Vale sideliners stake claim

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Heriot-Watt University 2

Vale of Leithen 4

SOUTH OF SCOTLAND CHALLENGE CUP

SECIOND ROUND

DAVE RYCE reports from Riccarton

WERE such a thing as a Magna Carta of football management to exist, you probably wouldn’t get very far into the tome before coming across the decree that you don’t change a winning side.

With the Scottish Cup second round tie with Cove Rangers looming, Vale decided to rest several key players, but chalked up their 10th straight win at Riccarton regardless.

All the changes really did was create a selection headache for management team of Robbie Horn and Jamie Burrell – generally regarded as a good headache, rather than a bad one – as players such as Stephen Sproule and John Ferguson, who have been restricted to cameo roles during the recent winning run, did nothing to suggest they should not form part of the starting 11.

A quiet opening spell saw both teams pass the ball around attractively, without showing much of a cutting edge, but Vale were shaping up as the most threatening of the two and broke the deadlock in the 36th minute.

It was rough justice for the home side as a free kick from Chris Donnelly appeared to hit off an arm in the Vale defensive wall, leading to loud appeals for a penalty, but the Innerleithen side immediately broke upfield with Jamie Lauder slipping a ball into the path of Jordan Hall, who took a few strides into the penalty area before finding the net.

But the teams went in level at the break, as Heriot-Watt equalised with four minutes of the half remaining, Michael Connor squaring a ball into the middle for Gordon Wilson to side-foot home.

The outcome was ultimately decided with a blistering opening to the second half by Vale.

Three minutes after the restart, Scott Devlin launched a ball into the penalty area, where Scott Moffat rose to place a header into the net.

Five minutes later, Moffat was on target again, knocking home a Hall cross to put Vale firmly in control.

Watt pulled another goal back in the 70th minute, as young midfielder David Myatt produced a composed finish, despite appeals for offside by the Vale defence.

But the Innerleithen men restored their two-goal lead just a couple of minutes later, Ferguson picking up the ball wide on the right and superbly holding off the challenge of Watt defender Gavin Main before sending a fine strike into the far corner of the net.

Vale of Leithen: M. Wilson; C. Beaton, J. Lauder, R. Miller, G. McNicoll (P. Lee), S. Devlin (P. Greenhill), S. Sproule, J. Paterson, S. Moffat (S. Radzynski), J. Ferguson, J. Hall.