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Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Blantyre Vics 2-1 Vale of Leven
Blantyre scorers: Brown (20), McHarg (81).
Vale scorer: Ward (7).
Man of the match: Matthew Maclaurin
Castle Park, Saturday 8th September 2001
Abercorn Builders Central League Division 1

Vale dropped all three points at Castle Park, Blantyre on Saturday when really they deserved better. Facing the final 30 minutes with only 10 men after Brian Deeley had been ordered off for a 2nd caution, Vale were put under incredible pressure and finally succumbed when McHarg netted the winner with just nine minutes remaining.

Boss Hugh Hamill was forced to change his side once again when Gentile and Hunter were ruled out through injury with the transfer listed Ward and Renton deputising.

Vale got off to a great start when they took the lead after just 7 minutes. Alan Brown's free kick was deflected and when the ball broke Hugh Ward volleyed the ball low into the net from the edge of the area.

It could and should have been two after 15 minutes when Brown's perfectly flighted free kick found David Meechan in space 10 yards from goal. However, his glancing header dropped inches wide of the keepers right hand post.

The home side had their first shot at goal after 16 minutes when veteran striker Brown shot high and wide. Four minutes they drew level when, after a neat series of inter-passing, the ball found Brown on the edge of the area and with all the time in the world to turn and get in a shot he drilled the ball low into the corner of the net.

After Jim Meechan headed wide for Vale, McHarg then fired in a rising free kick that hit the junction of the post and crossbar with Maclaurin beaten. After a fairly even and exciting first half the sides were fairly happy to start the 2nd period all square.

Within 2 minutes of the restart Vale should have been ahead. Boal found Deeley in the box and his delicate chip looked like catching out Vics keeper Mennie but at the last minute he got his fingertips to the ball and a goal was averted.

Two minutes later and Vale passed up another great chance when Renton found space on the left and was caught in two minds whether to cross or shoot. The ball flew across to Boal coming in from the right and he fired the ball over the bar.

Vics should have scored after 52 minutes when a long ball caught Vale out and although Maclaurin rushed out to head clear he only succeeded in playing the ball into the path of McHarg who lobbed the ball over the bar.

On the hour mark Vale were reduced to 10 men. Deeley chased a long ball and as the keeper rushed from his area he went into a 50-50 challenge, the keeper dropped as if he had been shot and after several seconds the referee called play back to administer a second caution to the Vale midfielder.

Vale were put under constant pressure for the remainder of the match and only some fantastic saves from Maclaurin kept Vale in with a chance of holding onto a point. However, he had to admit defeat 9 minutes from time when, following a throw in, Vale failed to get the ball cleared properly and when the ball came over McHarg was unmarked and he hooked the ball into the net from 6 yards.

Team: Maclaurin, Lacy, Dalrymple, J. Meechan, Wardle, Brown, Deeley, Boal (Wilson), Renton (Goodwin), Ward, D. Meechan. Sub not used: Gow.

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