|Vale of Leven Football & Athletic Club
Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Vale progressed to the quarter finals of this competition for the second consecutive year earning great praise for the manner in which victory was achieved. Hugh Hamill's depleted side chased and harried the struggling Super league side for 90 minutes and thoroughly deserved the win.
Up against his former side Vale boss Hamill didn’t have his troubles to seek with so many players injured or cup tied. Even midweek signing Brian Mulholland had to sit this one out having been cup tied for two minutes whilst with Cumbernauld. Captain Alex Lacy was forced to turn out despite being injured just to make up the numbers.
Youngster Dom Ruane started his first match for Vale with Scott McKernan starting his first match since September. Toby King was missing for the first time this season due to broken ribs suffered last week at Rutherglen. Shotts, who needed a confidence boosting win to help kick start their battle to avoid relegation, were without three cup tied players, Gaffney, Banks and former Scotland internationalist Brian Martin.
For a 20 minute spell play was rather tousy in the midfield area and Vale's Hunter and Brown were cautioned for tackles, the latter’s challenge led to Herriot being replaced by Wilson. Shotts' player Jackson was the next player in the book for a crude challenge on McKenzie.
Once play had calmed down a bit Vale took the lead very much against the run of play. Scott McKernan made himself available on the right and from his flighted cross Dominic Ruane headed home to give Vale a 34th minute opener.
Two minutes later Ward's cross from a similar position saw McKernan mishit his volley wide of target. The home side were on top and from Goodwin's long throw Brian Wardle helped the ball on and Graeme McKenzie saw his effort blocked by the keeper.
3 minutes from the interval Vale added to their lead when Ward entered the area only to be tripped just as he was about to shoot earning Irving a caution. From the resultant penalty top scorer Hugh Ward found the back of the net.
Half Time 2-0
Shotts started the second period with a caution for Boyack for dissent within 3 minutes, stupidly the same played then body checked Alan Brown 2 minutes later earning a second yellow and the right to test the bath water. Again the match appeared to hot up and Brian Wardle was next to be cautioned for a challenge on the keeper.
The visitors won a free kick on the edge of the Vale area and although Wallace's curling effort found the net the referee pointed out that it was an indirect free kick and the goal was chalked off. Shotts were down to nine men on the hour mark when Alan Brown's forceful run took him past 4 defenders and into the box. Irving again sinned from behind earning a second caution and after he left the field Hugh Ward failed to add his second penalty of the afternoon. In fact the effort so high that as well as clearing the crossbar it almost found the cricket field.
This miss seemed to spur on the nine men and once again Vale were struggling to contain a numerically disadvantaged side. After 70 minutes Shotts grabbed a lifeline when Vale stood back allowing Gallen time to find substitute Rixon and his low cross cum shot was turned into the net by the aforementioned Gallen. Could Shotts stage a remarkable recovery?
Thankfully not as Vale restored the two goal margin just 5 minutes later. Ross Hunter did well to get into the box and from his pass Hugh Ward fired a low shot into the bottom corner of the net for his twentieth goal of the season.
Immediately Vale replaced the injured Meechan with a less than fit Dougie Wilson who twice came close and then the hard working Scott McKernan went off to a rousing cheer from the appreciative Vale support to be replaced by keeper Matty Maclaurin such was Vale's injury woes.
On what was a great day for Vale with Kilsyth again losing in the league it would be unfair to single any player out after a marvellous team effort but the sponsors man of the match went to Alan Brown.
Vale would like to thank Kathy McLaren of the CENTRAL BAR in Renton for sponsoring Saturdays match ball. The club would also like to thank J.F.Hillebrand for sponsoring the game and the man of the match award.
Team: Rogers; Lacy, Wardle, J.Meechan (Wilson), Goodwin; Ruane, Hunter, Brown, McKenzie; McKernan (Maclaurin), Ward.