Linlithgow Rose winger Owen Ronald struck his third goal of the season as the Prestonfield men beat Forfar West End 1-0 in a game they should have settled by half-time.
Ronald has made a fine start to his Rose career since joining manager Mark Bradley and his father, assistant boss Paul, at Linlithgow in the summer.
The 24-year-old was once on the books of Dumbarton and Queen’s Park but bad injuries prevented the youngster from making the impact he would have liked in the lower reaches of the SPFL.
Maintaining his current form and staying injury free will do him no harm if he harbours hopes of a return to the Senior ranks.
“I’ve had bad injuries the last few years, so I’m trying to stay injury free this season, touch wood,” said Ronald.
“I’ve broken my foot, my collar bone and done my metatarsal – I’ve had a nightmare. When I get an injury it takes me months to get back, so hopefully I can stay fit.
“I’m enjoying myself here. It’s a new challenge for me, I’ve never played in this league before and I’m starting to score now; hopefully they keep on coming.
“Braddo asked me to come in at Kilburnie for the last two months of the season then when he got the job here he phoned me up, and I said I wanted to come straight away. It’s probably the best set up at Junior level in my opinion. I didn’t know what it was like and when I came through the front doors I was really impressed – the pitch, facilities, everything – it’s a big, big club.
“I watched a Bo’ness-Linlithgow game when I was young, maybe five or six years ago, when my dad was assistant at Bo’ness, so I’m looking forward to playing in that.”
Ronald’s opener in the tenth minute should have been the platform for the home side to build on, as he exchanged a neat one-two with striker Aiden Malone and fired across goal and into the far side bottom corner.
Promoted from the Premier League last season, Forfar West End weren’t simply going to lie down for their esteemed opponents and almost pulled level on 20 minutes through Callum Petrie. The lightning quick winger latched on to Craig Bell’s pass and raced into the box, sending a placed effort towards the bottom corner with his instep, but the ball flashed wide of Ritchie Barnard’s post.
Centre back Gary Thom should have doubled the home side’s lead with a header from Robert Sloan’s corner as Rose went in search of a second.
Malone thought he had scored it a minute later when he slotted home Ronald’s cross, only to have the goal chalked off for offside.
Bradley’s side continued to dominate after the break, camping in the visitors’ half but too often the final ball was missing or chances which did present themselves weren’t put away.
Forfar grew in confidence as Rose toiled to put the game out of sight and had chances of their own.
Mark Van-Den Kuhl had their best chance when he got on the end of Petrie’s ball to the back post, but, off balance, he wasn’t able to get enough purchase on his effort and Barnard gathered.
Roddy MacLennan brightened up a drab second period in added-on-time when he cut in from the right and fired a left-footed strike which Forfar keeper Daryl Burns had to tip over.
Rose boss Bradley was just relieved to get the three points which lifts his side up to third in the Super League.
He said: “It was good to get the win, but it wasn’t a good one. To be fair to them, they played well and if they keep playing like that, it will go a long way to keeping themselves in this league.
“It wasn’t good enough from us at home, with all due respect we should be wiping the floor with that. We dug in, we looked solid and our defence was good, but some of our passing and decision making was slack.”
Linlithgow Rose: Barnard, Gray, Turnbull, Thom, Leiper, Shields, Ronald, Ruari MacLennan, Malone, Sloan (McKenzie), Batchelor (Roddy MacLennan).
Forfar West End: Burns, Stephen, McDonald, George, Rae, Robertson, Van-Der Kuhl, Bell (Fleming), Scott (Hart), McKenzie, Petrie (Crichton).