Lochee United lost their unbeaten record to a slick Linlithgow Rose side at Thomson Park, eventually going down 5-1 to the impressive visitors.

Rose began the game in menacing fashion with an early move down the Lochee left which saw Robert Sloan find Owen Ronald on the wing and his cross into the box was just missed by the inrushing Blair Batchelor.

Bryan Deasley replied for the home team with a shot straight at Ritchie Barnard but Rose were soon threatening the Bluebells’ goal again. First, there was a scare when Mark Stewart fumbled a high ball, gathering it at the second attempt, then, from a corner, Stewart had to look sharp to save a header from Sloan.

The West Lothian outfit kept up the pressure and Aaron Whitehead made a great clearance on the line after Stewart had blocked an initial effort.

Lochee weathered the early storm and came into the game. A Scott Webster ball into the box fell to Greg Kirk but he couldn’t get it under control and the danger was cleared. Kirky came even closer in the 20th minute when he pulled down a Scot McComiskie cross but keeper Barnard brought off a tremendous point-blank save.

Lochee had the ball in the net three minutes later following a move involving Danny Millar, McComiskie and Connor Birse, but Deasley was adjudged to be offside.

That was to prove crucial because Linlithgow opened the scoring just 60 seconds later. A free kick from the left by Sloan was headed strongly past Stewart by Aiden MALONE.

Eight minutes later the visitors increased their lead. A through ball found RONALD and the winger rounded Stewart before sending the ball rolling into the empty net.

The Bluebells were shell shocked and this was shown when a simple passback rolled past Stewart and the keeper was lucky enough to recover and put the ball round the post for a corner. Sadly, this only led to a Linlithgow third score, right on the half time whistle, Gary THOM rising above everyone to head the ball home from the corner.

The home side came out fired up in the second half and Whitehead headed narrowly past from a Dougie Cameron free kick.

McComiskie had a shot blocked and then found himself with a harsh yellow card when he went down in the penalty area under a challenge from two Rose defenders.

If the third goal was a disaster for Lochee, the fourth was even worse. A long clearance upfield by Colin Leiper was inadvertently sent past his own keeper by WEBSTER in the 68thminute.

There was a crumb of comfort two minutes later for Lochee when KIRK reduced the leeway, heading in from a corner on the left.

This encouraged the home side and they went close again through Kirk and Deasley.

With 16 minutes left, Jamie Montgomery came on for McComiskie, but a minute later, the visitors increased their lead. Once again, Leiper sent a long ball upfield and it was latched onto by Malone and his inch perfect ball into the box was guided home by RONALD.

Cammy McMahon and Connor Gray came on for the last five minutes for Birse and Cameron as Lochee mounted a late surge.

Montgomery had a chance but was denied by a fine interception from Iain Gray and a Kirk free kick went wide as the match drew to a disappointing end.

So Lochee’s unbeaten record goes and it has to be said to a quicker and slicker side.

Man of the match has to go to Linlithgow winger Owen Ronald, not just for his two goals but for an excellent all round display.

FT: Lochee United 1 Linlithgow Rose 5

Lochee United: Stewart, Webster, Whitehead, Millar, McNally, McComiskie (Montgomery 74), Kirk, Cameron (Gray 85), Lawson, Birse (McMahon 85), Deasley. Subs not used: Lunan, Ritchie.

Linlithgow Rose: Barnard, Gray, Turnball, Thom, Leiper, Shields, Ronald (McClair 77), Maclennan, Malone, Sloan (Devine 70), Batchelor. Subs not used: Hill, Strickland, Coyne.

Report by Deeman.

Written on 19 August 2017