Saturday 10 September 2016, 14.30, Prestonfield

The East Superleague derby clash between Linlithgow Rose and Bo’ness United.

Second viewing of Rose after seeing their pre-season game at Dalkeith Thistle.  They’ve had a mixed start to their league season.  An opening day defeat at home to Broughty Athletic before another defeat at Camelon was a bad start.  Since then, they’ve won at Penicuik Athletic and Newtongrange Star and at home to Broxburn Athletic and Lochee United.  The victory at Threave Rovers in the Scottish Cup the week before this for 5 wins in a row suggests things might be moving in the right direction.

Since I saw them last they have signed goalkeeper Darren Hill from Forfar Athletic after the departure of Ally Adams, who has gone to Tranent.  They also have former Falkirk and Stirling Albion midfielder Robbie McNab and 19 year old striker Tommy McAllister, on loan from Stirling Albion.

Bo’ness United were formed in 1945, at the end of the Second World War when Bo’ness, a club that had played in the senior ranks between 1921 to 1932, merged with the Junior club Bo’ness Cadora.

Early success in the Scottish Cup came in 1946, and they were runners-up the following year.  Further wins in the pinnacle of the Junior game came in 1976 and 1984. They’ve won the Superleague in 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2013-14.

As a result of winning the 2009–10 Superleague, they competed in the Scottish Cup for the first time the following season. The club reached the third round, which they also did the following year.

Last season saw them finish fourth in the league and they won the East of Scotland Cup final against Dundonald Bluebell.

The signings that Bo’ness have made have been the real talking points in the area.  Paul Murphy has re-signed after a year away at Cumnock, forward Fraser Eddington from Stenhousemuir, midfielder John Miller from Broxburn Athletic and then the ones that have been the talk of the steamie; Colin Strickland, and brothers Roddy and Ruari MacLennan from Linlithgow, and former Rose player Calum Smith from Kelty Hearts.  Goalkeeper Darren Jamieson has joined on loan from Hamilton Accies.

Injuries have been a big problem for United so far with Scott Christie, Fraser Eddington, Scott Gibb and Calum Smith all with long term absences.

They have begun the season is similar fashion to Rose with defeat in their opening 2 games at Musselburgh Athletic then at home to Hill of Beath. This was followed by home wins against Carnoustie Panmure and Dundonald Bluebell, and away at Fauldhouse United and Jeanfield Swifts.  They needed penalties to get past East Premier League side Dalkeith Thistle in the East of Scotland Cup on their last outing.

Reports that the MacLennan brothers were both going to miss the game through injury proved to be fabrication as both took their place in the Bo’ness starting lineup, along with their other signing from Rose, Strickland.  Will Snowdon was initially listed as sub, but was replaced at the last minute by Scott Ritchie.

There was a big Bo’ness support in the ground as the game kicked off.

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A ball up the right hand side by Strickland from Bo’ness in the first minute found Philp, but his low shot was comfortably collected by Barnard.

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Beaumont put a decent ball into the United box in 4 minutes which was almost met by the head of Batchelor, but it was just too high.

In 12 minutes, there was a chance for Weir after Batchelor played him in, but Jamieson in the Bo’ness goal was out quickly to block.

A minute later, Roddy MacLennan brought the ball forward for United and cut inside before firing narrowly over from 25 yards.

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Rose’s Reece Donaldson was lucky to escape a booking after a late challenge on Gemmell as the full back cleared the ball in 15 minutes.

Beaumont took a Rose free kick in 16 minutes after Hunter had received the game’s first booking for taking out Batchelor.  It was a good ball into the box, but Jamieson punched clear.

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As Rose came forward with Gray in 18 minutes, he went down on the edge of the box after a challenge by Campbell and was booked for diving.  It looked like contact had been made from where I was.

Some great close control by Roddy MacLennan in 20 minutes saw him drift past Shirra and Beaumont before he clipped the ball through for Strickland, but Barnard was out of his goal quickly to smother the ball.

Keast found Philp with a crossfield ball in 22 minutes and the United midfielder strode forward and shot from outside the box, but Barnard was down well to gather.

Some intricate build up play by the home side in 23 minutes, including two back heels at the edge of the box, but the cross into the box was cleared.

Kelbie chested the ball down for Batchelor in 24 minutes and he took the ball well in his stride, but shot wide of the goal.

