Lochee United slumped to a third successive home defeat, this time in the East of Scotland Cup to Linlithgow Rose.

Unlike the previous two games however, the Bluebells showed terrific fighting spirit, particularly as they were down to 10 men for the entire second half and nine for the last five minutes.

Manager George Shields, mindful of the heavy fixture list his team faces, made five changes to the line-up, Mark Fotheringham, Paul Lunan, Reece Ritchie, Dougie Cameron and Grant Lawson coming in for Mark Stewart, Scott Webster, Greg Kirk, Logan Davie and Jamie Reid.

The home side started well, winning a corner in the first minute, but Danny Millar’s header from Cameron’s kick was held by Andy Carlin in the visitors’ goal.

However, it was Rose who struck first on 12 minutes. Blair Batchelor went down in the box and the referee awarded one of those penalties the Old Firm usually get against the ‘diddy’ clubs, soft in the extreme.

Tommy COYNE stepped up and gave Fonzy no chance from the spot.

Lochee hit back straight away but Bryan Deasley’s header from a Scot McComiskie cross was just too easy for keeper Carlin.

The keeper was forced into another good save from Connor Birse as Lochee looked to get back on level terms.

On 23 minutes Rose had a double chance to increase their lead. Fonzy did well to parry a Robert Slaon free kick and he then denied the inrushing Coyne with another fine block. From the corner kick the home side had a lucky escape when Gary Thom’s sidefooted effort crashed back off the Lochee bar.

Stephen McNally was booked for pulling at an opponent’s shirt and this was to have dire consequences on 37 minutes when he brought down Batchelor in the box, earning himself a second yellow then a red.

Once again, COYNE stepped up and gave Fotheringham no chance. It could have been all over a minute later when Millar lost possession and Coyne burst through, only to be thwarted by Fonzy.

Ritchie had a chance to pull one back for the Bluebells on the stroke of half time but his shot was tipped over the bar by Carlin.

At the start of the second half the home keeper excelled himself again when he saved from Sloan and Colin Strickland and, on 54 minutes the 10 men pulled a goal back, LAWSON cutting in from the left and firing a shot into the corner.

But, five minutes later, the Lochee fightback was put on hold as COYNE burst into the left hand side of the box and fired home his hat-trick.

The Thomson Park side weren’t giving up, however, and Deasley almost got on the end of a great McComiskie ball across the face of the Linlithgow goal.

Deasley vainly claimed a penalty when the ball struck the arm of defender Jamie McKenzie, but, on 68 minutes, McKenzie handled again and CAMERON stepped up to make it 3-2 from the penalty spot.

Unfortunately, two minutes later, Lochee’s fightback was once again quelled, this time by substitute Ruari MacLENNAN, who raced on to a through ball from Owen Ronald, to make it 4-2.

With 15 minutes left Logan Davie came on for Deasley, but Rose looked home and hosed now. Strickland and Coyne each brought out great saves from Fotheringham as they looked to stretch the winning margin.

There was a further blow for Lochee when Lunan picked up two yellow cards in quick succession and the Bluebells were forced to see out the remainder of the game with nine men.

FT: Lochee United 2 Linlithgow Rose 4

Lochee United: Fotheringham, Millar, Smith, Lunan, McNally, McComiskie, Cameron, Ritchie, Lawson, Birse, Deasley (Davie 76). Subs not used: Stewart, McIlravey, Reid, McMahon.

Linlithgow Rose: Carlin, McKenzie, Sloan, Thom, Leiper, Shileds, Ronald, Batchelor, Strickland, Coyne, Smith (Ruari MacLennan 60). Subs not used: Hill, Gray, Devine, Urquhart.

Written on 28 April 2018