Vale of Leithen 1
KING CUP FIRST ROUND
DAVE RYCE reports from Victoria Park
THE ghost of victories past came back to haunt Vale at Victoria Park on Saturday as they tumbled out of the King Cup at the hands of Craigroyston.
Visiting midfielder Craig Dickson, who notched many a vital goal during a two-year spell in Vale colours, popped up three minutes from the end to notch the deciding strike that sent the First Division side through to the second stage of the competition.
It was a victory that had looked decidedly unlikely during a first half in which Vale had steamrollered their opponents, but somehow contrived to go in at the break with the scores level.
Craigie keeper Stuart Burnside was called into early action as he pulled off a good stop from striker Danny Noon, while defender Liam Jack headed another Noon effort off the line shortly after.
But Vale did make an unsurprising breakthrough 20 minutes into the action, and what a goal it was. A wonderful passing move through the middle saw Kayne Paterson push the ball forward to Kerr Dodds at the edge of the area, who spun to beat his marker and feed a pass through for Noon to shoot beyond Burnside.
Vale should have increased their lead as Noon was presented with two more excellent chances, but all the pressure counted for nothing as the capital side scored an equaliser in the 42nd minute.
Bryan Wilson swung a corner across and defender Liam Young rose to bullet a header into the net, in what was Craigie’s first attempt on target in the game.
The visitors visibly grew in confidence after the break, adopting a much more positive attitude, with Vale keeper James Hudson blocking well as Dickson was played in by Errol Douglas.
Vale came close to retaking the lead as, firstly, Jack Blaikie was left unmarked at a corner, but he headed straight at Burnside before a Scott Devlin effort was deflected on to the post by defender Lotfi Barbirou and Burnside clutched the rebound.
Just as the match looked like going to extra time, however, a cross from Craigie’s Mark Hendrie found Dickson at the far post, and he shot past Hudson for the winner.
The home side almost grabbed an injury-time equaliser when Noon fired across goal, but the day belonged to the visitors who claimed their seventh Premier scalp of the season.
Vale of Leithen: J. Hudson, S. Sproule, J. Blaikie, J. Paterson, R. McKenzie, C. Gordon, S. Devlin, K. Dodds, D. Noon, K. Paterson (S. Moffat), C. Inglis.