Vale safe as they take sunshine from Leith

Vale of Leithen 1

Leith Athletic 0

EoS PREMIER DIVISION

DAVE RYCE reports from Victoria Park

THERE will be Premier Division football at Victoria Park next season after a Wayne Sproule goal was enough for Vale to see off their relegation-threatened opponents.

The first half saw some nice passing play from the home side, while the Leith midfield were proving very adept at finding space to operate – all of which meant that proceedings were rather pleasant on the eye.

But clear-cut chances at either end were thin on the ground.

Vale’s Scott Moffat set up Jordan Hall for a crack at goal, but Leith’s former Vale keeper Iain Gordon was off his line sharply to block well.

At the other end, Leith went closer as a Lewis Tracey header had to be cleared off the line by Jamie Paterson, but it was Vale who eventually found the net in the 37th minute.

Jamie Lauder and Andy Martin worked a short corner on the right and Lauder’s ball into the goalmouth saw Sproule get his head to it. It wasn’t the cleanest of headers, but that was to his advantage as the flight of the ball deceived Gordon, who could only watch as the ball bounced inside the far post.

It could well have been 2-0 at the break as Moffat got on the end of a huge clearance, but his lob over Gordon came back off the crossbar and Vale had to be content with the single-goal advantage.

The second half couldn’t have been more different from the first.

Whatever happened during the break, it meant the end of the silky football and enterprising play, to be replaced by a scrappy, bad-tempered battle.

But this seemed to suit the visitors just fine as they always looked likely to grab an equaliser. The fact that they didn’t was down to a couple of outstanding saves by Vale keeper Craig Weir in a tense closing spell for the hosts.

The stopper came off his line to deny Greig Tulloch with a superb one-handed save, before a piledriver by Jason Stevens was brilliantly held by Weir.

Vale of Leithen: C. Weir, J. Paterson, J. Lauder, R. Miller, J. Blaikie, P. Greenhill, W. Sproule, J. Hall, S. Moffat (S. Radzynski 71), S. Devlin, A. Martin.