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Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Vale Of Leven 2-0 Lanark United
Vale: WARD 21 mins & ALAN BROWN 58 mins
Man of the Match: Brian Wardle
Saturday 19th October, 2002. Kick off: 3.00pm
Millburn Park.
Abercorn Builders Central District Division 1

Vale responded well to criticism after last week's stinging home defeat by disposing of Lanark United at Millburn on Saturday. The level of performance was considerably higher but unfortunately for all their possession they only managed 2 goals and as a result the visitors were always in with a chance.

Still without the injured Bryan Boal and Graeme McKenzie, Vale had Paul Barton added to the sick list before kick off. Vale boss Hugh Hamill made one chance after last week, Ross Hunter being recalled to the starting eleven with Brian Deeley dropping down to the bench.

The opening play saw Vale well on top but the closest they came was a Jim Meechan knock down that just failed to reach the waiting Wardle before Stark cleared.

  Alan Brown
First goal of the
season for Alan Brown

Vale's pressure came off as they edged in front after 21 minutes. A long ball was well held up by Dougie Wilson and allowed Hugh Ward to collect on the edge of the area, he in turn skipped past a couple of challenges to fire home from 12 yards.

Lanark's closest attempt at goal came after half an hour when a dangerous cross from the right was turned over the bar by keeper Rogers for a corner. Vale responded with Hunter heading inches wide and then the same player sent a powerful shot inches over.

After 40 minutes Ward played in Wilson but with Smith awaiting the pass for a simple tap in he elected to test the keeper at his near post and the resultant corner was of little reward for his efforts.

Right on the stroke of half time the visitors were reduced to 10 men when centre half Stark was sent off for kicking out at Brian Wardle as Vale waited to take a free kick.

Vale started the second half on the offensive and after Goodwin released Wilson on the right his low cross was spilled by the keeper before being hooked clear by Parry. After 56 minutes Wilson collected the ball with his back to goal and his close control saw him elude a couple of markers but with only the keeper to beat he dragged his shot wide of the far post.

Lanark at last started to come into the game and McNulty turned Wardle before shooting into the side netting. After 58 minutes the game changed again in Vale's favour when McNulty collected the ball from a throw in and sent in a shot that beat Rogers but rebounded from the keepers left hand post.

The ball was cleared to Wilson on the half way line and he slipped a perfectly weighted pass to the supporting Alan Brown and his first time effort beat the advancing keeper for his first goal of the season.

The goal was a timely boost as Lanark kept plugging away and Rogers did well to save McBratney's low shot on the turn after an hour. Vale received a blow after 67 minutes when the industrious Hunter was taken off with a suspected broken wrist to be replaced by Deeley.

Five minutes later Alan Brown's chip was taken on the run by Smith and his powerful drive was turned around the post by McKenna, from the corner that followed Wardle's header was cleared off the line before King shot over. In the closing minutes Smith came close when his header from Ward's cross was inches too high.

At the end of the day Vale were worthy winners against a side who were highly fancied as league winners this season but were totally outplayed by the home side. On a day when Vale had no failures everyone deserves praise for an impressive showing with Brian Wardle putting in another commanding man of the match performance at the back.

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

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