Saturday 18 March 2017, 14.30, Prestonfield Park

The Scottish Junior Cup Quarter Final tie between Linlithgow Rose and Gartcairn FA Juniors.

A third viewing of Linlithgow this season and it hasn’t been one to remember for the Rose.  Their league form has been very poor.  They have picked up just 3 points from their last six league games and currently sit in thirteenth in the sixteen team East Superleague.  They have only won 3 times this year and all of them have been in cup competitions.

Rose have changed quite a bit since I last saw them.  Todd Lumsden became manager in October after the sacking of David McGlynn.  Lumsden had been McGlynn’s assistant manager and has previously managed Albion Rovers and Arbroath after a career as a defender in the Scottish Leagues.  He has signed Stewart Devine and Liam Coogans and Harvey Swann is on loan from Cowdenbeath.

Linlithgow have reached the quarter final by defeating Clydebank, Dundee North End and Blantyre Vics.  As well as the Junior Cup, they are still in the East of Scotland Cup and the Fife and Lothians Cup.

Gartcairn are having a similar season in the Central District Second Division in the West Region of the Scottish Junior Football Association.  They sit seventh in the 12 team league, but there are several teams right behind them.  They’ve lost their last six league games, but the cups have been where their form has been a lot better.

In only their second season in the juniors, they’ve reached the quarter final of the Junior Cup, from what is effectively the fourth tier of the West Region.  They have knocked out Newmacher United, Whitburn, Hermes and Carluke Rovers after a replay.  We attended that replay in February.

Gartcairn were without defender Lee McShane due to a family wedding.

The opening exchanges were cagey and the first action took place in the 7th minute.  Gartcairn stole the ball from McNab on the half way line and Henderson on the right picked out Moore in the box inbetween two defenders.  He took a great first touch and shot quickly for goal, but it went narrowly wide.

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A long kick out by Hill in the Rose goal in 9 minutes went over the head of the last Cairn defender and saw Coyne running through on goal on the left.  He shot for goal on the half volley, but sliced wide.

Henderson crossed into the Rose box in 10 minutes and it was cleverly dummied by Carmichael, but the defence cleared.

Good work by Coyne along the by-line saw him get to the Cairn six-yard box, but Nugent managed to block with his feet.

Rose came forward in 15 minutes and Beaumont played the ball to Coyne, who passed through to Kelbie, but Ross did well to get in front of the striker and shepherd the ball behind.

In 19 minutes, Rose broke following a Gartcairn free kick and Kelbie took the ball forward from his own half.  He ran towards the Cairn goal before playing the ball left for Coyne whose shot came off the heel of Eadie and spun up over the head of Nugent and into the net to give Rose the lead.

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A fine strike by Rose’s McNab in 21 minutes from 20 yards was turned around the post by Nugent.

Kelbie made room for himself in 27 minutes, running along the edge of the Cairn box, but his powerful shot was well tipped over the bar by Nugent.  Donaldson’s corner came all the way to the back post and found Thom, but he couldn’t keep his header down.

Moore was down injured for Cairn in 30 minutes after a collision with a team mate, but he was ok to continue.

Kelly crossed into the Cairn box in 33 minutes and it took a deflection off Eadie.  The ball was palmed away by Nugent and came to Swann.  He played it back to Kelbie who side footed low into the corner of the net from the penalty spot to double Rose’s lead.

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Some nice intricate play by Cairn in 35 minutes ended with Henderson’s cross being blocked behind.  Moore’s corner gave Love a free header in the box, but he couldn’t keep it down.

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Rose broke forward in 43 minutes and Coyne tried to pick out McNab in the middle, but Nugent managed to smother the ball.

Two nil at half time and Cairn were a bit unfortunate to go in two down.  Both goals had deflections which went against them and they had acquitted themselves well.

The home side attacked in 48 minutes and Kelly passed inside to Beaumont whose shot from 22 yards was too high.

McNab picked up a loose ball on half way in 49 minutes and set off towards the Cairn goal.  He drove into the box and shot low between the legs of Nugent to make it three.

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Two minutes later, Rose came forward again and Thom found Kelly, who laid the ball back to Kelbie whose curling shot was pushed away by Nugent.

Swann showed good feet in 56 minutes to create some space and shot low at the Cairn goal from 23 yards, but it was comfortable save for Nugent.

