Saturday afternoon saw my last sunny trip to Linlithgow of the season for Rose’s final league game in 2013-14. This was the big local derby, though not a title decider as Bo’ness had already won the East Superleague midweek, with a thumping 5-1 victory against Lochee United being enough to win “BU” the league.
So, Rose were playing solely for pride, while the Bo’ness fans had come out in large numbers hoping to celebrate their title win with a resounding victory over their arch rivals. The local derby was, then, rather well set.
As the match started, Bo’ness (which, fact fans, is short for “Borrowstounness”) appeared to be playing the better football without really getting particularly far. This lack of forward thrust was taken advantage of by Rose after 18 minutes, when Roddy Maclennan ploughed his way through the away defence and slipped it through the United keeper’s legs to give the home side the lead. That lead was quickly doubled a couple of minutes later, with McKillen’s excellent nod across goal being put away by Tommy Coyne.
Lithgae’s third goal of the afternoon arrived after 39 minutes, and was undoubtedly their best. A home corner was headed out by Bo’ness centre-half Hunter. His header only founded the laces of Roddy Maclennan’s left boot, and the Rose midfielder’s left-footed volley saw the ball fly into the top-right corner of the Bo’ness net.
Half-time arrived with the game all but over, and at least the West Lothian Junior bragging rights sorted for another season. Bo’ness had had a reasonable share of possession but did very little with it, while Rose had been absolutely deadly in front of goal (MacLennan in particular).
As the second half progressed, the Bo’ness fans at the grassy end got increasingly rowdy, to the point where the annoyingly ubiquitous smoke bomb came out (a yellow one, to signify their utter idiocy I imagine), but the fairly large police presence was quick to move in and calm things down. On the pitch, United came out with a bit of a metaphorical breeze behind them, forcing a quick double save from Christie, swiftly followed by a goal-line clearance at the home end.
After that the match started to peter out a little, and a bit of good-natured back and forth started between the rival sets of supporters who stood in with one another as opposed to being segregated, which I rather enjoyed. A small sample went thus:
Linlithgow fan: “Come on Rose, get into this rubbish.”
Bo’ness fan: “Aye, the rubbish that’s won the league.”
Linlithgow fan: “Aye, well, you’re only as good as your last game.”
Bo’ness fan: “Aye, and in our last game we won the league.”
Zing. This was about as unruly as this supposedly feisty derby match got from where I was standing, though having said that if the various reports on Pie and Bovril are correct it wasn’t all sweetness and light.
Anyway, back to the game, and with 3 minutes left Bo’ness got back into the match. Former East Fife stalwart John Ovenstone tested out his own goalkeeper with a header, which he saved well; however the rebound fell to Campbell who stuck it home for 3-1.
The scoring didn’t finish there, however, with Iain Diack grabbing the last goal of the game, side-footing home the ever-effervescent and hard-working Andy Shirra’s cross.
Full-time came then with Rose resounding 4-1 winners. That rather hefty defeat didn’t take the shine off proceedings too much for the Bo’ness fans, however – their supporters clapped off the title winners while the Rose fans drifted away. The sides have still to play once more this season – on Friday evening in the Fife and Lothians Cup Final. I have rather enjoyed my sojurns to Linlithgow to watch some Junior football this season – I shall return in 2014/15, when hopefully Linlithgow can reclaim a Scottish Cup place.
Linlithgow Rose 4-1 Bo’ness United (Roddy Maclennan x2, Coyne, Diack; Campbell)