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East Kilbride Thistle 0-0 Vale of Leven
Man of the Match: David Rogers
Saturday 7th September, 2002. Kick off: 3.00pm
The Show Park.
Abercorn Builders Central District Division 1

Report courtesy of Craig Anderson

Maybe Scotland boss Berti Vogts should have forgotten about travelling to the Faroe Islands on Saturday and instead, brought his beleaguered Scotland side to the Showpark for a proper lesson on how to defend, following rigid and stubborn performances by both teams in this 0-0 draw.

While Berti's babes were finding it tough in Torshavn, both Thistle and Vale were keen to move on from their opening league wins against St Roch's and Lesmahagow respectively and Vale boss Hugh Hamill especially was keen to improve on the 3-0 and 4-1 defeats suffered at the hands of the Jags last season.

While chances were often in this goalless encounter, nothing could be put away and as Davie Kirkpatrick, the Jags Assistant manager put it, both sides could have walked away with the points.

  Alan Brown
Alan Brown's corners
& free kicks caused
problems throughout.


He said, "Vale had a lot of good chances in the first half from set pieces and corners and I think they had one clear cut chance. As for us, we should have had a penalty in the second half while Vinny Conway and Tom Maider missed chances too so I suppose it would be fair to say it evened itself out over the piece. It was a very competitive game by two of the better footballing sides in the league, in my opinion, and I think there were creditable defensive performances by both sides and I thought it was an entertaining match but the fans would have been let down by the lack of goals."

The only major moment of controversy came in the 77th minute when Vale keeper David Rogers bulldozed Stephen Brogan in the area, after the Thistle striker tried to lob him, and nothing was given by referee Steven Craven, who allowed play to continue despite the roars of protest from the home fans. On that incident, Kirkpatrick insisted, "Personally I think the referee was wrong. He said that Stephen had drawn the keeper out as he tried to lob him and there would be inevitable contact. My interpretation of that is there should never be fouls given in that sort of situation and I felt he made a mistake."

With Brian Smith recalled in place of the injured Dougie Wilson Vale started in a positive frame of mind and their forward thinking could have brought them a goal after 17 minutes when Graeme McKenzie's ball in from the left was flicked on by Ross Hunter and Alan Brown swooped in unmarked at the back post to put his effort wide of the upright. Brown was again a danger after 23 minutes when his troublesome corner from the left was fired on target by former Cowdenbeath midfielder Toby King but was thwarted by an instinctive Tom Maider clearance off the line.

Jags boss John Brogan would have been a worried man after 26 minutes when Vinny Conway and Vale's towering defender Paul Barton clashed heads during an aerial joust and while Barton walked away unhurt, Thistle's competitive midfielder was left crumpled on the ground but luckily he recovered and was able to continue. The Millburn men certainly had their lion's share of corners and free kicks in the last third of the first half but the Thistle defence stood tall and even managed to break away in the dying seconds of the first period when Chris Sweeney's left side corner swung in threateningly at the Vale goal and found its way to Conway at the back post but he couldn't get a proper hold of it and Barton swooped in and cleared.

Thistle suffered another scare two minutes after the break when veteran defender Jim Meechan hit an impulsive and deadly shot, which forced Danny Moy in the Thistle goal to palm it over before Gary Shearer intervened and cleared it to safety. Rogers, at the other end, was tested by a powerful and well-struck shot by Conway after 49 minutes and the shot stopper had to tip it to his left to concede the corner. Watson's resultant kick from the right found the head of Maider but again was stopped by the agility and reflexes of Rogers.

Martin Fellowes had a reasonably quiet match compared to his match winning performance at Provanmill last week and his only clear chance on goal fell in the 67th minute when he beat Vale captain Alex Lacy but his shot was screwed over the bar, summing up his afternoon. Stephen Watson won the ball in the centre circle three minutes later and played it out to Fellowes, who in turn, laid it on for Brogan. Brogan darted into the box, hitting a low and powerful effort, which was parried by Rogers and luckily his defence bailed him out.

Alan Brown lined up a free kick on 80 minutes, just after the controversy with the spot kick, as he struck it from the left and he blasted it superbly but was only stopped by Danny Moy, as he expertly tipped it over the bar. The last chance of the game came when Brian Wardle, just brought on to replace Graeme McKenzie, headered a pinpoint cross on target but Moy was ready for it and caught it on the line, signalling the end of an entertaining but disappointing affair.


Team: Rogers, Lacy, Barton, Meechan, Goodwin, Hunter, King, Alan Brown, McKenzie (Wardle), Smith, McKernan (Wilson). Subs not used: Ward, MacLaurin & Anton Brown.

East Kilbride Thistle: Moy, Shearer, Penman, Maider, Mitchell, Sweeney, Watson, Brogan, Fellowes (McVey), Bruce, Conway. Subs not used: Brunton, Feenie, Kelly, McDade.

 
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