Vale of Leithen 3
Cove Rangers 2
WILLIAM HIILL SCOTTISH CUP
DAVE RYCE reports from Victoria Park
Where to start?
The final six minutes of this pulsating cup tie were as dramatic as football gets, but from kick off to the eventual final whistle, this game contained so many twists and turns, near-misses and did-that-really-just-happen moments, it left you breathless.
A nervy opening spell gave way to a Vale opener in the 21st minute.
Some good thinking by Ricky Miller saw the centre-half send a quick free kick to Martin wide on the right.
The winger outstripped Cove left back Stirling Smith and sent in a cross which was controlled by Scott Moffat in front of goal.
Moffat’s initial effort rebounded off a defender, but the striker made no mistake second time round, firing home a terrific shot.
Another dash down the flank by Martin led to a second for Vale in the 41st minute – his cross again found Moffat in the middle, who knocked down for Jordan Hall to send a powerful shot into the roof of the net.
Despite having looked out of sorts in front of goal, Cove pulled one back in first-half injury time. Blair Yule sent a cross into a packed penalty area which fell to Ritchie Singer a few yards out.
Singer didn’t catch the ball cleanly, but his scuffed shot wrong-footed Vale keeper Mark Wilson and rolled over the line.
It was a blow for the Innerleithen men, but a boost for Cove, who came out in the second half and proceeded to pummel the Vale defence in search of an equaliser.
An on-target effort from Smith was blocked by defender Miller, while substitute Kevin Webster sent a rocket of a shot that looked to be going in before it seemed to rise at the last moment and flew over the bar.
Despite the pressure, you could sense a bit of frustration creeping into Cove’s play, but as the game entered its tense final minute, Cove managed to find an equaliser.
A ball was sent into the area by captain Murray McCulloch, and although Jordan Leydon’s close-range shot was blocked brilliantly by Wilson, Webster was following up to smash the ball home.
Cove very nearly stole it as well – deep into injury time, Leydon was left holding his head in his hands as he unbelievably shot wide from a great position.
But as the game entered its 95th minute, Martin slipped a ball behind the defence for John Ferguson to turn and place a shot beyond McKenzie to spark wild celebrations among the home support.
Vale of Leithen: M. Wilson, C. Beaton, R. McKenzie, R. Miller, P. Lee, P. Greenhill, A. Martin, J. Paterson (S. Devlin 82), S. Moffat (J. Ferguson 75), S. Radzynski, J. Hall (J. Lauder 75).