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Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Vale of Leven 3-0 Kilwinning Rangers
Vale: Ward (39 pen, 70), Wilson (89)
Man of the match: Brian Wardle
Millburn Park, Saturday 6th April, 2002. Kick off: 3.00pm
West of Scotland Cup Quarter Final

Another impressive home performance saw Vale dispose of Scottish Cup semi finalists Kilwinning Rangers at sun drenched Millburn on Saturday. Hugh Hamill's men were worthy winners and created their own bit of history by reaching the semi final of the West for the first time ever.

The highly fancied visitors claimed to be understrength but so too were Vale and in the end the three goal margin flattered a Buffs side well below their best. If they were not at their best then some credit must be given to Vale who never allowed them to settle as they constantly won every tackle in the middle of the park. Even when Buffs did manage to get forward Vale's back four dealt comfortably with anything thrown at them.

Vale made one change to the side that defeated Port Glasgow a fortnight ago with David Meechan starting wide right in place of Goodwin as Vale tried to exploit a weakness in the visitors left back position. Buffs were without the cup-tied McLaren and the injured Farell although his place went to top scorer Haswell.

  Double from Hugh Ward
Double from
Hugh Ward

Vale were first to threaten when Scott McKernan's shot on the turn from 20 yards was comfortably saved by former Dumbarton keeper Barnes after 5 minutes. Buffs then began to threaten and could have edged in front after 10 minutes when Minchella took the ball around Maclaurin but his cross was ushered to safety by Wardle. A minute later the same player created space to get in a shot but he mishit the ball and Maclaurin saved easily.

The home side started to play a bit and after Ward won a corner Wardle headed down for McKernan's close range overhead kick cleared for another corner. This time Brown drove the ball low and when David Meechan's 18 yard shot was blocked on the goal line Brian Smith following up sent the rebound past the post. Vale continued to press forward and from Brown's cross David Meechan headed inches wide.

Vale took the lead after 39 minutes. Paul Mullin, who netted the winner on his last visit to Millburn, gave away a penalty when he appeared to hold onto Scott McKernan just inside the area. After the defender was cautioned up stepped Hugh Ward to slot the ball home from the spot to give Vale an interval lead.

Kilwinning looked to be in control at the start of the second half as they set about restoring equality but they found Vale's defence in fine form. On the one occasion they managed to get the ball past Maclaurin, Brian Wardle was on hand to hook the ball clear from under the crossbar.

After 65 minutes Vale took off the hard working McKernan and replaced him with comeback man Bryan Boal with David Meechan moving further forward. Within 5 minutes of the change Vale added to their lead as Buffs ran out of ideas. Brown's long ball forward saw Meechan battle for the ball with the experienced Mason wide left, the Vale youngster won possession before rounding keeper Barnes and his low driven cross was turned into the net by Hugh Ward for his fourteenth goal of the season.

With 11 minutes remaining Dougie Wilson replaced scorer Ward and his pace would cause Buffs defence further problems. With the Buffs having long given up Wilson pounced in the final minute to race clear and coolly slot the ball past the advancing Barnes.

After a fine team performance Vale had no failures with everyone deserving credit, however the magnificent Brian Wardle just shaded the man of the match award.

With Vale and Troon already through to the semi finals, the draw will take place next Monday (15th) after this weekends other two quarter finals involving Bellshill, Benburb, Neilston and Johnstone Burgh. The semi finals, which are scheduled for Monday 29th April and Friday 3rd May, are to be played at a neutral venue.

This Saturday Vale play the first of their final dozen league fixtures when Lesmahagow visit Millburn Park, kick off 3pm. Next Wednesday 17th Dunipace visit Millburn, kick off 6.30pm.

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