Vale of Leithen 1
Whitehill Welfare 2
IMAGE PRINTERS CUP SEMI-FINAL
DAVE RYCE reports from Victoria Park
VALE suffered their first loss in a knock-out cup competition this season as Whitehill edged through to the Image Printers East of Scotland Cup final.
Although the second meeting between these sides in seven days resulted in the same outcome, it was a very different game with Vale arguably having the better of the play.
If there were any doubts about Vale’s determination to make amends for last week’s loss, the opening quarter of an hour dispelled them as the Innerleithen side camped out in the visitors’ half.
Despite the early pressure, though, Whitehill took the lead with what was virtually their first attack of the game in the 19th minute.
Wayne Sproule flighted a ball into the penalty area and ex-Vale striker Aaron Somerville flicked a header towards goal which bounced onto the far post and in.
The Rosewell side came close to doubling their lead as a powerful drive from Sproule whistled past the post, but Vale rallied with Whitehill keeper Darren Walker producing fine saves from Andy Martin, John Ferguson and Scott Moffat.
But within a minute of the restart, Vale managed an equaliser as Steve Radzynski caught the Whitehill defence out with a darting run to find himself one-on-one with Walker, and the striker slotted the ball wide of the advancing keeper to find the net.
Just as things appeared to be turning Vale’s way, Whitehill regained the lead five minutes later.
Once again it was Somerville netting against his hometown club, picking up the ball and working his way into the area before unleashing a shot past keeper Mark Wilson from 10 yards out.
Although it proved to be the winning goal, the remainder of the game saw play swing from end to end.
Wilson saved instinctively from a Somerville volley, while Walker produced the save of the afternoon as Moffat rose to meet a Martin cross and the keeper leapt to tip the looping header over.
With time running out, a good move saw Ricky Miller and Martin exchange passes to set up substitute McKenna, but his effort was diverted for a corner by William Kidd as Whitehill desperately protected their slender lead.
The final whistle meant disappointment for Vale, but the Innerleithen men can at least take comfort from the fact that the level of performance would have resulted in a victory almost any other day.
Vale of Leithen: M. Wilson, S. Sproule, J. Lauder, R. Miller, P. Lee (S. Devlin), P. Greenhill, A. Martin, J. Paterson (L. McKenna), S. Moffat, S. Radzynski, J. Ferguson.