Musselburgh striker Jordyn Sheerin hailed his team’s resilience as they came away from the first leg of their Dyslexia Scotland Scottish Junior Cup semi-final with a 3-2 advantage – despite playing the majority of the second half with ten men.
Sheerin had put Burgh in control with a first-half double, but goalkeeper Ally Adams saw red for bringing down Ruari MacLennan inside the area and substitute Murray Jackson’s first job was to pick the ball out of his own net after Tommy Coyne converted the spot-kick.
Jackson, 21, on-loan from Spartans and making just his second appearance, was afforded special praise from Sheerin for a series of vital saves towards the end and the Burgh frontman is hopeful they can get the job done at Olivebank this Saturday to set up just their second-ever Junior Cup final.
“It’s always hard when you go down to ten men, but as a team and as a squad we did brilliantly,” said Sheerin. “Murray came on and made a couple of great saves to keep us in it and we really pulled together.
“It’s always great to come into a game like this as underdogs as you don’t want to go in with people expecting you to win as there is pressure on you from the fans and the committee, and we quite like it that way.
“They are obviously a great side so it was good to come here and play as well as we did and come away with a victory. We’ll go into next week with a confidence about us and we’ll see if we can live up to the hype.”
Rose boss Danny Smith has rued individual errors costing his side in recent games and he was left tearing his hair out on the touchline after just 18 minutes.
Midfielder Adam Nelson was caught in possession on the edge of his own box by Steven Thomson as Rose attempted to play it out from the back. Thomson fed Graeme Beveridge on the right, who slipped in Sheerin, and he finished low into the bottom corner past the outstretched Scott Christie. Despite starting the match with four strikers, a front two of Colin Strickland and Kevin Kelbie, flanked by Calum Smith and Coyne, Rose were restricted to efforts from long range by an organised Burgh backline.
Central midfield pairing Darren Smith and Jackie Myles were winning the battle in the engine room for Burgh and there could be no complaints as the visitors deservedly doubled their lead before the break.
There appeared to be little danger for Rose as Thomson played in Sheerin on the left, but Burgh’s top goalscorer is capable of producing the unexpected and he curled an unstoppable strike over Christie and into the far corner.
Rose, having emerged from a rollicking by manager Smith at the break, upped their intensity and won themselves a penalty after 58 minutes when Adams felled MacLennan. Thomson was taken off by Burgh boss Stevie McLeish for Jackson, but he couldn’t stop Coyne from pulling a goal back.
The visitors, despite being down to ten men, weren’t going to sit back, however, and, within five minutes, they regained their two-goal advantage. Smith battled well to win possession midway inside his own half before surging to the halfway line and playing the ball out wide to Sheerin, who had moved to the left flank as a result of the sending-off. Sheerin stepped inside and lofted the ball over to Michael Hunter, who let the ball bounce before he unleashed a spectacular half-volley over Christie from 15 yards.
Home defender John Ovenstone pulled one back from close range after Jackson failed to deal with Nelson’s free-kick on 68 minutes, but the youngster made up for his lapse in concentration with three crucial stops late on to ensure Burgh came away with a well-deserved lead.
Linlithgow Rose: Christie, McKillen, Thom, Ovenstone, Nelson, Smith, MacLennan, Strickland, Coyne, Kelbie (Kelly).
Musselburgh Athletic: Adams, Christie, Martin, Myles, Hunter (Ralton), Smith, Beveridge, Thomson (Jackson), Sheerin, Wilson, Munro.