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Millburn Park, Leven Street, Alexandria, Dunbartonshire
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Troon 6-1 Vale of Leven
Troon: K.Reid 15 & 75, Strachan 35, Duffy 46, Cashmore pen 60, S.Reid 62
Vale: Ward pen 40 mins
Man of the Match: Alex Lacy
Saturday 3rd May, 2003. Kick off: 3.00pm
Portland Park
West of Scotland Cup Quarter Final

Vale did themselves no justice at all as they crashed out of the West of Scotland cup in what was to be their biggest defeat since losing 7-0 at home to Forth Wanderers in 1980.

In what has been a good season who could have imagined that Vale would lose 6 goals in the one match. With one of the best defensive records in the league Vale came up against a lively Troon side who are in 2nd place in the Super League 1st division.

Having played their best football against the supposedly better sides this season much was hoped of Hugh Hamill's side but on the day they failed to reproduce anything like the form of which they are capable. Five of the goals lost were from set pieces and one from a defendable cross, not what you would expect from the Millburn men.

 

Hugh Ward
Ward got the Vale
consolation goal


When the quarter final draw was made Vale were reasonably happy knowing that they would be playing on a good pitch but unfortunately the surface was in a terrible condition with glass and large stones protruding from the new top soil put down. The referee only passed the pitch playable 10 minutes from kick off after the home side cleared the pitch.

Vale put out their strongest side available with Wilson starting in place of the cup tied Meechan. Slack play from McKenzie after 10 minutes saw Troon attack down the right and only a super double save from Rodgers kept Vale level. A minute later King found McKenzie on the left and his well struck shot was well taken by keeper Phillips.

Troon took the lead after 15 minutes when Ward lost possession and only another fine stop by Rodgers kept the ball out. From the resultant corner Kevin Reid netted from close range.

Twenty minutes later Vale were two down after a controversial free kick awarded against Goodwin who took the ball full in the face. When the whistle sounded everyone thought the referee was stopping the game for a face knock but to Vale's astonishment he awarded a free kick for handball. When the cross came in Strachan headed home unchallenged.

Vale were thrown a lifeline 5 minutes from the break when McKenzie got on the end of Meechan's long ball and having clipped the ball past the advancing keeper he was almost halved in two earning his side a spot kick. After the keeper was shown only a yellow card Hugh Ward converted his 24th goal of the season.

Half Time 2-1.

Having got right back into the game with Ward's goal Vale came out in the second half and lost a goal within a minute. Another corner kick from Gallagher saw Troon hit the bar and when Vale failed to clear Jim Duffy stabbed the ball over the line from 6 yards.

After Brain Wardle hit the post for Vale from Ward's cross it was Troon who broke quickly on the hour mark and when Goodwin chased the clever S.Reid and his tackle from behind was deemed a foul and from the spot kick awarded Ian Cashmore fired the ball home despite Rodgers getting his hand to the ball.

Two minutes later it was 5-1 when Rodgers weakly punched out a left wing cross and from 20 yards Steven Reid sent a "David Narey" toepoke straight as you like into the top corner of the net.

With 15 minutes remaining yet another corner into the danger area saw Kevin Reid head his second goal of the match and round off a thoroughly disappointing day for Vale and their supporters.

Vale were beaten by a better side whose movement up front caused the Millburn men all sorts of problems but at the end of the day Vale undoing was their inability to defend set pieces which up until now had been their strong point. To their credit Vale kept going right to the end but it would be difficult to give any player pass marks after such a depressing scoreline, at least substitutes Ruane and Maclaurin stemmed the tide with 15 minutes remaining.


Team: Rogers (Maclaurin); Lacy, Wardle, J.Meechan, Goodwin; Hunter, Brown, King, McKenzie (Ruane); Ward, Wilson (McKernan).
 
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