A Tommy Coyne strike was enough to give Linlithgow Rose victory over Lochee United for the second time in the space of a few weeks.
Rose, 4-2 winners in the East of Scotland Cup at Lochee at the end of April, hosted the Taysiders at Prestonfield on Saturday, this time with league points at stake.
Luke Whelan replaced the suspended Ruari Maclennan for the home side who should have been ahead within two minutes.
Kyle Turnbull’s low cross from the left was mishit by Colin Strickland but the ball fell perfectly for Jamie Mackenzie coming in at the far post, only for the Rose man to hit the ball against keeper Mark Stewart when it looked easier to score.
At the other end, in the eighth minute, Grant Lawson made a great run down the left and got the ball back from Dougie Cameron, but Linlithgow keeper Darren Hill made a great block to deny him from close range.
Minutes later the Rose keeper did well again to stop Connor Birse’s shot after Lawson had played him in.
The first yellow card arrived in the 20th minute, Lochee’s Logan Davie picking up a needless booking for kicking the ball away.
Five minutes later the Rose took the lead. Robert Sloan’s free-kick, after a foul on Mackenzie, bounced off a couple of players before Coyne’s somewhat scuffed shot found the far corner of the net.
On the half hour mark Strickland and Coyne linked well, but Coyne’s shot was well saved by Stewart.
The Rose continued to search for another goal but struggled to get clear shots on goal.
However they were given a helping hand five minutes from half-time. Davis was given a final warning from referee Lindsay after a late challenge on Whelan, but less than a minute later, the Lochee man’s foul on Blair Batchelor was enough for the referee to brandish a second yellow and then a red card.
At the start of the second half, Martyn Shields replaced Turnbull who struggled with an injury picked up early in the first half.
Five minutes later another Lochee player needlessly found his way into the referee’s book, this time it was Cameron for dissent after a throw in, perhaps wrongly, was awarded to the Rose.
In the 53rd minute, Mackenzie played in a fine cross from the right, but the ball was just too high for Batchelor in front of goal.
A few minutes later, Whelan was booked for dribbling the ball away after a free-kick was awarded against him.
With nearly an hour played Roddy Maclennan, who had been quiet for much of the game, came close to scoring a spectacular goal as he raced down the wing and tried to chip the keeper, but the ball was just off target.
Whelan was then replaced by Ronald, and McInally was shown a yellow card for a foul on Roddy Maclennan.
Despite the extra man advantage, the Rose failed to dominate the match and get that second goal. Instead, Lochee applied some pressure, forcing a number of set pieces and Birse was unlucky at the back post in the 68th minute when he hit the side netting.
In the 70th minute, Strickland, Batchelor and Owen Ronald linked well in a neat move but Ronald’s shot lacked the power needed to trouble Stewart.
Coyne was then replaced by Urquhart and immediately the substitute made an impression with a volley that wasn’t far away.
Lochee had a great chance to grab an equaliser in the 75th minute when Cammy McMahon was free at the back post, but he headed downwards and the ball bounced on the ground before going over the crossbar.
Hill pulled off a another excellent save to deny Birse as the visitors continued to threaten.
With just under 10 minutes remaining, Ronald shot wide, and Lochee replaced Reid with player/coach and ex-Scotland international Lee Wilkie, whose height had the potential to be a danger to the Rose at set pieces.
But Rose kept those to a minimum in the final minutes and the last action of the match was to see Lochee reduced to nine men when Cameron picked up a second yellow card for a tussle with Shields.