Newtongrange Star 2, Linlithgow Rose 1
(East Super League)
Star gave their supporters an early Christmas present as they secured their first victory over Linlithgow Rose in several years with a battling 2-1 victory today at New Victoria Park.
Linlithgow were fresh from their Scottish Cup trip away to Wick while the Star were active for the first time after a weather enforced four week break.
With this in mind it was no real surprise that it was the visitors who started the quicker and Strickland had the first chance of the game after five minutes when he got the break of the ball to find himself all alone 10 yards out. He was met by the imposing figure of keeper Kieron Renton who blocked his effort with his legs.
After a succession of corners which the Star defence coped with the ever dangerous Tommy Coyne got himself down the right from where his fizzed cross went right across Renton’s goal but there were no takers to knock the ball home.
But with almost their first attack of the game Star took the lead after 12 minutes in bizarre fashion. A searching ball from Steven Tulloch released Jordan Cropley through the middle. The ball appeared to bounce off him before he wrong footed Rose keeper Ally Adams who had slipped trying to reposition himself but the ball found the visitors net to put the Star 1-0 ahead.
This only seemed to irritate the visitors more who continued to pile forward. After 15 minutes a cross onto the Star’s penalty spot was headed goal wards by Coyne who was denied by the fingertips of keeper Renton who was at full stretch.
Tulloch then had to defend at the back post to prevent Strickland from connecting at the back post at the expense of a corner. When the corner was played in Kevin Kelbie rose unchallenged to nod the ball past Renton after 18 minutes to make it 1-1.
Star’s Lee Currie had an effort from 20 yards next but straight at keeper Adams before Tolmie did exceptionally well to clear the ball from around two yards after Coyne fired in another dangerous cross.
Kris Renton was a bit unlucky after 28 minutes when he beat Adams to the ball nodded it past him but just failed to keep it in play.
At the other end and Shirra blazed an effort over after 38 minutes before Renton just failed to hit the target after neat play between himself and Thomson after 41 minutes.
Linlithgow almost took the lead after 44 minutes when Coyne did brilliantly to take the ball down under pressure from both Tulloch and David Dunn. He spun away from both of them before firing in a effort that Renton got down well to beat away leaving it all square 1-1 at half time.
Linlithgow were again close to taking the lead after 46 minutes when Kelbie beat Renton from just inside the box but he was very unlucky to see the ball come off the inside of the post and roll along the line before being cleared by Jono McManus.
Star were dealt a blow two minutes later when influential captain Blair Tolmie had to be replaced through injury with Matti King entering the play.
Tulloch became the second player after David Dunn to be booked after 52 minutes before a refereeing error almost cost Star dear after 61 minutes.
Craig Thomson was penalised for a free kick that everyone thought should have gone the other way and when the resulting free kick was played into the Star’s box, McManus sold keeper Renton short with a back header allowing Coyne to nip in round Renton but from a tight angle he hit the outside of the post.
The home support were celebrating however again after 63 minutes when a ball was played up to Thomson who showed exquisite control to bring the ball down and play in Cropley. He intelligently laid the ball into Matti King’s path and he who swept past the helpless Adams and into the bottom corner of the Linlithgow net.
Strickland then saw an effort deflected inches past the post with Renton scrambling before the big keeper produced a stunning reflex stop to deny Coyne after 69 minutes.
Craig Thomson came close in 82 minutes when a crisply struck shot from 20 yards beat Adams but went inches wide.
The referee finally blew his whistle after 95 minutes to bring Christmas cheer to the Star faithful celebrating their 2-1 win over Linlithgow .
The Nitten Star Supporters Club MOTM went to Jordan Cropley.
Star would like to wish all their supporters, sponsors and their families a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Newtongrange Star: Kieron Renton, McManus, Tolmie, Dunn, Tulloch, Cherrie, Thomson, Currie, Cropley, Noble, Kris Renton. Subs: King, Noble, keeper McQueen, Wilson, Coult, Hamilton.