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Vale of Leven 2-1 Lanark United
Vale: Deeley (23), J. Meechan (44)
Lanark: Young (30)
Man of the match: Jim Meechan
Millburn Park, Saturday 2nd March, 2002. Kick off: 2.30pm
West of Scotland Cup Round 3

Vale progressed to the quarter finals of this competition after a hard fought victory over premier division Lanark United at Millburn on Saturday. After a run of three defeats it was important that Vale got the result to avenge their earlier Sectional League Cup quarter final defeat at Lanark.

With the monsoon weather having relented over the previous two days Millburn was at last playable and only the late appearance of the match referee due to a road traffic accident threatened the match which eventually kicked off 20 minutes late.

Lanark almost grabbed an opener after only 6 minutes when Maclaurin mispunched a long free kick and when the resultant corner came over former Motherwell star Brian Martin sent a glancing header past the far post. Three minutes later Vale skipper Alex Lacy surged down the right and from his perfectly flighted cross Ross Hunter passed up a great chance by sending his header wide of the target.

  A goal and MOM for Jim Meechan
A goal and MOM
for Jim Meechan

The visitors caught Vale pushing out after 10 minutes and when a long ball was played over the top of Meechan, Young found himself in on goal but wasted a great chance as he elected to shoot early and could only hit the side netting as Maclaurin narrowed the angle. At the other end David Meechan controlled a long ball on his chest and as he pulled back his right foot to shoot home only a last gasp interception from Martin took the ball off his toe and prevent a certain goal. After 19 minutes Deeley released Meechan on the left and from his cut back Ross Hunter was perfectly placed but he sent a left foot volley wide of target. A minute later Lanark's Arnott got a good break of the ball but he somehow contrived to put the ball wide of target with only Maclaurin to beat.

Vale edged in front after 23 minutes, Dalrymple, starting his first game since the first week in December, flighted a free kick from left to Hunter on the right. The midfielder controlled the ball, cut inside and his driven cross was deflected up and over the keeper and the inrushing Brian Deeley forced the ball over the line from close range for is eighth goal of the season.

Five minutes later Hunter played in Smith and the visitors keeper Smith got down to smother the ball.

Lanark drew level on the half hour mark, Vale were caught pushing out and when Bell headed on Young was onto the ball in a flash and tucked the ball behind Maclaurin from the edge of the area.

Vale almost lost a second after 41 minutes, David Meechan lost possession and the visitors broke quickly and from McBratney's pass Craig Young saw his effort saved by Maclaurin.

Vale deservedly regained the lead a minute from the break after David Meechan won a corner on the right, from Alan Browns flag kick Jim Meechan rose to send an unstoppable header high into the net.

The second half started with Vale on the offensive and following a good move up the left Deeley cut the ball back into the path of Ward who only had to pick his spot but he sclaffed the ball wide of the far post.

Deeley then sent Meechan clear but the youngster infuriated everyone by shooting tamely at Smith as he had Brown up beside him in support. After 68 minutes keeper Smith collected a Vale corner and quickly set up a Lanark attack that caught Vale all upfield. Only a foul by Lacy that earned him a caution prevented a chance of another equaliser. In a pulsating match Vale attacked again and this time Brian Smith broke clear through the middle but under challenge from Martin he saw his toepoke saved by the diving keeper.

Hunter tussles for possession
Hunter tussles for possession

Next up Brian Wardle saw his netbound header saved by the keeper who made an excellent recovery to claw the ball back from the line. Lanark thought they had levelled the tie again after 76 minutes when McBratney was allowed too much room before picking out Young, his shot rebounded off the underside of the crossbar before being scrambled away by Maclaurin.

As Lanark pushed everyone forward Vale could have increased their lead as Ritchie and David Meechan wasted good chances to kill the tie.

Once again yet another fine home showing that sees Vale enter next weeks quarter final draw. Best for Vale were Lacy, Wardle, Smith and man of the match Jim Meechan.

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