Linlithgow Rose take title race to last day with St Andrews win

Linlithgow put pressure on the St Andrews defence (pic by Blair Smith)
Linlithgow put pressure on the St Andrews defence (pic by Blair Smith)

Linlithgow Rose did what they needed to do at St Andrews on Saturday to take the Conference C title race to the final day.

A 4-1 win over St Andrews United means Mark Bradley’s side head for Jeanfield Swifts on Saturday knowing they can still take the title - if they win and leaders Broxburn slip up against Stirling University.

The home side started the better, forcing three quick corners, and had the first real chance of the match after five minutes, but McManus pulled his shot wide of the target.

However, in their first attack, the Rose took the lead just a minute later when keeper Curtis sent his clearance from a back pass straight to Roddy Maclennan some 30 yards out and he controlled the ball before firing a fantastic strike past Curtis high into the net.

Midway through the half the Rose extended their lead when, after Iain Gray’s shot from a tight angle was deflected into the side netting, Owen Ronald’s low corner was volleyed home by Gary Thom from 10 yards.

A few minutes later Michael McKinven pulled off a great save to maintain the lead, and Tommy Coyne’s powerful shot went wide of the post at the other end.

United’s Andrew Fleming picked up a yellow card for a foul on Colin Strickland, just before the home side pulled a goal back on 34 minutes when Falconer curled the ball into the net after Kevin McKinlay failed to clear.

However Rose restored their two-goal advantage two minutes before half-time when after a lovely move down the right ended with Coyne turning home Gray’s low cross.

Early in the second half, McInnes shot high over the Rose bar and picked up a yellow card 10 minutes later.

Stark’s header had to be touched over the bar by McKinven, and then Falconer’s diving header went wide of the target as the home side were enjoying much more possession, without really troubling McKinven.

With 25 minutes remaining, Roddy Maclennan’s shot went over the bar but the Rose man did find the target again in the 73rd minute - against the run of play- to seal the match for the visitors.

Roddy picked up the ball from brother Ruari, worked his way into the box, took a touch and fired the ball high past Curtis into the net.

The final 10 minutes of play were broken up by a number of substitutions as Rose safely saw the game out.