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Renfrew 0-1 Vale Of Leven
Vale: Smith 67 mins
Man of the Match: Brian Wardle
Saturday 23rd November, 2002. Kick off: 2.00pm
Western Park.
West of Scotland Cup Round 2

Hugh Hamill's men progressed to the third round of this prestigious competition after a hard fought win over Super league side Renfrew at Western Park on Saturday.

Brian Smith was the unlikely goalscoring hero against a rather physical home side who had midfielder Kenna sent off for a stupid head butt on Vale captain Alex Lacy. Vale themselves had their first red cards of the season when Ross Hunter was sent off for a 2nd caution 3 minutes into stoppage time and before the referee could blow for time up Vale sub Paul Barton also saw red for a sliding challenge that hardly merited the punishment.

With Dougie Wilson crocked after his injury picked up against Largs Vale again went with Hugh Ward up front supported by a deep lying Brian Smith. Ross Hunter took the place of the injured Bryan Boal.

  Brian Smith
Gets the ball..scores
a goal..Brian,
Brian Smith

Vale created the first chance of the match after 12 minutes when Brian Smith's header seemed destined for the top corner of the net until veteran keeper Thomson leapt to claw the ball away. From Ward's follow up a mad scramble followed but Vale were unable to force the ball home. Ten minutes later Smith found himself in good position but instead of shooting himself he tried to pick out Ward and the pass was intercepted and the danger cleared.

The home side had clearly become frustrated at not having everything their own way and several challenges threatened to boil over. Home danger man Barr had a good chance to put his side ahead after 37 minutes when he raced onto Cuthbert's long diagonal ball but he found Vale keeper Rogers equal to the shot. As the half drew to a close with the home side putting Vale under a bit of pressure a rare error from Jim Meechan let in Barr again but Rogers got down smartly to smother the close range shot.

The home side kept up the pressure after the break but after 55 minutes the hard working Ward won possession only to shoot narrowly wide. Five minutes later Alan Brown's curling free kick brought out a fine save from the diving Thomson. After 65 minutes Renfrew wasted a great opportunity to take the lead when Barr yet again failed when he blasted the ball over from point blank range after a fine cross from the right was knocked back to him.

Vale forged ahead after 67 minutes with what was to be the only goal of the match. Kevin Goodwin did well to play in Hugh Ward down the left and the experienced striker did well to hold the ball up before picking out Brian Smith who had made the run to the near post to side foot the ball into the net.

3 minutes later safe handling from Rogers saw him dive to cut out a dangerous cross from Leggat as "frew" sought an equaliser. The home side chances of restoring equality were seriously hampered after 72 minutes when industrious midfielder Kenna stupidly head butted Vale captain Alex Lacy right in front of the referee and was promptly shown the red card.

Within three minutes the ten men should have levelled, Barr cut the ball back across goal and Rogers got down to parry the ball but Leggat blasted the loose ball straight at the prostrate keeper. With former Vale striker McNally on for the home side they put Vale under intense pressure but Vale's rearguard were in no mood to concede a goal as they stuck to their task.

In the 89th minute Vale brought on Barton for Ward but in stoppage time they had Ross Hunter sent off for dissent earning a 2nd caution and then substitute Barton slid in for a ball and collided with his opponent to earn a straight red card. Seconds later the referee's whistle sounded much to the delight of the large Vale travelling support.

On a day when every single Vale player excelled they were particularly strong through the middle with Rogers, King, Ward and man of the match Brian Wardle outstanding.

Team: Rogers; Lacy, Wardle, Meechan, Goodwin; Hunter, Alan Brown, King, McKenzie (Deeley); Smith; Ward (Barton). Unused subs; Maclaurin, Anton Brown and McKernan.

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