|Vale of Leven Football & Athletic Club
Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Despite the scoreline Vale dominated this match from start to finish and with better finishing could have won by a more convincing margin. Vale hit the framework of the goal on at least three occasions with the Ants' keeper denying Vale countless times.
After last week's defeat at Carluke, Vale recalled Renton for Gentile with Hunter and Deeley swapping roles. Scott McKernan started his first match of the season in place of David Meechan who had to be content with a place on the bench.
Vale started strongly and Goodwin's pass found Wilson in space on the right after 6 minutes but keeper O'Donnell turned his shot around the post for a corner. From Hugh Ward's flag kick Brian Deeley got himself forward into good position but his side footed volley from 6 yards came down off the underside of the bar.
Three minutes later Ward did well on the goal line and from his cutback Scott McKernan sent a shot into the arms of the keeper from close range. After 19 minutes Gow's pass was headed on by Ward and McKernan took too long to make up his mind and the chance was lost.
Twin strikers Ward and McKernan were liking well but McKernan was obviously rusty after a lengthy lay off. This was clear a minute later when Ward's threaded pass found McKernan in on the keeper but from around 12 yards he allowed the keeper to block the ball with his legs.
Vale finally made the breakthrough after 35 minutes following a corner. The ball fell to Brian Deeley on the angle of the area, he had a quick look to check the position of the keeper before sending a delightful left foot chip up and over the keeper and into the net.
Brian Deeley - Four
goals this season
The visitors started the second half strongly and after 63 minutes Maclaurin made a fantastic save to turn Docherty's close range shot onto the bar and from the rebound he was up quick to block a shot from Connell with his legs.
After 69 minutes the tiring McKernan was replaced by David Meechan. Two minutes later the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Raymond Finlayson was sent off after getting tangled up with Ross Hunter. The dismissal may have been for a stamp and followed on from the ex-Greenock Juniors player's earlier booking.
Vale should have secured all three points seconds later when Ward jinked past a couple of tackles but he drove his low shot against the far post. The keeper did well to save Dougie Wilson's follow up effort. Vale were well on top once again and after 74 minutes O'Donnell turned a Brown free kick around the post.
There were more scuffles as the second half wore on, including an angry exchange after the Ants' keeper spat on David Meechan. This was missed by the referee however.
Vale should then have had a penalty when an Ants defender took a kick at Renton after the ball had gone. The ref saw it but for some reason only gave him a yellow card. He then booked Meechan and gave a free kick to the Ants! St. Ants immediately substituted the centre half who had just been booked, which tells its own story.
Vale were reduced to 10 men when Meechan slid into a 50-50 challenge with the keeper. The referee decided that too warranted a caution so Vale were down to 10 men for the fifth time in twelve games.
With 7 minutes remaining Boal replaced the injured Renton and he had a great chance within minutes when Ward set him up but the keeper was out quickly to block. Vale's final chance saw the keeper push Ward's shot onto the post and from the rebound Brown saw his shot deflected into the side netting.
At the end of the day Vale were happy to record a second successive home league win, particularly with such a depleted pool. With several players now about to become available Vale's need for new faces has lessened although boss Hamill is still looking for another striker to put pressure on those who think their places are secure.
Team: Maclaurin, Goodwin, Deeley, Gow, Lacy, Hunter, Brown, Wilson, Renton (Boal), Ward, McKernan (D. Meechan). Sub not used: J. Meechan