Linlithgow Rose made unexpected progress into the next round of the East of Scotland Cup with victory over Hill of Beath at Prestonfield on Saturday.
However it wasn’t due to Mark Bradley’s men causing a cup upset at the expense of their Fife opponents; it’s just that they weren’t expecting to play the match in the first place.
Rose had been scheduled to travel to Carnoustie Panmure for an East Superleague fixture.
But when that game was called off on Friday due to adverse weather, Rose took the opportunity to start clearing their fixture backlog by rearranging their East of Scotland second round encounter with Hill of Beath whose game at Jeanfield Swifts was also called off.
Rose started well, but apart from a couple of goalmouth scrambles, they were unable to put a stamp on the match until midway through the half.
In the 23rd minute, Russell Grierson was booked for foul on Rose new boy Darren Smith.
Two minutes later, the same Hill o’Beath man conceded a penalty when he fouled Smith again this time inside the box.
That paved the way for a piece of club history as Tommy Coyne stepped up and sent keeper Stuart Hall the wrong way to score and set a new Rose goalscoring record with his 274th goal for the club.
With just over half an hour played, the visitors had their first opportunity when Gary Thom tried to cut out a through pass and the ball fell into the path of Daniel Watt, but he blasted his shot wide of the target.
At the other end, Ruari Maclennan’s shot from inside the box went wide, and just before the end of the half Hall made a fine save low to his right to deny Coyne.
The Rose again started the second half well, and within five minutes a goalbound shot from Coyne beat Hall but was cleared by Riki Dair just short of the goal line.
Unfortunately for Dair he injured himself in the process and had to be replaced by Shaun Leishman.
In the 55th minute Blair Batchelor’s shot was spilled by Hall but cleared for a corner. The kick was headed out to Batchelor on the edge of the box and this time his shot was tipped over the bar by the keeper.
On the hour mark, the Rose were sent a warning after their strong start to the half when Charlie Denton did very well to play a fine ball across the face of the Rose goal, but the visitors had no one on hand to turn the ball over the line.
A minute later, Denton was replaced by Smith.
Hill of Beath’s Rory Harrower picked up a yellow card for a foul on Batchelor, and then the Rose made a double substitution, replacing Colin Strickland and Smith with Aidan Malone and Roddy Maclennan.
Ther latter made an immediate impact as he slipped past a couple of men in a lovely run from midfield and fed the ball to Malone but his shot hit the keeper, although the offside flag was already up.
The visitors replaced Harrower with Mark Allan, shortly before Ruari Maclennan was booked for studs showing in an otherwise fine tackle.
Shortly afterwards, and with just five minutes left, Rose extended their lead when Jamie Mackenzie’s shot following a corner took a wicked deflection off a defender and beat the keeper at his right hand post.
In the final minutes, Ruari Maclennan made way for Robert Sloan and Hall made a good save at his near post to deny Coyne another goal.
Overall it was a solid performance from the Rose which pleased boss Bradley.
He said: “In the first we were excellent. We played a lot of cracking football and kept posession of the ball really well.
“It’s just a pity we never scoredf a couple more goals. We got the penalty and went in 1-0 up but we made a lot of chances and the only negative was maybe that we hadn’t put the game to bed.
“But we really never looked in danger.
“The second half wasn’t too great, to be fair.
“We still had a lot of the ball but were not as good as we were in the first half and then we got a goal to put the game to be through a bit of a deflection.
“All in all it was good to get a game back at home and to get into the next round of the cup.”