Linlithgow 3 Camelon 1: Batchelor double sets up Rose win

Tommy Coyne and two-goal Blair Batchelor close in on a Camelon opponent (pic by Michael Gillen_
Tommy Coyne and two-goal Blair Batchelor close in on a Camelon opponent (pic by Michael Gillen_

Linlithgow Rose opened their account for the season with victory in their first home match against Camelon on Wednesday.

A double by Blair Batchelor and a Colin Strickland strike secured the points as Mark Bradley’s side bounced back from their opening day defeat at Penicuik.

Bradley would have been looking for a rapid response to that loss, but it was Camelon who had an early chance to take the lead with a shot from former Stenhousemuir forward Alan Docherty that went narrowly wide of the target.

However Rose hit bacxk to take the lead in 19 minutes.

Tommy Coyne did well on the left and from his cross Batchelor’s glancing header found the back of the net.

Minutes later Camelon had a great opportunity to equalise with Ross Crawford in front of goal, but keeper Darren Barnard got a touch to deflect the ball just wide.

The Camelon striker, a summer signing, had yet another clear chance in front of goal with 10 minutes of the half remaining, but he poked the ball past the right hand post.

At the other end, Owen Ronald linked with Aiden Malone to create a chance for Coyne. But on the stretch - and with an open goal awaiting - the Rose striker couldn’t connect with the cross ball.

Malone also came close after Ruari Maclennan held off two challenges, with the referee playing a good advantage, and played him in with only keeper Dean Shaw to beat, but while he did that the ball rebounded off the post.

Rose remained just a goal ahead at the break but managed to extended their advantage five minutes into the second half.

A great inswinging ball from Coyne found Batchelor, and the midfielder sent the ball high past Shaw.

But the two-goal cushion was short-lived as Camelon clawed a goal back just six minutes later.

Rose were slow to close down Crawford and his shot on the turn flew into the top corner past the helpless Barnard.

Immediately Camelon, sensing a way back into the match, replaced Jordan Herron and Scott Taylor with Andy Kay and Jason Deans.

And on the hour mark, an opportunity fell for Docherty to level for the visitors, but he blasted wide of the Linlithgow goal.

Minutes later, Shaw made a good catch from Batchelor’s cross from the left to deny Ronald.

Rose rang the changes midway through the half, repacing Robert Sloan and Malone with new signing Martyn Shields and Strickland.

A couple of yellow cards followed - Deans was booked for a foul on Ruari Maclennan, while Barnard was booked for a foul outside the box.

Camelon’s Kane was also replaced by Darren Liddell.

Rose’s advantage remained a slender one, but six minutes from the end they sealed victory with a third goal.

The goal came after Camelon keeper Shaw was penalised for stepping outside his box with the ball in his hands as he went to clear upfield.

The free-kick was taken by Ronald and stopped by Shaw, but the ball ran loose and Strickland followed up to score his first competitive goal since returning to the club from Bo’ness during the close season.

In the final minutes, Gary Thom averted danger by blocking Craig Donaldson’s cross before a late Rose change saw Ronald replaced by Cammy McClair.

Boss Bradley said afterwards: “The boys knew we needed a reaction after Saturday.

“We trained well on Monday night and I was pleased with the way the first half went. They showed a bit of desire to do things right and the urgency was there, which was missing on Saturday.

“I felt, albeit they had two chances Gordon [Herd] will be disappointed they didn’t score, we were in control of the whole of the first half.

“Our home form has to be key to have any success this year. It’s a big part of the club’s history, it always has been that Linlithgow’s a tough place to come and get anything and that’s something we’re drumming into the players.”