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Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Vale of Leven 2-2 Musselburgh Athletic
Vale: Deeley (64), D. Meechan (76)
Musselburgh: Sutherland (42), Johnstone (pen 50)
Man of the match: David Meechan
Millburn Park, Saturday 10th November 2001. Kick off: 2.00pm
Scottish Cup Round 2

 

Vale live to fight another day after this remarkable comeback earned a replay next week at Musselburgh's Olive Bank. The home side trailed by two goals 5 minutes into the second half and the outlook looked extremely bleak for Hugh Hamill's men. However full credit to Vale for their spirited fightback and had David Meechan's late header been an inch lower then it could have been an automatic place in next weekend's third round draw.

Having praised their fine recovery one must ask as to why it took so long for Vale to get their act together? Despite having much of the ball in the first period Vale's final pass was abysmal, too many passes went astray and in fact from one of these the East Region side took the lead just before the break.

Surely now having survived the initial scare Vale can raise their game next week to defeat 'Burgh'.

  Jim Meechan
Jim Meechan - involved in controversial penalty decision

After last weeks poor result at Dunipace Vale started this cup tie with three changes. Out went broken toe victim Tom Fox and wide players Ritchie and Wilson. Fit again Jim Meechan returned along with David Meechan and Ross Hunter.

The home side had most of the opening play but all to often the final ball into the box lacked precision. From the one successful Deeley cross from the left Ross Hunter's volley narrowly flew over the bar. Next up David Meechan made ground on the left and his hurried shot was too high after 16 minutes.

The visitors then came into the game more without troubling Maclaurin in the Vale goal. Vale's best move of the half saw Meechan lay the ball off to Brown and his rising shot was held under the bar by Cunningham at the second attempt. After 35 minutes Hunter was high and wide with a volley but at least he was getting himself into scoring positions even if his accuracy could be improved upon. In the 40th minutes Dalrymple crossed from the left and Deeley out jumped the keeper but Fusco cleared off the line.

Musselburgh must have been boosted by this escape as 2 minutes later they broke to the other end to open the scoring. David Meechan tried to be too clever with a fancy back heel instead of playing the simple pass, this gifted possession to 'Burgh' who promptly broke up the left and although Maclaurin did well to save the initial effort from Porteous, the striker squared the ball to Sutherland who blasted the ball past the retreating Vale defence into the net.

If the home support were stunned into silence by the loss of that goal worse was to follow. With the second half just 5 minutes old 'Burgh' increased their lead with a controversial penalty. Sutherland went to ground rather easily as Jim Meechan attempted to clear the ball and the referee awarded a spot kick which left back Johnstone drove low and hard into the net.

Comeback

Two down, Vale seemed dead and buried as the home support became despondent with their efforts. The home side introduced Dougie Wilson wide on the right in place of Dalrymple with the ineffective Ward pushing further forward.

The change gave Vale a lift and they gained hope by pulling a goal back after 61 minutes. Wilson was fouled on the right and at last Alan Brown got in a perfect delivery which was headed home into the corner of the net by Brian Deeley for his 7th goal of the season.

Five minutes later Ward came off to be replaced by Scott McKernan whose introduction certainly livened up Vale's attack. Within minutes of coming off the bench he latched onto David Meechan's clever pass, waltzed around keeper Cunninham, but failed to steady himself properly and sent his shot wide of target.

The same pair were involved as Vale drew level after 76 minutes with the goal of the game and perhaps the season. Meechan collected the ball in the middle and played a pass wide to McKernan on the right. His perfect return pass caught out the 'Burgh' defence which allowed David Meechan to take the ball first time on the volley and watch as his left foot shot flew into the net past the diving Cunningham.

Vale's fans were now in full song and they almost had further cause to celebrate 6 minutes later when Deeley crossed and Meechan headed against the underside of the crossbar with the keeper beaten. A further minute later Meechan headed into the arms of the keeper and then as the game drew to an exciting close McKernan's pass found Meechan who skipped past one defender but saw his shot blocked for a corner. Vale were now well on top and looked the side we know they are capable of, pity it took them so long to show it.

Best for Vale were Jim Meechan, Scott McKernan and man of the match David Meechan.


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

 
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