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Kilsyth Rangers 0-0 Vale Of Leven
Man of the Match: Alan Brown
Saturday 2nd November, 2002. Kick off: 2.00pm
Duncansfield Park.
Abercorn Builders Central District Division 1

A rejuvenated Vale ended Kilsyth's run of six league wins in a row with this spirited performance at Duncansfield on Saturday. If truth be told the league leaders got out of jail as a combination of the woodwork and some careless finishing stopped Vale from claiming all three points.

With Dougie Wilson on holiday Vale boss Hugh Hamill recalled fit again Bryan Boal and Graeme McKenzie replaced Ross Hunter who dropped down to the bench.

Vale started in the knowledge that they had to take something from this match if they were to have any real hope of winning the single promotion place at the end of the season. Unfortunately it was the home side who threatened first when Longmuir beat Goodwin at the corner flag and when his first cross was partly cleared he raced into the box to meet the following cross from the opposite wing but his glancing header crept just past the upright.

  Bryan Boal
Bryan Boal returned
after injury troubles

After 5 minutes Hugh Ward held the ball up for McKenzie to fire in a shot that curled narrowly past the far post. Ten minutes later Boal made a great run on the right and his inch perfect cross fell at the feet of the unmarked Ward but the ball rebounded from his shin into the arms of the thankful Gers keeper. A good move down the Gers right saw Longmuir and Forsyth combine to set up Carberry but his low shot was well stopped by the diving Rogers. As play flowed from end to end next up it was Vale wide man Boal who brought out a fine save from former Sons keeper Chalmers at his near post.

The Millburn men passed up a golden opportunity to take the lead after 35 minutes when Ward collected the ball just inside the home half of the field and as he ran at the last defender he slipped a perfect pass into the path of the supporting Smith but unfortunately he mishit his shot from the 12 yard mark and the chance was lost. Smith almost made amends three minutes later when Alan Brown and Ward combined to present him with a shooting chance but this time the ball was inches too high. As the first period drew to a close Vale almost took the lead when Wardle knocked on Brown's flighted free kick only for Jim Meechan's inch perfect lob to rebound from the crossbar with the keeper well beaten.

Into the second half and Vale continued to outplay the table toppers and when Meechan's cross from the right was headed back across goal by Brian Wardle and Hugh Ward's shot seemed destined for the net until a super block from Prunty denied the striker. The clearance landed at Meechan on the right - this time Wardle's diving header beat the keeper but drifted past the post. Vale were well on top but they had to score to reduce any threat the home side may cause. They should have done so after 65 minutes when Boal's pace took him clear on the right, his cross into the middle for the unmarked Ward rebounded from a defenders arm and amazingly neither the referee nor the linesman thought it was a clear cut penalty and as Boal regained the ball perhaps they were playing advantage, unfortunately this time Boal elected to shoot and his effort screwed wide of the far post with Ward awaiting a simple tap in.

Vale had another chance a minute later but Smith headed wide from Boal's cross and then when Ward broke clear on the left his low shot was parried by the diving Chalmers before Gers defender Smith cleared the ball off the line.

On the day Vale were by far the better side as they never allowed the home side to settle and play passes to their high scoring forward line. Vale would certainly have been happy at taking a point from this game before the match but they can't feel anything but disappointment at not taking all three points. On a day when everyone gave their best with the back four outstanding and Smith and King dominant in the central midfield allowing Alan Brown to claim a man of the match award.

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

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