United’s injury worries continued with Millar forced to come off in 26 minutes.

Roddy MacLennan won Bo’ness a disputed corner in 38 minutes and Sloan’s ball over found the head of Hunter, who had time and space in the box to head down and into the net to give United the lead.

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Rose got their first yellow card of the game in 40 minutes when Reece Donaldson caught Roddy MacLennan.

Some great skill by Roddy MacLennan in 41 minutes saw him glide past 3 Rose players in the box, but Barnard did well to block his shot on goal.

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United came forward again in 42 minutes with Ruari MacLennan sending a ball across goal which was just out of reach of Philp.

Bo’ness still led at half time although Rose had probably been the better side.

Some sloppy play at the back by Rose’s MacKenzie in 51 minutes gave the ball away to Strickland who charged fowards and laid the ball off to Philp in the box, but his shot was acrobatically turned over the bar by Barnard.  Ruari MacLennan’s corner found Campbell at the front post and he glanced his header into the net to double the lead.  Once again one of Bo’ness’ biggest players was left unmarked in the box.

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A minute later, the roof fell in on Linlithgow.  A ball in from the right by Strickland, after he had been released by Philp saw the defence at sixes and sevens and Keast sidefooted in the third.

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In 58 minutes, Ruari MacLennan found himself in space on the edge of the Linlithgow box after a dummy by his brother, but his shot went wide.

As Rose looked like completely capitulating, United looked to capitalise and a ball forward by Hunter in 59 minutes found Roddy MacLennan running through on goal.  At the edge of the box, he took the ball round Barnard and went down.  The keeper got a yellow card, which was probably the correct decision as the ball had gone away from the goal, although there seemed to be a suggestion by the home players that it had been a dive.  Strickland’s resultant free kick was deflected and Barnard did well to turn it around the post.

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United’s Donnelly was next to go in the book after bringing down Weir right on the edge of the box in 68 minutes, and Beaumont’s well struck free kick was pushed away by Jamieson.

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Ruari MacLennan won the ball well on the edge of the Rose box in 71 minutes, but his shot at goal lacked power.

At the other end a minute later, Kelly had a shot at goal, but it was an easy save for Jamieson.

There were appeals for a penalty from Bo’ness in 84 minutes, but the ref waved them away.

With two minutes left, Hunter had another header at goal from a Sloan corner, but Barnard somehow got his fingers to it to put it over via the bar.

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A convincing win in the end for Bo’ness and Linlithgow must be worried about how they fell apart in the second half.  There seems to be a bit of apathy among the fans at the moment, with them being outnumbered on the terraces.

Beaumont put some quality balls into the box and Barnard kept the score down with some good saves for Rose.  For the BU, the Linlithgow trio all showed a big desire to prove a point and Roddy MacLennan had some lovely touches.  Hunter was excellent at the back and won everything in the air and got the first goal as well.  He and Campbell looked comfortable at the back.  With half a team to return from injury, they will be looking to push on from this.

A mention for the referee whose stamina was impressive, still running hard at the end of the game on a hot day.

Full Time: Linlithgow Rose 0 Bo’ness United 3

Admission: £6

Linlithgow Rose: 1 Richie Barnard, 2 Bradley Donaldson, 3 Reece Donaldson (Hamill 66), 4 Jamie Mackenzie, 5 Gary Thom, 6 Jack Beaumont, 7 Blair Batchelor (Kelly 57), 8 Andy Shirra, 9 Graham Weir, 10 Kevin Kelbie (Coyne 57), 11 Ross Gray. Subs: 12 Tommy Coyne, 14 Joe Hamill, 15 Conor Kelly, 16 Robbie McNab, 19 Darren Hill.

Bo’ness United: 20 Darren Jamieson, 2 Michael Gemmell, 3 Kris Donnelly, 4 John Millar (Sloan 26), 5 Stuart Hunter, 6 Ross Campbell, 7 Fraser Keast, 8 Ross Philp, 9 Colin Strickland (Walker 73), 10 Ruari MacLennan, 11 Roddy MacLennan (Wright 85). Subs: 12 Paul Murray, 14 Robert Sloan, 16 Nicky Walker, 17 Marty Wright, 21 Scott Ritchie.

Referee: Lloyd Wilson

Programme: None.

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