Card-happy referee makes telling influence as Vale soar into semis

Edinburgh University 1

Vale of Leithen 2

IMAGE PRINTERS CUP QUARTER-FINAL

DAVE RYCE reports from Peffermill

LET’S get the man-of-the-match award out the way first, which goes to (cue drum roll) referee Wes Boulstridge.

Well, why not? MOTM is awarded on the basis of having the biggest influence on a game.

The astonishing bare statistic of 15 bookings throughout the afternoon makes this encounter look like public disorder on a grand scale, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

Perhaps a little pragmatism wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Here were two sides locking horns for a place in the semi-finals of the Image Printers Cup and nobody would have expected any quarter asked or given.

But the merest physical contact was accompanied every time by a shrill blast of the whistle and, more often than not, a flash of yellow.

The first booking occurred for a University player in the fourth minute. It was difficult to tell who, as the official took to waving yellow cards at groups of players, all wore the same incredulous expression on their faces.

Fortunately for Vale, a couple of early goals settled them down. After six minutes, Jordan Hall was tripped in the area by Mark Cathcart. Hall took the resulting penalty himself, giving Uni keeper Mark Tait no chance with a spot kick blasted high into the net.

In the 16th minute Vale controversially doubled their lead. A clearance launched forward by Vale keeper Mark Wilson found Andy Martin.

As he controlled the ball, University arms shot into the air as Steve Radzynski had been in an offside position, but Martin’s eventual cross found Scott Moffat making a late run through the middle and he swept the ball home.

The home side changed things round at the break, and pulled a goal back 11 minutes into the second half as Cyrus Moosavi was played in by Paul Doohan and knocked a ball past Wilson which crept inside the post.

With cards continuing to be issued with alarming frequency, it was inevitable that the game wouldn’t finish with 22 players on the park and six minutes from the end of normal time, Vale’s Martin slid in high and late on Tim Rawlinson to pick up his second caution.

It left Vale clinging on for the remainder of the game – which included a full 11 minutes of stoppage time – a man short as the students did everything they could to force the tie into extra time, but they couldn’t find a way through.

Vale of Leithen: M. Wilson, C. Beaton, R. McKenzie, R. Miller, P. Lee, P. Greenhill, A. Martin, J. Paterson, S. Moffat (J. Ferguson 66), S. Radzynski, J. Hall.