|Vale of Leven Football & Athletic Club
Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Vale progressed to the third round of the OVD sponsored Scottish Junior cup with this somewhat narrow win over North Region side Burghead in the picturesque setting of Forrest Park.
If truth were told Vale really should have won by a much larger scoreline but a combination of poor finishing, the woodwork and some inspired goalkeeping by the home side's best player Andrews kept the score down.
Vale fielded with the same eleven that played so well the previous week at Kilsyth and after a journey that started at 6am it would be interesting to see how Vale started this match.
They certainly looked up for the task in the opening minutes as first Toby King hit the bar after 2 minutes and then a further two minutes into the tie Vale edged in front with a strike from lone striker Hugh Ward after he gave chase to a long clearance from Rogers before rounding Andrews to net.
After 14 minutes Alan Brown's run ended with Brian Smith taking the ball around the home keeper but his cut back to the waiting Ward was cut out at the last gasp by the outstretched leg of Sloth.
Four minutes later Vale were caught messing around at the back and Grant only just failed to capitalise on Goodwin's slack pass back to Wardle after the lady referee awarded a foul against the home striker.
Magnificient! A goal
for Brian Wardle & a
double for Hugh Ward.
Vale had a great chance to go in front just minutes later when McKenzie made a great run down the right flank and his cut back fell to the feet of Boal who amazingly missed the target from close range. A minute after this Brown's corner was headed against the face of the crossbar by Brian Wardle with the keeper beaten. Next up McKenzie and Ward both came close for Vale before the home side's Sloth just failed to get his head to a dangerous free kick from Wilson on the right.
It seemed that the home side had frustrated Vale and held out for all square at the break however Vale at last got a rub of the green in the final seconds. Bryan Boal raced away on the right and after Sloth was cautioned for bringing him down Alan Brown swung in a high looping free kick that was dropped by the unfortunate Andrews and Brian Wardle couldn’t believe his luck as he knocked the ball into the net.
After a half time roasting from boss Hugh Hamill Vale knew that they would need to show a bit more urgency after the break if they were to break the spirit of a stuffy home side. With the 2nd half barely a minute old Boal played in Smith but his effort was stopped by Andrews. After 57 minutes Scott McKernan came on for the injured Boal but still Vale pushed forward and after McKenzie and McKernan had efforts blocked they passed up another great chance when McKenzie skipped past a couple of tackles down the left and after McKernan let the ball run Ward had a simple chance but he appeared far too casual and his effort was blocked by Sloth.
It was one way traffic towards the home goal and Brown's lob set up King who was chasing his first goal for Vale but the keeper's outstretched leg prevented a goal. The decisive third goal finally came after 84 minutes when clever inter play from McKernan and Lacy down the right saw top scorer Hugh Ward blast home his second goal of the afternoon from a very tight angle. Two minutes later Ward's cross saw Scott McKernan's netbound volley saved by Andrews.
At the end of the day not the best of performances against a very average side but with a place in next weekend's third round draw the Vale fans who made the lengthy trip were more than delighted at the outcome. Vale were best served by the inspirational man of the match Toby King who worked tirelessly from start to finish.
Vale players, officials and supporters were well looked after by their northern hosts who offered up true highland hospitality in the Harbour Inn. On a very happy homeward journey the dulcet tones of Peter MC Dennison, Paul Delila Barton and that old crooner Jim Meechan kept the “spirits” high.