Bonnyrigg 0 Linlithgow 2: Linlithgow kill off Bonnyrigg title hopes

Robbie McNab scored Linlithgow's killer second goal at Bonnyrigg
Robbie McNab scored Linlithgow's killer second goal at Bonnyrigg

Linlithgow Rose made it two wins out of two under new boss Mark Bradley as they put an end to Bonnyrigg’s title challenge.

The home side needed a win at New Dundas Park to set up a final day, winner takes all showdown with long-time East Superleague leaders Kelty Hearts.

But it was the Linlithgow players - looking to impress new boss Bradley as he plans his squad for next season - who took the points with goals from Conor Kelly and Robbie McNab.

Bonnyrigg started well and sent an early warning Linlithgow’s way when, in the first minute, Sean Jamieson skipped through the Linlithgow defence. But his shot was blocked by keeper Darren Hill.

A few minutes later, Andrew Kidd shot over the bar, while at the other end McNab’s fizzing shot from distance was saved low by Bonnyrigg keeper Michael Andrews.

With just over a quarter of an hour played the home side threatened again when Scott Gray beat Gary Thom, but Jamieson’s shot at the front post from the cutback was again stopped by Hill.

A few minutes later, Bonnyrigg had a chance in a goalmouth scramble but Colin Leiper eventually cleared.

And Bonnyrigg’s failure to find the net was punished when the visitors took the lead in the 22nd minute.

Kelly’s fine header from a Harvey Swann cross from the left beat Andrews and found the net via the inside of the far post to put the Rose ahead.

Bonnyrigg tried to hit back and claimed a penalty in the 32nd minute when Jamieson, after taking advantage of a Leiper error, stumbled in the box under a challenge from Thom.

He still managed to get in a shot, which was blocked, and referee Colin Whyte dismissed the home side’s loud spot-kick claims.

Linlithgow’s Ross Gray was then booked for a foul on Kidd, before his Bonnyrigg namesake followed him into the book for a foul on Sean Muhsin.

Still trailing at the break, the home side needed a rousing display in the second half to keep their title dream alive and they were almost back on level terms in the opening few minutes.

Keiran McGachie had a low shot saved by Hill before Lewis Turner’s cross was met by Wayne McIntosh whose volley crashed down off the underside of the bar.

Bonnyrigg claimed it had crossed the line, but again referee Whyte waved play on.

Bonnyrigg replaced Adam Nelson with Jonathan Brown before Kidd picked up a yellow card for dissent.

Hill kept Linlithgow in front in the 67th minute with another fine save to keep out a Ewan Moyes header from a Kidd corner with McGachie unable to turn home the rebound.

At the other end Andrews used his legs to hold McNab’s free header from Swann’s corner.

Bonnyrigg continued to press for the goal they so desperately needed and had a great opportunity to equalise on 73 minutes when a cross from McIntosh flashed low across the goal.

But neither McGachie nor Jamieson were able to get the touch needed to divert the ball over the line and into the Linlithgow net.

And Bonnyrigg’s championship challenge was finally crushed when Linlithgow doubled their advantage with a second goal six minutes from time.

Gray stretched the Bonnyrigg defence with a run down the right and his cross found McNab who slotted the ball home to give Bonnyrigg a massive mounrtain to climb.

Bonnyrigg’s McIntosh and Linlithgow’s Mark Williams were booked before Linlithgow boss Bradley replaced Gray with Lewis Small.

Bonnyrigg almost reduced the deficit in the 89th minute when a shot from Brown bounced on top of the crossbar.

But that was the closest the home side would come to grabbing a goal.

In the end it was Linlithgow who took the spoils, rendering meaningless Bonnyrigg’s final match with Kelty on Saturday.

For the visitors - who conclude their own programnme on Saturday with an away match at Jeanfield Swifts - it was a second successive win inder new management as they look to lay down a marker for a much improved campaign next time round.