Linlithgow Rose picked up three valuable points in the title race with a 4-1 win over Broxburn Athletic at Prestonfield on Saturday.
Mark Bradley made just one change as Rose returned to league business folllowing their midweek cup win over Lochore Welfare, Jamie Mackenzie replacing Blair Batchelor.
Broxburn came close to taking the lead after just three minutes but Gary Thom cleared the ball off the line.
A few minutes later, at the other end, Ruari Maclennan’s shot went just wide of the target.
Rose then lost Luke Whelan who pulled up with an injury and was replaced by Martyn Shields.
In the 17th minute Broxburn keeper Connor Wallace pulled off a fine save to tip Tommy Coyne’s fierce strike over the bar, and then Colin Strickland’s shot was just inches high of the target.
However a minute later Linlithgow took the lead when Broxburn’s Grant Gavin turned the ball into his own net after some good pressure from the Rose.
As Rose kept up the pressure Thom’s header was not far away and then a curling shot from Strickland went just over the bar.
In the 41st minute Coyne hit the bar with a good strike, but a second Rose goal did arrive in first-half stoppage time when they were awarded a penalty after Wallace brought down Ruari Maclennan in the box after a great link up with Coyne.
The keeper picked up a yellow card for the foul and Coyne converted the spot kick.
Broxburn pair Ross Nimmo and Nicholas Locke were both booked for dissent and there was also still time for bookings for Rose’s Strickland and Broxburn’s Gavin before half-time.
Broxburn reduced the deficit just four minutes into the second half when Alexander Murray cut through the defence and scored.
Five minutes later Ruari Maclennan squandered a chance by blasting the ball over the bar, but on 63 minutes Rose’s two-goal advantage was restored when Strickland found the net with a header from Owen Ronald’s corner.
The visitors suffered another blow in the 72nd minute, a foul on Mackenzie resulting in Nimmo picking up his second yellow card of the match, followed by a red, reducing the visitors to 10 men.
Immediately, Broxburn replaced Scott Richards with Christopher Townsley, and the Rose replaced Darren Smith with Alan Urquhart.
In the 76th minute Gordon Donaldson was booked for a foul on Ronald, and the Rose man followed into the book moments later although many in the ground thought the Broxburn player had dived.
Eight minutes from time Rose rounded off the scoring when Strickland squared the ball to Mackenzie who fired into the net.