Linlithgow Rose hit six past Edinburgh United

Owen Ronald hit a hat-trick for Linlithgow Rose
Owen Ronald hit a hat-trick for Linlithgow Rose

Linlithgow Rose moved clear at the top of their East of Scotland Conference table with a comprehensive victory at Prestonfield on Saturday.

Owen Ronald hit a hat-trick as Rose, who began the day level on points with Broxburn and one ahead of Jeanfield Swifts who were playing each other.

The clash between their two main rivals ended in a 2-0 win for Swifts, allowing Rose to go clear at the top.

Yet despite a bright start from the home side, it was the visitors who took the lead in the seventh minute following a free header at the back post which led to Conlon volleying home.

Minutes later there were shouts from the Rose players that the ball had crossed the line following a shot from a corner but the officials disagreed.

In the 13th minute, the Rose were awarded a penalty, Robertson picking up a yellow card for a trip in the box after the ball had been half cleared.

Tommy Coyne stepped up and sent keeper Hanratty the wrong way to level the scores.

A few minutes later, there was nice link up play between Roddy Maclennan and Darren Smith but the final shot lacked power, and then there was a chance for Roddy Maclennan to put the Rose ahead but his goalbound effort hit off a defender.

With nearly half an hour played, the Rose went ahead after some lovely play stemming from Ruari Maclennan’s free-kick. The ball went from Ross McKinnon to Roddy Maclennan whose lay off was perfect for Ronald to strike a shot low and hard into the net.

An injured Roddy Maclennan was replaced by Colin Strickland before The Rose edged further ahead in the 33rd minute when Gary Thom headed home from Ronald’s right wing corner.

Early in the second half, Thom volleyed home Ronald’s cross but the offside flag was up. A couple of minutes later, however, Ronald found the net with a fine strike from the edge of the box following a lay off by Strickland.

Ronald then had a shot saved and a tame follow up shot from Coyne was blocked before Rose got a fifth in the 70th minute.

Ruari Maclennan released Ronald and his lovely chip left the keeper stranded but hit the underside of the bar, struck Coyne and was scrambled off the line but Strickland pounced to tap in from close range.

Before the restart, Gray replaced Ruari Maclennan while the visitors replaced Flynn with Guiney. Robertson was then replaced by Swanney minutes later.

Robert Sloan replaced Blair Batchelor before, with just under 10 minutes remaining, Ronald rounded off his hat trick in somewhat fortunate circumstances as his tame shot should have been an easy stop for Hanratty but as the keeper went to pick up the ball, it trundled underneath him and over the line.

Spaulding was booked for a foul on Smith, and the Rose were forced to see out the remainder of the match with 10 men when Barbour limped off with a thigh injury. In the final minute, Rose shouts for handball in the box were not given, and Edinburgh broke up the park, but the deficit was not reduced as the ball was headed just over the bar.