Gretna 2008 1
Vale of Leithen 9
EoS PREMIER DIVISION
DAVE RYCE reports from Raydale Park
VALE swept aside a severely depleted Gretna side on Saturday with a clinical display at a venue they had never previously won at.
Suspensions, injuries and unavailability left the home side short in certain areas, particularly in goal, where they were forced to draft in Joe Martin, who is normally a midfielder in the club’s U-19 side.
The contrast was obvious as Vale keeper Craig Weir hardly had a save to make, while at the other end Martin hardly made a save.
But you can only play the opposition that’s in front of you, and Vale proceeded to steamroll through the makeshift Gretna side with some dazzling passing play.
A defensive slip from John Jardine, ironically one of the few regular starters in the opposition line-up, presented Scott Moffat with a clear run on goal and he rolled the ball past Martin.
Three minutes later Andy Martin lobbed his first strike of the afternoon into the net and grabbed another in the 12th minute, curling the ball home beautifully after exchanging passes with Jordan Hall.
Vale found the net again in the 23rd minute as a quickly-taken free kick allowed Devlin to stride through a static defence to easily slot past the keeper.
The second half started in much the same way as the first had, with a couple of early goals for Vale. In the 48th minute, Devlin chipped a shot from fully 30 yards which dropped into the corner of the net.
Four minutes later, Moffat broke down the right and his cross was cleared by the beleaguered Gretna defence only as far as Hall, whose shot looped under the crossbar and in.
The home side pulled one back just short of the hour mark as Sam Atkinson stepped up to send a free kick flying into the net from 20 yards.
The goal perked Gretna up for a spell, but normal service was soon resumed and substitute Radzynski notched his side’s seventh on 68 minutes, executing a deft chip over Martin.
Radzynski followed this up with another fine strike six minutes later as Hall laid a ball into his path and he bulged the net with a rocket of a shot.
Three minutes from time, Martin completed his hat-trick as he found the net with the outside of his right foot to complete a miserable day for the hosts.
Vale of Leithen: C. Weir; J. Paterson (S. Sproule), J. Lauder, R. Miller, J. Blaikie, P. Greenhill, W. Sproule, J. Hall, S. Moffat (S. Radzynski), S. Devlin, A. Martin.