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Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Vale Of Leven 1-2 Renfrew
Vale: King 14 mins
Renfrew: Rogers O.G 28 mins, Prentice 48 mins
Man of the Match: Jim Meechan
Saturday 18th January, 2003. Kick off: 1.45pm
Millburn Park
Scottish Junior Cup 4th Round

Hugh Hamill's side only have themselves to blame for exiting the Scottish Cup. One up and in control they lost a ridiculous equaliser which must go down as an own goal by Vale keeper Rogers. From that point Vale lost their way and when the visitors grabbed what was to be the winner early in the second period there was no way back for the Millburn men who finished the match with 10 men.

Vale were at full strength whilst Renfrew made a couple of changes from the side that lost to Vale in November. The significant change was the inclusion of veteran striker Billy McLafferty who proved to be the perfect foil for youngsters Prentice and Barr. Former Vale striker Jim McNally was on the bench.

The home side almost got off to the best possible start when inside 90 seconds, Jim Meechan found himself in space at the edge of the box but Thomson saved his snap shot. Vale continued to make the early running but they were almost caught on the break in the 8th minute but Ross couldn't get on the end of Hammond's through ball.

  Jim Meechan
Vale went out despite
Jim Meechan's efforts

Vale did, deservedly, take the lead after 14 minutes when Hugh Ward found Toby King unmarked in the box and he fired home from close range.

Renfrew almost got on level terms two minutes later, Alan Prentice sending a free kick into the box; Dickson got on the end of it but sent his header just wide. The first yellow card of the half came in the 19th minute, Mick Brogan the recipient for a trip on Bryan Boal. From the resulting free kick, the ball broke again to Meechan at the edge of the box but this time he sent his shot just wide.

Renfrew's next opportunity came quickly after, Prentice sending another dangerous free kick into the box, this time Barr's header was goal bound but was deflected wide. In a typical tense Scottish Cup afternoon, the healthy crowd enjoyed some light relief in the 24th minute when a dog got on the park.

Keeping up the bizarre happenings, Renfrew's equaliser followed in the 28th minute. Another Prentice free kick on the right wing, fully 40 yards out, caught David Rogers just off his line. The keeper retreated but could only push the ball up onto the bar, however, in his haste to recover only managed to kick the ball into his own net.

He had a lucky escape two minutes later, Barr blocking a kick out. Unfortunately, the referee judged that an offence and yellow carded the Renfrew striker. Having largely kept Vale playmaker Boal quiet to this point, Renfrew almost gifted him a goal in the 42nd minute from a loose back pass but to their relief he fired wide. Renfrew finished the half strongly but neither Barr nor Hammond could convert either of the chances that fell their way.

HALF TIME: Vale of Leven 1 Renfrew 1

The travelling support didn't have to wait long in the second half for the winning goal, only 3 minutes. Man of many clubs Billy McLafferty sending in a left wing cross to Barr at the back post, his chip back across goal found the unmarked Prentice and he headed home from only a matter of inches.

Renfrew's only yellow card of the half went the way of Neil Farquharson in the 61st minute for a charge on Rogers. Renfrew weren't having it all their own way and had to thank Thomson for preserving the lead in the 64th minute, when he stopped a point blank Boal header after Vale captain Alex Lacy fired in a cross from the right. Two minutes later and Ward raced clear down the left wing before crossing low through the 6 yard box but no Vale players could get on the end of it.

Still Renfrew's best efforts were being provided by Prentice but no-one could take advantage of his crosses. Vale became increasingly desperate in their efforts to stop him, Alan Brown's tackle from the back on him in the 75th minute, saw him the latest recipient of a yellow card. He was followed 2 minutes later by substitute Scott McKernan for feigning injury after he collided with Brogan.

A goal down deep inside the final 5 minutes, Vale pushed further and further forward but that just allowed Renfrew to hit on the break. This brought the final incident of the afternoon, Colin Clark chasing a long clearance; Rogers charged out to meet him, both players slid in and both missed the ball. Clark got up first but felt the full force of the keeper's lunge from behind. There could only be one result, a straight red card. Matty Maclaurin came on in goal for his first appearance of the season with Smith departing.

At the end of the day Renfrew only just deserved their win to avenge their earlier cup defeat in the West.

Vale would like to thank Billy Dennison Coaches for sponsoring the match and club sponsor Alan Wright of the Beechwood Hotel for laying on the aftermatch buffet.

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