Vale of Leithen 2
Gretna 2008 3
IMAGE PRINTERS CUP SECOND ROUND
DAVE RYCE reports from Victoria Park
IT’S SAFE to say that the past month has not been the greatest for Vale.
Four straight defeats which have seen them tumble out of three cup competitions and lose their unbeaten league record, conceding 16 goals in the process, have rocked the confidence gained from their earlier 10-game run without loss.
But Saturday’s Image Printers Cup tie was the most frustrating of them all.
Gretna are certainly not a bad side, but appear to be a young team in transition under new management.
Vale, with the edge on experience, should have been too wily for their visitors, but ended up doing more to beat themselves than Gretna did.
While a hesitant start saw the Innerleithen outfit fail to hit their stride, at least they appeared to be heading for the half-time break in front after Jerry Draper curled a free kick into the net from 25 yards in the 42nd minute.
But during added time at the end of the first period, Chris Gordon lunged into Gretna’s Adam Main from behind in the area.
Referee Daniel McFarlane was left with no other option than to point to the spot and captain Dean Rea dispatched the penalty.
The start of the second half saw Vale starting to impose themselves, but Gretna caught them on the break and a quickfire double from striker Dean Armstrong put them in the driving seat.
In the 63rd minute, Armstrong won a battle at the edge of the area with Jamie Paterson and his shot found the net via a post, with keeper Sinclair Inglis rooted to the spot.
Less than two minutes later, Wayne Sproule knocked an attempted clearance straight to the feet of Armstrong, who gratefully accepted the chance to give his side a two-goal cushion.
Danny Noon pulled a goal back for Vale in the 72nd minute as he slid in to knock home a Draper cross.
Vale pressed hard for the goal that would take proceedings into extra time, but keeper Kyle Townsley saved from the feet of Vale substitute Kayne Paterson in injury time to ensure a third-round place for the visitors.
Vale of Leithen: S. Inglis, J. Paterson, J. Draper, C. Gordon, J. Blaikie, S. Devlin, W. Sproule, C. Inglis, S. Moffat, D. Noon, M. Smith (K. Paterson 61).