In front of a crowd which topped the 1000 mark, two first half goals for the home side proved decisive as they held off a determined second half comeback from the Rose.
Bo’ness were on the front foot quickly and everything was going up the left wing through the lively Ryan Stevenson who’s driving runs and dangerous crossing were causing real concern for the Linlithgow backline. The assertive start by the hosts was rewarded in the seventh minute when they grabbed a deserved opener, appropriately via the impressive Stevenson.
Linlithgow conceded a needless foul on the left touchline and Stevenson’s wicked delivery evaded attackers and defenders alike to find the net past the static Rose ‘keeper Lee Wilson.
It should have been 2-0 three minutes later when Bo’ness cut through the Linlithgow defence with good play from Graeme MacGregor and Brian Ritchie to release Stevenson, his superb cross found the head of Craig Comrie who miscued his header in front of goal. Linlithgow’s first real chance of the game arrived in the 27th minute when Gary Thom rose to meet an Owen Ronald corner, the big defender’s header agonisingly drifted barely wide of the goal with BU ‘keeper Andy Murphy rooted to his line.
Bo’ness doubled their lead on the half hour and again it was a poor goal to lose from a Linlithgow perspective. Tommy Coyne saw yellow for a needless lunge on Comrie in the Bo’ness half and from the resultant free-kick swung into the box by Ross Campbell, Brian Ritchie outleapt his marker and sent his header from 18 yards past Wilson who will be disappointed not to have done better.
The second half was a more even affair and the game sped from end to end. Brian Morgan was denied by the crossbar after his header from a Tom Grant Corner beat Wilson, while at the other end Murphy made a sharp double save to firstly block a Coyne effort then Ronald’s follow up strike.
Linlithgow gave their large travelling support hope of an unlikely draw when they pulled a goal back with ten minutes remaining. Ronald’s free-kick delivery was punched away by Murphy but the rebound was seized upon by Coyne who showed his experience to control the ball then find the net with a cool finish.
Two minutes afterwards Rose thought they had levelled when substitute Ross Allum showed great footwork to dribble into the box, unfortunately for the forward Murphy was equal to his near post effort and managed to push the ball away.
The visitors were now throwing everything forward as they chased an equaliser and two minutes into stoppage time there was an almighty scramble in the United penalty area as a Liam Allison corner-kick caused chaos, there were multiple shots at goal and only desperate blocks and good fortune kept the ball out of the net before eventually the danger was averted at the expense of a corner. The set-piece was wasted, and Bo’ness saw out the remaining seconds to claim a vital victory.