Vale’s roll of honour ends in the cup

Vale of Leithen 1

Edinburgh City 2

SOUTH CHALLENGE CUP SECOND ROUND

DAVE RYCE reports from Victoria Park

All things must end, and it was Vale’s nine-game unbeaten run which did so on Saturday as they suffered defeat for the first time in more than two months.

This South Region Cup second round tie was by no means a classic that will live long in the memory of those who witnessed it. But it may well be remembered as being a tale of two penalties – one given and one not given – that did much to determine the outcome of the game.

With both these sides being East of Scotland’s only two remaining representatives in this Saturday’s Scottish Cup, there were interested spectators from Cowdenbeath and Queen of the South taking in the action.

And they must have wondered if they should have bothered at times, during a scrappy first half that only served notice that this was going to be a tight game, possibly decided by a single goal.

Indeed, it was more than midway through the half before a clear-cut goalscoring chance presented itself, as Vale’s Scott Devlin knocked a Martin Cairney cross wide.

But three minutes into the second period, the visitors edged ahead, courtesy of a penalty.

A through-ball sent Peter Stenhouse in on goal and Vale keeper James Hudson came out to claim. Although there was undoubtedly contact, the City striker certainly made the most of the situation, the referee immediately pointing to the spot and Dougie Gair stepping forward to convert.

Going behind was a bit rough on Vale, who had probably shaded it up until then, and the visitors doubled their advantage in the 67th minute when a ball found Stenhouse unmarked in the box and he found the corner of the net.

The game’s most controversial moment came 12 minutes from time when Vale’s Danny Noon and defender Callum McLean both challenged for a ball in the area, with both players going to ground and McLean clearly handling the ball.

Everyone inside Victoria Park, including the far side assistant referee who flagged for the offence, awarded a penalty – everyone, that is, apart from the referee.

But a grandstand finish to the game was not to be.

As it was, Vale did pull one back three minutes from time as Devlin curled a free kick from 20 yards over the wall and in, but with City employing some streetwise tactics to run the clock down, it was too late for Vale.

Vale of Leithen: J. Hudson, W. Sproule, J. Draper, C. Inglis, J. Blaikie, S. Devlin, M. Smith (K. Paterson 71), K. Dodds, S. Moffat, D. Noon, M. Cairney.