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Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Vale of Leven 1-1 Shettleston
Vale: Ritchie (16)
Shettleston: Thomson (36)
Man of the match: Jim Meechan
Millburn Park, Saturday 24th November 2001. Kick off: 2.00pm
Abercorn Builders Central League Division 1

A large crowd witnessed a cracking match at rain lashed Millburn on Saturday between two equally matched sides. On the day the Glasgow side, currently league leaders, played the more attractive football but Vale more than made up for that by sheer effort and were worth their point at the end.

After last week's cup victory at Musselburgh, Vale boss Hugh Hamill was forced to make two changes. John Ritchie came in for the holidaying Boal and Chris Dalrymple replaced the ill Brian Deeley.

Shettleston started the match in lively fashion spraying passes around the sodden Millburn turf but gradually Vale started to make an impression. After 10 minutes Dougie Wilson wasted a good opportunity when he elected to go on his own and shot tamely into the arms of Hutchieson.

  John Ritchie
John Ritchie scored
his first goal for Vale


A minute later David Meechan found himself in a similar situation and with Wilson better placed he went for glory himself only to be stopped by Williamson's last gasp blocking tackle.


Jim Meechan heads back across
the Shettleston goalmouth

Photo courtesy of Dumbarton Reporter.
   

Vale continued to press forward and forged ahead after only 16 minutes. Wilson collected the ball in the middle of the park, chipped a ball out wide left to David Meechan who in turn sent over a precision cross that was met by John Ritchie eight yards from goal. His side footed volley nestled nicely in the back of the net before Hutchieson could move.

Vale could have added a second 3 minutes later when Wardle, Lacy and Wilson combined on the right and when the ball was returned to Lacy his netbound shot was deflected over the bar by a defender in the 6 yard area.

At the other end 'Town' missed a great chance to level when J.Dickson headed over from close range. Vale showed that they could match 'Town' in football terms when neat passing down the left involving Gow, Hunter and Brown saw Gow throw over a cross to the back post which was headed down by Wilson only for D.Meechan's netbound effort to be blocked for a corner.

Shettleston drew level from a Jack corner after 36 minutes when Andy Thomson headed home at the back post with a powerful header.

Five minutes into the second half Maclaurin missed a corner and Gow was forced to head Thomson's netbound header clear off the line. The heavy rain was making conditions extremely difficult for both sides but full credit to them for continuing to try to play football. Following a good move Wilson broke into the area but he shot wildly past the post.

After 75 minutes the visitors were awarded a free kick right on the edge of the Vale area but Maclaurin dived to punch away Martin's placed shot. J.Dickson and then Thomson passed up good chances to score as 'Town' broke down the right. At this stage it was now one way traffic as 'Town' went in search of the winner but Vale's back three of Wardle, Gow and Jim Meechan held firm. In the third and final minute of stoppage time Maclaurin produced a brilliant blocking save with his legs after substitute Simpson seemed certain to score.

At the end of the day both teams deserve great credit for an exciting match and 'Town' certainly lived up to their promotion favourites tag.

Best for Vale - everyone with Jim Meechan just shading the man of the match award from Dougie Wilson.


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

 
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