Jeanfield 0 Linlithgow 1: Three in a row for Rose

Tommy Coyne was on target yet again for Linlithgow at Jeanfield.
Tommy Coyne was on target yet again for Linlithgow at Jeanfield.

Linlithgow Rose completed a dismal season on a bright note with a 1-0 win at Jeanfield Swifts on their final Superleague match of the campaign.

Tommy Coyne’s strike midway through the first half was enough to give Rose the points and make it three wins out of three under new manager Mark Bradley.

With Swifts already safe from relegation there was little for the Perth side to play for at the Riverside Stadium.

But for the Rose players the match provided a final opportunity for them to impress boss Bradley before he assesses and reshapes his squad for next season.

It was also a chance for Linlithgow to string three league wins together for the first time since they won four in a row way back in August.

However the match got off to a slow start - and after just 12 minutes there was a blow to Rose’s game plan as they were forced to replace Kevin Kelbie with Williams.

The home side then came close to a fluke goal when a cross from James Yates hit Scott Sutherland on the chest but the ball went just wide of the target.

Instead, it was the visitors who took the lead in the 22nd minute.

It came following a patient build-up from the right which ended with Colin Leiper finding Coyne on the edge of the box and the Linlithgow striker turned his marker before sending a low left foot shot past keeper Mark Mitchell.

It was the Rose hitman’s 17th Superleague goal of the campaign and his 37th in all competitions.

Just a few minutes later there might have been another goal added to that prodigious tally.

Ross Gray did well to beat his man on the right and cut the ball back to Coyne, but this time the striker’s shot was blocked.

Linlithgow continued to look to add to their lead and a few minutes before half-time an ambitious volley from Stewart Devine flew high over the bar.

Conor Kelly was unlucky to see his curling shot edge just wide of the top corner of the net and half-time arrived with the visitors still just one in front.

Rose continued to dominate in the second half, however Jeanfield weren’t without their chances, including a free-kick from Yates minutes into the second half which was held by Richie Barnard.

Minutes later, Williams had a chance to put the Rose further ahead after Stuart McDermid lost the ball, but keeper Mitchell pulled off a fine save.

Rose defender Jamie Mackenzie then attempted a shot from 45 yards out when he spotted Mitchell off his line but his effort was just off target.

Rose made a change in the 62nd minute when Gray made way for Lewis Small.

A header from Jeanfield’s John Anderson was comfortably collected by Barnard before - at the other end - Williams had a low cross cleared off the line.

After the home side had replaced Sutherland with Sam Noble, a low shot from Linlithgow’s Sean Muhsin went wide of the target.

Rose then had the ball cleared off the line with less than 10 minutes remaining as they pushed for a clinching second goal.

Jeanfield made a final substitution, replacing Scott with Hepburn, but they couldn’t find an equaliser and the visitors took home the points.

Linlithgow’s win at Jeanfield means they finished the Superleague season in ninth place, a massive 38 points behind champions Kelty Hearts.

Defeats by Broughty Athletic and Camelon in their opening two matches set the tone for a forgettable league campaign which saw Rose lose 12 of their 30 matches.

Despite wins in their next four games, hopes of a revival proved short-lived as manager Davie McGlynn departed in October.

Ex-Arbroath boss Todd Lumsden took over after a asuccessful interim stint in charge, but despite a run to the semi-finals of the Scottish Junior Cup, league form continued to disappoint.

Even their traditional Prestonfieldfortress proved anything but.

Rose went almost nine months without a home league win from August 27 to May 8 and with the threat of relegation ever increasing Lumsden was dismissed.