Penicuik Athletic right-back Andy Forbes struck his third goal in three games as the Midlothian club smashed their highest-ever points total in the Super League with a convincing 2-0 win over Linlithgow Rose.
The Cuikie racked up 41 points in their second season in the top flight last term, but Johnny Harvey’s side have already bettered that, moving to 44 on Saturday and consolidating second place in the process.
Forbes has been one of the finds of the season since stepping up from the Premier League as one of Harvey’s three signings from former club Haddington Athletic. Regularly rampaging down the right flank, the one-time Heriot-Watt defender has established himself in the Super League.
The defender revealed they held no fears over the trip to Prestonfield, with Rose having not won at home in the league since August.
“The boys worked really hard and I thought in the first half we played really, really well and dominated the game,” said Forbes. “In the second half, it was only natural that we would come under a little bit of pressure, but I thought we stood up to it well and the boys put in a lot towards the end.
“We looked forward to coming here. Confidence is high, we’ve kept a couple of clean sheets and we’ve been scoring goals and I think when you are playing like that you’ve got every right not to fear anyone.
“The Super League is obviously a tougher league. The tempo of the games is a lot higher and if you make mistakes they get punished. I think myself, Humey [Craig Hume] and the others that have come from Haddington have come in and acquitted ourselves well.
“The fact we are sitting in second in the league is great for the boys and I think all the hard work in training is paying off. If we can keep applying ourselves the way we have then I think there’s no reason why we can’t go and get ourselves a bit of silverware.”
The visitors should have been at least two up by the time Forbes headed them into the lead on 19 minutes from Neil Janczyk’s corner.
Rose centre back Colin Leiper had to scramble back to his line to head away Ryan Gay’s lobbed attempt, then Aaron Somerville had already run off to celebrate only to see his strike come off the inside of the post and bounce to safety.
Going in front was their reward for a high tempo, playing-without-fear start and they built on their lead as they went further ahead on 28 minutes.
Gay was instrumental in the goal, leaving left-back Reece Donaldson in his wake as he flicked over the defender’s head before spraying a first-time ball out to Ryan McCallum. The striker knocked down and John MacDonald was on hand, the former Edinburgh City midfielder taking the ball down neatly before finding the net via the inside of the post.
The home side, sat fourth from bottom, threw everything at Penicuik after the break. However, it wasn’t until the 59th minute that goalkeeper Conar Easton had his first save to make, taking hold of Conor Kelly’s effort with ease.
Linlithgow almost self destructed with 16 minutes remaining. Jamie MacKenzie’s backpass to keeper Darren Hill was wild, the stopper scrambling to prevent the ball going out for a corner. He was far from assured with his kick clear, however, sending it straight to Ross Montgomery and, but for Donaldson’s timely intervention, Somerville would have had a tap-in to the empty net.
Rose boss Todd Lumsden stressed they are in danger of edging closer to the relegation zone. He said: “It’s absolutely vital we start picking up points. I don’t know whether the cup run is masking it, but it’s not acceptable. We’ve played lesser teams in the cup and that’s probably why we are through to the semi-finals [of the Junior Cup]. When we play the teams in our league and the standard that we should be playing at, we are still coming up a bit short.”