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Neilston 1-1 (3-0 pens) Vale of Leven
Neilston: DONNELLY 64 mins
Vale: WILSON 17 mins
Man of the Match: Dougie Wilson
Saturday 21st September, 2002. Kick off: 3.00pm
Brig O'lea.
Sectional League Cup Quarter Finals

Super League side Neilston finally won through to a semi final tie after beating Vale in a penalty shoot out after a thrilling 90 minutes saw the sides level at one goal apiece. Having led for most of the match Vale were made to pay for several missed chances that could have finished off the tie. When it went to penalty kicks Vale's spot kick hoodoo would continue with a fifth consecutive shoot out failure as home keeper Sexton saved all three Vale kicks.

Vale went into this game without recent signing Graeme McKenzie who had picked up an injury and his place on the left went to Hugh Ward. Dougie Wilson and Brian Wardle also started to the exclusion of McKernan and Barton who dropped down to the bench.

The home side started at a cracking pace and after 5 minutes only a timely interception from captain Alex Lacy denied Wilson a goal scoring opportunity. 3 minutes later the diving Rogers turned a snap shot from Murdoch round the post as Neilston pushed forward.

  Dougie Wilson
Dougie Wilson scored
early on for the Vale

Vale gradually took a grip of the game with Brown and King winning control of the midfield. After 14 minutes keeper Sexton spilled a Brown free kick but Vale were slow to react and the chance was lost. Ross Hunter made a good run down the right and after Wilson helped the ball on Smith turned to get in a shot was flew narrowly over the bar. Another fine Hunter run saw Ward play the perfect pass into Smith but his first time effort dropped inches over although a debatable offside flag would have cancelled out the effort anyway.

Vale deservedly took the lead after 17 minutes when Alan Brown played a perfectly weighted pass up the left which saw top scorer Dougie Wilson collect before dragging the ball past 3 defenders and then sending a low right foot shot into the net.

Meechan then released Ward on the left and after cutting in his curling effort drifted just wide of the far post. As play flowed from end to end Rogers got down smartly to save a low drive from Neilston's Wilson then Dougie Wilson came close with another fine run and shot that flew past the far post.

Ten minutes into the second period Neilston withdrew Wilson, who had given Vale a few problems, and replaced him with former Beith striker Donnelly, a goalscorer when Johnstone defeated Vale in last season's West semi final. The home side were putting Vale under increased pressure but it was Vale who came close with a Meechan header that earned a corner from which Toby King had an effort blocked in a goalmouth scramble.

King had a chance to play in Wilson but lost possession and Neilston raced up the park for Waddle to scoop over from close range. Vale again came close when Wardle's glancing header missed the target by inches after 61 minutes.

Three minutes later it was all square when Whiteford found substitute James Donnelly in acres of space and he took the ball around Rogers to score.

Two minutes later Waddle thought he had put the home side ahead but a linesman's flag ruled the goal offside as Vale struggled to contain the pacy home side.

After 70 minutes Wilson attacked on the left and from his pass substitute Deeley's effort was blocked with Brown screaming for the pass that would have played him in on the keeper. Neilston missed a great chance with 12 minutes remaining when Donnelly screwed a shot wide of target then the chance to wrap the game up fell to the experienced Toby King after Wilson's mazy run set him up. Unfortunately the midfielder, all on his own, blazed a shot high over the bar from 12 yards range. In the final minute Rogers got down well to save from Macdonald.

And so to the penalty shoot out where Waddle, Donnelly and Carson all netted for the Brig O'lea side but unfortunately for Vale Alan Brown, Kevin Goodwin and Toby King all saw their efforts saved by home hero Dean Sexton.

Hugh Hamill's Vale side were bitterly disappointed to take nothing from the game after a fine performance against a very good Neilston side who will do well this season. On a day when Vale can take much credit they were best served by Rogers, Meechan, Wardle, Lacy, Brown, King and man of the match Dougie Wilson.

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

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