Vale of Leithen picked up their second Lowland League win in succession on Saturday, at the same time condemning Cumbernauld Colts to a third straight loss.
The game, at Broadwood, started well for the Colts, who created a couple of chances early on and hit the woodwork before Jamie Broadfoot slotted the ball home impressively, following a nice passage of play, to give them the lead.
Minutes later, the home support thought it was two when a header inside the six-yard box by Hunter was cleared off the line and on to the bar by a Vale defender. Colts were on top at this point but were unable to capitalise.
It was a decent game, with both sides playing some good flowing football – however, Vale stepped up their efforts immediately and were rewarded with an equaliser, when a long ball out of defence to attack saw Jason Stevens show a great turn of speed and strength to escape the retreating Colts defenders, round the advancing George in the Colts goal, and slot home from a narrow angle.
As the half draw to a close, Vale snatched the lead when there appeared to be little danger. A speculative ball into the box was neither dealt with by Ward or keeper George, leaving Blair Atkinson with a simple tap in from close range.
Vale manager Chris Anderson said his side had formed a game plan and they stuck largely to it, resulting in an excellent team performance, while the astro surface at Broadwood also suited their game.
The second period served up another even encounter, with both sides having periods of possession without creating too many clear chances.
It was, however, Vale of Leithen who extended their lead to give them a two-goal cushion – and Cumbernauld were disappointed with their defending again.
Jason Stevens, in the number nine jersey for Vale, picked up the ball outside the centre circle and was allowed to advance, leaving the Colts midfield and defence without challenge, to pass the ball coolly beyond the advancing George and into the back of the net for 3-1.
The Colts had a great chance to pull one back when a deep cross from the left was met by the rising Lachlan six yards out, only to see his goal bound header deflected on to the bar and scrambled clear. Minutes later, they hit the woodwork again when a Black effort struck the post with the keeper beaten.
With time ticking away, Black missed Colts’ best opportunity. Put in on goal, he rounded the keeper on the left, only to slice his shot high and wide with the empty goal gaping.
Chris Anderson said afterwards: “I think we were quite in control – they had a few chances and we had a few early on but, at times we played really well, with some of our best football. We passed the ball really well and had chances to add to the score.”
He added there was a definite air of confidence now about Vale of Leithen, alhtough they had a very difficult game coming up this Saturday away to Spartans.
“Since Christmas time, we have added to the squad and got a number of players back fit,” he said. “At full strength, we are a team that can climb up to the top half of the table.
“With two wins back to back, people are quite confident, but the game on Saturday will be a tough one.”
Vale had no injury concerns as preparations continued for the Spartans match and Anderson added: “Nobody really expects you to win against these teams like Spartans, East Kilbride and East Stirlingshire. They are the favourites, so there’s no pressure on us to win it – it’s just a case of getting a good performance, really.”