Linlithgow Rose midfielder Blair Batchelor felt they missed an opportunity as the Super League leaders fought out a drab draw against ten-man Bonnyrigg Rose.
Mark Bradley’s men failed to capitalise on their man advantage at the home of the pre-season title favourites, who had striker Keiran McGachie red carded with 30 minutes remaining.
Bonnyrigg had dominated the opening half despite not troubling visiting goalkeeper Darren Hill too much with goalmouth action in short supply.
The visitors didn’t look like scoring either until the final ten minutes when they pushed for a winner, which would have been cruel on the home side.
“It’s a good place to get a point because a lot of teams won’t get a point here, but at the same time especially with them going down to ten men in the second half, we probably should win,” said Batchelor.
“We had a couple of chances – a good chance in the first half and Tommy had one right at the end. All in all it’s a good point, but it’s a wee bit disappointing not to take them all.
“At the moment we’re not conceding many goals at all – we didn’t do that last year. We aren’t playing that well but we’re getting the points. We’re clicking in spells, so it’s pleasing we are not quite hitting top form and we’re still top of the league.”
Scotland Junior internationalist Dean Hoskins had the home side’s best chance in the opening period after just five minutes when the centre half met Lee Currie’s corner kick. His bullet header looked netbound until Hill tipped over with his right glove.
The visitors’ only real chance in the first half came through striker Aiden Malone after he was played in cutely by Batchelor, but home keeper Bryan Young saved well with his feet.
McGachie saw yellow for a late tackle on Linlithgow defender Gary Thom early in the second half, before he saw his attempt cleared off the line after Hoskins’s header from Currie’s corner rebounded back to him.
He then saw red just moments later for a silly lunge on Ruari MacLennan in the Linlithgow penalty area, although referee Colin Whyte didn’t look like he was set to send the forward off for an early bath until the visitors crowded round him and pressurised him into sending McGachie off.
Home captain Ewan Moyes was lucky not to see red himself after a cynical lunge on Owen Ronald just inside Bonnyrigg’s half with the winger at full speed.
Linlithgow should have made their extra body count with the home side happy to sit back and soak up the pressure.
Striker Tommy Coyne thought he had won it for the visitors when he got his head on the end of Ronald’s free-kick, only for the ball to land on the roof of the net. And with the last play of the game he flashed a header just wide of Young’s left-hand post.
Home boss David White was pleased to take a point after playing a third of the match with ten men.
He said: “The game changed when Keiran got sent-off. It was silly for him to go in and make the challenge. He didn’t have to make the challenge in that area. Linlithgow exposed us and made us work really hard for the last half hour but defensively we were really solid.”
Elsewhere, Penicuik Athletic suffered their second league defeat of the season and lost ground on Linlithgow as they went down 1-0 away to Camelon.
Managerless Broxburn Athletic drew 0-0 away to Jeanfield Swifts, while struggling Bo’ness United salvaged a point in a 3-3 draw at home to Broughty Athletic after being 3-1 down at half-time with centre-back Stuart Hunter notching a double.
Premier League leaders Musselburgh Athletic drew 1-1 away to second place Fauldhouse United, with Matti King equalising in the second half for Calvin Shand’s men to continue their unbeaten start to the season.