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Shotts Bon Accord 1-3 Vale of Leven
Shotts: Scott (32)
Vale: Ward (15), D. Meechan (20, 29)
Man of the match: Matthew Maclaurin
Hannah Park, Saturday 9th March, 2002. Kick off: 3.00pm
Abercorn Builders Central League Division 1

Vale's first victory at Hannah Park since 1976 gave Hugh Hamill's men their first away league points of the season on Saturday. The result was only Vale's 2nd away win of the season and came at the ideal time to boost Vale's battle against relegation.

The Millburn men were unchanged after defeating Lanark last week and with Hannah Park in excellent condition Vale were confident of ending the hosts unbeaten home record.

With the strong wind at their backs Vale started well and after only 12 minutes Ward and Lacy carved open the home defence and when the Vale skipper fired in a cross the ball was blocked by a Shotts defenders arm but no penalty was given.

Three minutes later Vale stunned the home side by taking the lead. Hugh Ward played a one two with David Meechan and having taken the return pass he raced in on goal to slam the ball low past Swinburne into the far corner of the net.

  The opening goal came from Hugh Ward
The opening goal
came from Hugh Ward

Five minutes later Vale doubled their lead when Ross Hunter won the ball inside his own half and Brian Smith then threaded a pass between the static home defence which David Meechan latched onto before advancing on Swinburne to beat him at his near post.

Meechan then added a third after 29 minutes when he dived to head home Alan Brown's corner from the right for his fifteenth goal of the season as Vale overran the vastly experienced home side.

Shotts grabbed a lifeline four minutes later when Vale conceded a soft goal as Scott broke on the left to slot the ball past Maclaurin.

A minute later they could have pulled another back but a great block by Jim Meechan averted the danger.

Hugh Ward could have added a fourth on the stroke of half time when he robbed Church outside the area but with only Swinburn to beat he blasted the ball and the keeper dived to push the shot around the post.

Shotts came out after the break and started to take the game to Vale and after 50 minutes Maclaurin did well to stop Sinclair's shot and as Vale struggled to clear the danger Scott hit the bar from close range.

Maclaurin then produced a point blank save to deny Scott after Sinclair headed the ball down. At this stage it was virtually one way traffic as the home side put Vale under pressure and as conditions worsened Vale were finding great difficulty in clearing the ball upfield.

After 73 minutes the referee awarded Shotts a penalty when he adjudged Wardle to have climbed over Scott to get to a long throw. Kevin Wilson stepped up to take the kick but Maclaurin guessed correctly by diving to his left to push away the kick with Lacy completing the clearance.

The Vale keeper was his side's saviour 10 minutes later when he produced another point blank save and then stopped a powerful Sinclair drive. The match closed with Vale riding their luck but it was no more than they deserved on the day.

Once again everyone deserved praise with David Meechan, Alex Lacy and man of the match Matty Maclaurin that bit special.

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