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Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Vale of Leven 1-0 Vale of Clyde
Vale: Ward 69 mins
Man of the Match: Alan Brown
Saturday 15th March, 2003. Kick off: 3.00pm
Millburn Park
Abercorn Builders Central District Division 1

Vale picked up another three hard-earned points with this narrow win over Vale of Clyde at sun kissed Millburn on Saturday. After a lack lustre opening half Vale stepped up the pace after the break and despite Hugh Ward missing a spot kick the top scorer grabbed the only goal midway through the 2nd half.

With league leaders Kilsyth drawing for the third week in a row and 2nd placed Glencairn loosing Vale are right back in contention for the league title.

The home side welcomed back Jim Meechan in place of Paul Barton but with the inform David Meechan not fit enough to start the game boss Hugh Hamill sprung a major surprise with a three man defence and Brian Wardle pushed up front.

The Millburn men were first to threaten when Jim Meechan powered a header inches past the post from Brown's corner kick. Midway through the first period Vale had both Hunter and King booked and for the remainder of the match they would have to be careful as every home tackle seemed to be penalised by an over fussy referee.

 

Brian Wardle
Brian Wardle started
up front in a surprise
move.


The visitors threatened on the half-hour mark when a cross from the right saw Maclaurin save well from Mackin but the referee adjudged that the striker used an arm to control the ball. As the uninspiring half came to a close "Clyde" were denied a goal when defender Wilson got free on the left and although his effort beat Maclaurin Jim Meechan was perfectly placed to clear off the line.

Half Time 0-0

Vale came out for the second period with Tom Fox on for the injured Smith in midfield and they seemed to be on the offensive right from the start. Goodwin's cross was knocked down by Wardle and at the last minute only a timely interception denied Ward at the expense of a corner. Jim Meechan had his effort from Brown's flag kick tipped over and then Meechan saw a header saved by Keenan.

A flash of magic from Hugh Ward saw him drop deep to spin and hit a shot that was well saved by the diving Keenan to deny the home striker the opener. Another corner saw Wardle's glancing header drift wide of the back post. Vale were pressing forward and their pressure paid off when Fox chased a long ball into the box, there seemed little danger until Wilson pushed him in the back and the referee pointed to the spot. After a lengthy delay the normally reliable Ward stepped up to take the kick but his weak effort was smothered by Keenan who dived to keep his side in the game.

After Wardle and Ward both came close to scoring Vale eventually got their noses in front after 69 minutes. A ball into the box saw Hugh Ward control the ball on the 6 yard line before turning to smash the ball into the roof of the net.

Alan Brown came close to adding to Vale's tally as the home side restored Wardle to a back four for the closing minutes.

After a disappointing opening 45 minutes Vale take great credit for their performance after the break. Although they had the option of the towering figure of Wardle in attack they looked a better side when they got the ball down and played football. Best for the Millburn men were the back trio of Lacy, Meechan and Goodwin and man of the match Alan Brown.


Team: Maclaurin; Lacy, J.Meechan, Goodwin; Hunter (Ruane), Brown, King, Smith (Fox), McKenzie; Ward, Wardle. Unused subs; Roger, McKernan & D.Meechan.
 
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