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Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Kello Rovers 1-2 Vale of Leven
Kello: ROBINSON 71 mins
Vale: MEECHAN 27 mins & WARDLE 63 mins
Man of the Match: Toby King
Saturday 14th September, 2002. Kick off: 3.00pm
Nithside Park.
West of Scotland Cup Round 1

Vale resisted a brave fightback from the home side to progress to the second round of this competition. Having reached the semi finals last season Vale were keen to do well again this season but the trip to Kello was very much a journey into the unknown. Having never played at Nithside Park before Vale's task was made even harder with the bus breaking down on the Fenwick Moor leading to a mad dash to get to the ground where the game kicked off 15 minutes late. Hardly the ideal preparations for an important cup tie but Hugh Hamill decided to stick by the same eleven who started last week at East Kilbride.

The Millburn men were first to threaten when Lacy sent Hunter free on the right and from his low cross Scott McKernan saw his near post effort blocked for a corner. A few minutes later McKernan held the ball up for Smith but his effort sailed over the cross bar. After 18 minutes McKernan was again in the thick of things when his pass found King but his close range effort was blocked and McKenzie following up saw his weak effort cleared.

  Brian Wardle
Supersub Brian Wardle

The home side seemed to gain new heart from Vale's failure to capatalise on their possession and they started to hit Vale on the break. After 22 minutes Clapperton got in a shot that flew through a ruck of players in the box but keeper Rogers got down to smother the ball. Another break from the tricky Frew saw veteran striker Lori Lamont get a half chance and although Lacy and Barton crowded him out he still got in a shot that Rogers blocked at his near post.

Vale got the vital first goal after 27 minutes after Smith won a corner and from Brown's flag kick Jim Meechan found himself in acres of space and he powered a header high into the net.

As the half drew to a close an uncharacteristic weak headed clearance from Goodwin presented Robinson with a shooting chance, fortunately for Vale Rogers tipped the effort over the bar. From the corner Lamont was unmarked on the edge of the area and his looping header was well gathered by the Vale keeper.

At the interval top scorer Dougie Wilson replaced McKernan and within minutes he could have added a second goal when he found himself clean through on goal but Houston in the home goal blocked his shot with his outstretched foot. After 50 minutes Rogers did well to save a shot from Kerr after the substitute had evaded a couple of weak challenges from the Vale defence.

With Vale under a bit of pressure they decided to bring on Brian Wardle for Barton after 57 minutes but the big defender went straight up front to leave Vale with a three man defence. The bold move was to pay handsome dividends just 6 minutes later when Toby King controlled the ball in the middle of the park and lobbed the ball forward for Wardle to head past the advancing Houston and into the net.

After 69 minutes Kings pass picked out Wilson free on the left and from his cross McKenzie saw his effort deflected past the post for a corner.

Vale were caught out on the break after 71 minutes when Frew raced free down the left and from his cross Gary Robinson was left all alone to slot the ball home from 11 yards range. Five minutes later the same player came close with a glancing header that crept past Rogers' right hand post as Vale breathed a sigh of relief.

Wilson then passed up a couple of great chances to take the pressure off Vale as he broke clear, firstly he shot over after being played in by King and then after a surging run from Goodwin saw him free inside the box he elected to take on the keeper at his near post with King, Smith and McKenzie all screaming for the ball to be played back, needless to say his effort found the side netting much to the annoyance of his team mates.

A minute into injury time and Wilson was clear again only this time he was pulled back by defender Kirkland who was fortunate to only receive a yellow card. With Wardle now back helping out in defence Vale were wondering where the six minutes of stoppage time came from but they held on to claim the win they deserved.

Vale were best served by Rogers, Lacy, Meechan and man of the match Toby King.

Team: Rogers; Lacy, Barton (Wardle), Meechan, Goodwin; Hunter, King, Alan Brown, McKenzie; Smith, McKernan (Wilson). SUBS NOT USED ­ MacLaurin & Ward.

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