A good forward run by Coyne 58 minutes saw him play the ball left to Swann, but Ross halted his progress in the Cairn box with a great tackle as he tried to cut inside.

Coyne slipped the ball through for Kelly in the Cairn box in 61 minutes and he and Nugent went for the ball.  Kelly got past him, but could only run the ball out.

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Cairn’s Ross needed treatment following a head knock.

McNab burst forward for Rose again in 64 minutes and when his attempted ball into the box came back to him, he fed Kelly on the left.  His ball across goal looking for Coyne and Kelbie in the middle was missed by Cairn defender Canning at the front post and hit his team mate Brady and flew into his own net for an own goal.  Four nil.

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Ross was forced to go off in 65 minutes, still feeling the effects of his head knock.

Rose sub Small turned well in the Cairn half in 71 minutes and played a 1-2 with Coyne before running into the box, but Nugent managed to block his shot with his legs.

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Linlithgow were putting some sustained pressure on the visitors’ defence and Small found Kelly on the right who put a good ball across the face of the Cairn goal in 73 minutes, which was just out of the reach of Coyne at the back post.

Thom found McNab in 75 minutes and his through ball found Small running in on the Cairn goal and he slotted through Nugent’s legs to make it five.

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Cairn’s attacks were becoming less and less frequent, but Whitelaw did drive for goal from the edge of the box in in 77 minutes, which Hill held well.

Beaumont’s corner in 79 minutes came to the back post and was played back into the Cairn box by McKenzie, where Leiper hit a scissors kick off the underside of the bar.  The defence got the ball away and Nugent required treatment.  He looked like he might have hit his head off the post in his attempt to save the volley.

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In 85 minutes, Beaumont played the ball wide left for Swann.  His cross into the Cairn box was met by a sliding Coyne, whose low volley went into the corner of the net for Linlithgow’s sixth of the afternoon.

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Cairn were still trying hard and a ball across goal in 86 minutes saw Whitelaw shoot first time, but he put it wide of goal.

With 87 minutes gone, Coyne found Small in the box but Canning made a great tackle to prevent him getting his shot in.  The ball ran to Swann who smashed the ball into the net to make it seven nil.

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A Beaumont corner in 89 minutes found the head of Kelly, and his powerful header hit the top of the Cairn bar and went over.

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With 90 minutes on the clock, Tait picked up a yellow card for a late tackle on Rose’s Beaumont.

Swann had the ball in the Cairn net again in the first minute of injury time, but it was disallowed for a foul by Small.

The last action saw Carmichael play the ball to Eadie on the corner of the Rose box, but his effort was wide.

A thumping win for Linlithgow and the end of Gartcairn’s run.

There wasn’t much between the teams in the first half and both Rose’s goals had an element of fortune in them.  The third early in the second half gave them real confidence and they played well after that.

Gartcairn can be proud of their run to the quarter final and certainly their first half performance in this game.  It was impressive to see that they never gave up, but Rose were just too good in the second half.

Kelly and McNab were good for Rose, with Coyne influential up front.  For Cairn, Moore looked more than capable of playing at a  higher level and Henderson looked like he could cause problems on the right wing.

Linlithgow joined Auchinleck Talbot, Glenafton and Bonnyrigg Rose in the semis.

Full Time: Linlithgow Rose 7 Gartcairn FA Juniors 0

Admission: £7

Linlithgow Rose: 1 Darren Hill, 2 Gary Thom, 3 Reece Donaldson, 5 Jamie McKenzie, 6 Colin Leiper, 7 Conner Kelly, 4 Jack Beaumont, 8 Robbie McNab, 11 Harvey Swann, 9 Tommy Coyne, 10 Kevin Kelbie (Swann 66).  Subs: 12 Lewis Small.

Gartcairn FA Juniors: 1 Anton Nugent, 2 Callum Brady, 3 William Eadie, 4 Barry Canning, 5 Kev Ross (16 65), 6 Robert McAvoy (Tait 45), 7 John Henderson (Whitelaw 50), 8 Josh Moore, 9 Jordon Love, 10 Ryan O’Donell, 11 Gary Carmichael. Subs: 12 Mark Tait, 14 Lee Pettigrew, 15 Dylan Whitelaw, 16.

Referee: Duncan Williams

Programme: None.

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