupid and poor decision.
“He gave three back-to-back [fouls] for the boy coming through the back of our strikers before the one that he never gave, which led to the goal.
“His inconsistency was embarrassing. I said it last year - if we moved up a level towards Senior football we would leave them (bad referees) behind, but it seems we’ve got the same. He did well to get Penicuik back into the game.”
Bradley is targeting the Conference C league title at the first time of asking, with their campaign getting underway at Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts a week on Wednesday.
“We’re not going in to try and just do alright in it, we’ve got to go and win it and then see where that takes us. We’ve got to start scoring goals to do that.
“We’ve got to score more goals, we had two strikers on who both have goals in them. It was disappointing that we never scored more. Somebody some day will take a really sore one from us I think and it needs to happen quickly.”
The hosts were dominant in the opening half an hour and should have been further ahead by the time Penicuik equalised before the half-time break.
Rose raced into an early lead after just three minutes with Penicuik looking like they were still recovering from their celebrations at Prestonfield just eight weeks ago when they lifted the East of Scotland Cup.
Tommy Coyne released Darren Smith down the right and his low cross was side-footed into the bottom corner by striker Kevin Watt.
Blair Batchelor should have made it two on ten minutes after Ruari MacLennan’s ball pierced through the visiting defence but goalkeeper Thomas Cordery made the save.
Penicuik looked laboured as they continually gifted possession away in midfield but they pulled level on 31 minutes after a bit of brilliance from winger Ryan Baptie. He strode clear down the left wing and crossed for striker Aaron Somerville who dived low to head in past Kyle Marley from close range for his fifth goal in just three games.
Rose were given the chance to regain their lead three minutes after the interval from the penalty spot after the ball struck the arm of Calum Connolly, but Coyne’s penalty was uncharacteristically poor and Cordery saved. That was one of very few chances for either side in the second period until late on with both Coyne and Penciuik’s Wayne McIntosh spurning the chance to win it.
Penicuik boss Johnny Harvey felt his side weren’t at their best but most importantly they went through.
He said: “We weren’t great to be honest. I don’t want to make excuses for that, but we were down to the bare bones. We didn’t get to grips with the game and we didn’t look like we had the same energy as we normally do.
“I wasn’t overly enthused with the performance but I’m delighted with the result and the fact we’ve managed to win the group.
Linlithgow Rose: Marley, Urquhart, Sloan, MacKenzie, McKinlay, Shields, Batchelor, Ruari MacLennan, Watt, Coyne, Smith.
Penicuik Athletic: Cordery, Forbes, Williams (Sampson), Hume, Hamilton, Connolly, McCrory-Irving, Barr, McIntosh, Somerville, Baptie.