Vale show six appeal – but visitors see red

Vale of Leithen 6

Lothian Thistle Hutchie Vale 1

EoS PREMIER DIVISION

DAVE RYCE reports from Victoria Park

IT’S been a long time coming – not since the Scottish Cup second round replay against Selkirk in October, to be exact – but on Saturday, Vale finally got a win.

Delight at the five-goal gap between the sides at full-time must be tempered with the fact that Lothian had to play more than a third of the game with nine men. But it was still a fine display by the Innerleithen side who, even when there was numerical parity, looked the outfit more deserving of the points.

Vale got off to a great start as they took the lead with barely two minutes played. Chris Gordon sent a free kick into the area, which Scott Moffat controlled before volleying into the net.

The advantage was increased in the 37th minute when some neat passing ended with Moffat back-heeling into the path of Chris Inglis, who drove the ball home. And in first-half injury time, Arran Ponton pounced on a defensive slip to set up Kerr Dodds for the third goal.

Thistle made changes at the break, but their second-half plans were dealt a blow when they lost the services of keeper Kevin Swain after he brought down Ponton in the box and the referee showed him a red card. Defender Conan McDairmid took over between the posts and his first action was to turn away Moffat’s penalty kick.

The capital side pulled a goal back in the 54th minute as a Jamie Hawkins header dropped behind the line via the crossbar – but just three minutes later another red card was shown to Richie Wilkes, reducing the visitors to nine men.

To their credit, Lothian never gave up, but when Jamie Paterson sent an excellent strike into the far corner of the net in the 69th minute, it was all over as a contest.

Lothian had a chance to reduce the deficit with 10 minutes remaining when Gordon brought down substitute Alberto Arena, but keeper Sinclair Inglis got down well to block Ross Elliot’s penalty kick.

Vale put some gloss on the result with a couple more goals in the final five minutes. A Chris Inglis cross found Kayne Paterson arriving at the back post to knock home, while Moffat notched his second of the afternoon a couple of minutes later, placing a shot high into the net.

Vale of Leithen: S. Inglis, C. Gordon, A. Ponton (S. Devlin 55), R. McKenzie, J. Blaikie, J. Paterson, W. Sproule (K. Paterson 25), K. Dodds (D. Noon 61), S. Moffat, C. Inglis, D. Thomson.