Vale crest Vale of Leven Football & Athletic Club
Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Vale of Leven 2-0(aet) Kelty Hearts
Vale: Smith (107), McKernan (118)
Man of the match: Brian Smith
Millburn Park, Saturday 26th January, 2002. Kick off: 1.15pm
Scottish Cup Round 4 replay

A large crowd of over 300 witnessed another cracking cup tie between these two evenly matched sides with Vale eventually running out 2-0 winners after extra time on a strength sapping Millburn surface.

With the visitors complaining of tired legs at the end due to the heavy conditions and the fact that they faced extra time with only 10 men, one would say that they got their just reward for electing to play a seven a side warm up in the worst area of the pitch after Millburn had only just passed a morning pitch inspection.

Kelty made a couple of changes to last weeks underachievers with Chalmers and goalscorer Logan starting the match. Vale were unchanged under the watchful eye of some Linlithgow Rose scouts.

  Scott McKernan
Scott McKernan - scorer
of the second Vale goal


The visitors kicked off and took the game to Vale right from the start. With only 4 minutes on the clock they surged forward and a low 35 yard drive from McMillan skidded off the sodden turf as the diving Maclaurin looked lively to turn the ball around the post for a corner.

After 10 minutes David Meechan had a shot blocked for a corner and then Jim Meechan came close as he headed the corner inches wide. Vale stepped up the pressure and Ritchie saw his shot well saved by Timney before Brian Wardle saw his back post header rebound from the crossbar with the keeper beaten.

After 25 minutes Alex Lacy did well to intercept a dangerous situation in the 6 yard area and then Drysdale shot wildly over from a good position. At the other end Smith had a shot blocked and then Wardle came close with another header from a Brown corner as play swung from end to end.

Five minutes from the interval Brian Wardle almost paid dearly for trying to be too fancy backheeling the ball and from McMillan's cross Maclaurin spared his blushes as he confidently dealt with Logans header. On the stroke of the half time whistle Meechan's left foot drive was inches too high.

At the start of the second half Vale had justified claims for a penalty turned down as Boal broke into the area on the left and was quite clearly pulled back by McMillan as he was about to shoot. From the corner that followed Wardle saw his powerful header parried by Timney and from the rebound Hunter blasted the ball over the bar.

On the hour mark David Meechan made ground on the left and his stinging drive was pushed away by Timney yet again. At the other end a dangerous cross into the box put Vale under pressure until Alex Lacy cleared the danger with another timely interception.

With 15 minutes remaining Hugh Ward replaced the exhausted Boal and 4 minutes later McKernan replaced the hard working Ritchie as Vale tried to break the stalemate. Ward had a good chance with 8 minutes remaining when he broke on the left before cutting inside, the ball then broke of a defender into his path again but he blasted a left foot shot wide from 6 yards.

After 85 minutes the Jambos were reduced to 10 men when striker Reynolds picked up a silly second caution and was dispatched to the comforts of the dressing room. In the final minute David Meechan had a great opportunity to win the tie in the regulation time but Timney made a good save to take the match into extra time.

With their man advantage there was no surprise that Vale would have most of the play in extra time but the Vale faithful were beginning to think that it would be one of those glorious failures as time and time again Vale were denied by some fabulous goalkeeping and last gasp clearances.

After 97 minutes Meechan played in the advancing Deeley and his netbound shot saw a spectacular goal line clearance by Courts and then a driven cross by Lacy was helped on by Meechan only for Timney to produce a great diving save. In the final minute of the first period Deeley again got around the back of the defence and this time his close range shot was brilliantly stopped by that man Timney. Into the 2nd period of extra time and straight from the kick off Deeley played a pass to young Meechan and his first time shot was stopped by Timney.

At long last Vale's pressure paid off after 109 minutes when comeback man Brian Smith grabbed his second goal of the round. Brian Wardle helped on a long throw from Deeley and Smith swivelled on the spot to shoot home from 8 yards.

Kelty were dead on their feet as Vale continued to push forward and with 2 minutes remaining Vale secured home advantage to Linlithgow with a stunning goal from Scott McKernan, his first in 364 days.

Meechan won a free kick wide left and when Ward played the ball short to the Vale substitute with his back to goal, McKernan showed that he still has the ability by sending his marker to his right as he went left before sending a delightful curling shot into the net from 10 yards, probably his best ever goal for Vale as he was smothered at the bottom of a mud bath.

In the last minute Meechan had another shot well stopped by Timney as Vale's support were now in full voice.

On a day when every single Vale player can hold their head high Brian Smith was a narrow winner of the man of the match award.


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

 
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