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Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Dunipace 2-1 Vale of Leven
Dunipace: Deegan (pen. 40), McKinlay (61)
Vale: Tom Fox (47)
Man of the match: Matthew Maclaurin
Westfield Park, Saturday 3rd November 2001. Kick off: 2.00pm
Abercorn Builders Central League Division 1


Vale slumped to yet another away defeat, this time at Westfield Park, against a home side who now move above Vale in the table.

At this early stage of the season Vale seem to lack the drive and ambition that is necessary to achieve a top three finish in this important year of league reconstruction. In fact if they don't get their act together quick style then it is more likely that a bottom three place could be their claim to fame this season.

With the exception of injured skipper Alex Lacy Vale were unchanged from the side that won handsomely last week against Port Glasgow, deputising Tom Fox started his first match since August.

  Man of the match Matthew Maclaurin
Man of the match
Matthew Maclaurin

With only five minutes on the clock Bryan Boal did well to earn a corner and from Ward's flag kick Boal saw his header cannon off the upright. Minuted later Ward played a neat pass to Deeley through the middle but unfortunately he couldn't get the ball onto his left foot properly and he sent his shot narrowly wide of target. Next up Dougie Wilson raced onto Wardle's pass and his low driven cross was well stopped by Walton in the Pace goal.

Little had been seen of the home side but after 25 minutes a quick break down the left was halted by Wardle's timely tackle as Inglis seemed certain to score, the ball fell to Buchanan 6 yards out but he somehow managed to lob the ball over the bar.

After 27 minutes Walton produced a stunning save to turn Ward's shot round the post when it seemed destined for the postage stamp corner. A minute later Ward was again on target but this time his shot was straight at the home no.1.

Vale should have gone ahead after 33 minutes when Deeley pounced on a defensive error and with only the keeper to beat he was caught in two minds. As he tried to take the ball around the keeper he allowed him the chance to smother the ball.

At the other end a quick break down the right saw Farquar whip over a cross and from Deegan's flashing header Matthew Maclaurin acrobatically leapt across his goal to turn the ball over the bar.

Dunipace took the lead after 40 minutes as Vale lost possession on the attack. Wilson tried to be too fancy with a back heeler down near the home area, Pace broke at speed and from Buchanan's cross Wardle and Deegan collided going for the ball. The referee ruled that the Vale captain had pushed the home striker and from the resultant spot kick Deegan himself drove the opener past Maclaurin.

At the interval Vale boss Hugh Hamill made one change when he introduced David Meechan in place of Ritchie on the left.

Quick Response

Two minutes into the second period they drew level when Wilson got the break of the ball down near the corner flag. As the ball fell to Thomas Fox he sent over a shot with his left foot from outside the box which beat the keeper at the far post and bounced down over the line.

After 61 minutes Dunipace got what was to be the winning goal when the keeper launched a long ball upfield. Although Dalrymple appeared to head the ball clear it was played in behind the flatfooted Vale defence and midfielder McKinlay had all the time in the world to slot the ball past the advancing Maclaurin.

Vale were clearly rattled by the loss of this goal and a couple of minutes later Maclaurin made the save of the match when he got his fingers to Kenna's angled shot and the ball came off the crossbar to safety.

Jim Meechan came off the bench after lengthy injury to replace Wilson as Wardle was pushed up front in search of an equaliser. After 75 minutes Ward's corner was headed over by David Meechan as Gow seemed better placed to score and then the substitute hurriedly shot wide in his eagerness to impress. Dunipace could have scored a third 77 minutes when ex-Dumbarton coach Steve Morrison lobbed over from close range.

With 10 minutes remaining David Meechan got in a well struck shot that was well saved by the diving Walton. Unfortunately that was the closest Vale came to scoring as they slipped to a fourth consecutive away league defeat.

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

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