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Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Benburb 1-0 Vale of Leven
Benburb: Sharkie (52)
Man of the match: David Meechan
Tinto Park, Saturday 27th April, 2002. Kick off: 3.00pm
Central League Cup - Third Round

Despite a spirited performance Vale crashed out of the League Cup in bizarre circumstances at Tinto Park on Saturday. Having more than held their own against a side contesting the Premier division title Vale lost what was to be the only goal of the game minutes into the second half.

Wardle and Maclaurin collided outside the area allowing Sharkie to roll the ball into the empty net. As if that wasn't bad enough the two players argued amongst themselves with Wardle sent off by the referee for pushing his keeper to the ground.

After their great win over Rob Roy Vale boss Hugh Hamill recalled Wardle to the defence with Gow stepping down to the bench. On a bumpy pitch the home side were first to threaten when McInally beat Goodwin and from his right wing cross Brown met the ball at the near post but his shot rebounded from the crossbar.

  Ross Hunter
Ross Hunter returned
after injury


At the other end Brown played in Boal but his curled shot was inches too wide. Vale were beginning to take control of the game and Wilson, Smith and Wardle all saw good efforts blocked. Right on the stroke of half time David Meechan's right foot shot was well saved by Banks.

Vale suffered a blow when Boal was forced to retire at the interval due to injury with Ross Hunter himself returning after injury.

However, the tie was to be decided with Maclaurin and Wardle's calamitous episode just 7 minutes into the second half that allowed SHARKIE a simple tap in.

Down to 10 men Vale were now up against it but gradually they regained their composure and started to threaten again. On the hour mark David Meechan won a 50/50 challenge to break free and Banks fumbled his powerful drive over the bar. "Bens" themselves were reduced to 10 men when Fontana was sent packing for his second caution after another foul on Brown after 67 minutes.

Two minutes later Hunter and David Meechan combined to present Smith with a chance but his close range effort was pushed over the bar by Banks. Full credit to Vale for continuing to press for a goal that would earn a penalty shoot out but despite their efforts the "Bens" defence held firm for a place in the quarter finals.

Vale were made to pay for a single error but everyone deserves full marks for effort, they certainly deserved better than they received. Man of the match: David Meechan.


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