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Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Rutherglen Glencairn 3-2 Vale of Leven
Rutherglen: McLernon (5), Dodds (54 & 70)
Vale scorers: Deeley (31), Brown (74)
Man of the match: Stevie Gow
Southcroft, Saturday 20th October 2001
Abercorn Builders Central League Division 1

Vale's 3rd consecutive away league defeat leaves them well short of the top three place that they have made their aim this season. Although the Glens were down to 10 men after 12 minutes and further disadvantaged when they went down to 9 men after 55 minutes, Vale lacked the skill required to break down a resolute home defence that mopped up everything Vale could throw at them.

Hugh Hamill's side never looked like promotion contenders and serious questions must be asked even at this early stage of the season. The goals conceded again looked preventable but even with 9 men Glens looked like inflicting further damage on the break as Vale, with all the possession, were unable to make a final penetrating pass.

Vale made three changes to the side that won against St.Anthonys last week. Brian Wardle returned after his three match ban, Chris Dalrymple returned after his honeymoon and John Ritchie, farmed out from Dumbarton made his debut up front. Out went McKernan, Renton and the injured Wilson. David Meechan was also missing due to illness.

Southcroft is hardly one of Vale's favourite venues and with only 5 minutes on the clock they were bang in trouble as the home side took the lead as Vale slipped and slithered on the recently cut grass. Keilty was allowed all the time in the world and although Maclaurin did well to block his shot McLernan followed up to bundle the ball over the line into the net.

Seven minutes later burly home striker Keilty was dismissed for striking Vale captain Alex Lacy. With 18 minutes gone Ward started a good move on the left and his chip over the defence was met by the outstretched boot of Ritchie but unfortunately the ball dropped just over the bar.

Vale made a tactical switch after only 22 minutes as Boal, making his 100th appearance for the club, came on in attack in place of defender Dalrymple as Vale went to a 3-4-3 formation. The move looked to have backfired when Glens almost added to their score when Quinn broke clear only to be denied by Maclaurin.

After Wardle headed narrowly past Vale's pressure resulted in an equaliser after 31 minutes. Lacy played a ball over the top finding Goodwin on the right and from his great delivery Boal controlled the ball before laying it off to Brian Deeley who netted his fifth goal of the season.

In the closing minutes of the half Ward played Ritchie in but his low cut back was well stopped by home keeper McGovern.

Bryan Boal - 100
games for the Vale.

Vale started the second half on the attack and within 5 minutes Goodwin's left foot shot flew narrowly over. 4 minutes later Glens stunned Vale by taking the lead. Goodwin needlessly conceded a corner and from the resultant cross substitute Dodds found himself unmarked and he hooked a shot through a ruck of players and into the net.

Within a minute Glens were down to 9 men when midfielder Murray picked up his 2nd caution of the day. Their response was a Dodds volley that was expertly tipped over the bar by Maclaurin before another Brian Wardle header crept agonisingly past the post.

After 70 minutes the home side belied their two man disadvantage when they increased their lead. Vale's attack broke down and they were caught out with Dodds quick break up the left and he sent a stunning left foot angled shot past Maclaurin and into the net.

Alan Brown quickly pulled Vale within touching distance when his well struck shot from 20 yards found the net after 74 minutes, amazingly with their numerical advantage this was only Vale's 3rd shot on target all afternoon.

Alan Brown
Alan Brown - second
goal this season.

With McKernan on for Deeley and Wardle now pushed up front Vale were having great difficulty in getting good quality ball into the box to find them. With 8 minutes remaining Wardle eventually got a header down to the inrushing Hunter but from point blank range his toe poke hit the keeper and the chance was lost. Overall a very disappointing performance and result that will seriously damage Vale's promotion hopes.

Team: Maclaurin; Lacy, Wardle, Gow, Dalrymple (Boal); Goodwin, Brown, Hunter, Deeley (McKernan); Ward, Ritchie. Unused subs: Renton, Fox, J.Meechan.

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