Linlithgow Rose 2
Bonnyrigg Rose 2
Linlithgow had to rely on a late Roddy McLennan strike to grab a share of the points and keep their hopes of winning the title alive.
Linlithgow boss Mark Bradley, who was sent off late in the game, was disappointed, believing his players had switched off. “I’m gutted,” he said. “We gave away two soft goals and lost our shape for a while. Individual mistakes cost us dear and when we were back in the game the referee doesn’t play any injury time.”
Bonnyrigg manager Max Christie said: “At 2–1 up I felt we should have run the clock down, but they changed their shape late on and we were under pressure. We had some of our big players missing today but the lads who came in did a great job. We showed great spirit at a ground where it’s always difficult. That’s 17 goals from Sean Grady this season already and with everyone contributing were getting goals from all over the team.”
The game got off to a blistering start with two goals in the opening five minutes. First Bonnyrigg striker and former Linlithgow player Sean Grady, beat his marker out wide left before curling over a super cross to the head of Ross Archibald unmarked in the six yard box. His powerful header beat David Hay in the Linlithgow goal easily to give them the lead. Linlithgow bounced back almost immediately, forcing a corner on the left. Mark Tyrrell took it and Scott Walker celebrated his return to the side by sending a header into the net. The crowd sat back expecting a flood of goals, but, it didn’t happen and the half fizzled out with no more fireworks.
Hopes of a repeat of the first half were kindled when after only five minutes of the turn round, Bonnyrigg took the lead again. James Steele, a big gangling Peter Crouch look-alike, easily took the ball off Mark Tyrrell down the right wing, strode forward and cut a low cross to Grady steaming in at the edge of the box. He took the ball first time and sent it crashing low into the far corner of the net for a super finish. Linlithgow were now staring defeat in the face and for a while it was Bonnyrigg who were dominant. Grady and Archibald were superb in keeping the home defence on their toes. Bonnyrigg’s Liam McKenna forced keeper David Hay into action with a volley to the top corner and this effort galvanised Bradley into changing the shape of his side. He took off Alan Brown and introduced Colin Strickland in a 4-3-3 line up.
It began to make a difference immediately and Linlithgow got a deserved equaliser with five minutes to go. The ball was played out to Gordon Herd on the right, he turned a low ball into a packed six yard box for McLennan, who had drifted in from the left to slam the ball into the net. There was very little time for either side to find a winner but enough to see Bradley sent to the stand after a row with the referee.
Bradley added: “I was looking for a reaction after last week’s debacle and for a while I thought the players were delivering. But individual mistakes cost us the match and that’s something we have to sort out. I felt bringing David Hay and Scott Walker back was a success because they both had good games.”
Bonnyrigg striker Grady was delighted to be back at Prestonfield. “It’s always hard to come here and get points but today we deserved at least a point. Big Steely did a great job for me when I scored with a terrific cross. They changed the line up near the end but our defence has been playing great recently and they gave very little away today. I’m just delighted to get my goal and to keep the momentum going.”
Linlithgow Rose: Hay, Brown (Strickland), Tyrrell, McKenzie, Walker, Ru McLennan, Smith (Manson), Nelson, Herd, Coyne, Ro McLennan. Subs: Fleming, Steve Connelly, Sean Connelly, Benton, Allison.
Bonnyrigg: Weir, McLeish, Stephen Thomson, Woodburn, Dunn, McAllum, McKenna, Steve Thomson, Archibald, Grady, Steele(Palizcka). Subs: Hendrie, Morrice, Burgess.