Vale sock it to ’em with two late strikes

Vale of Leithen v Lothian Thistle
Vale of Leithen v Lothian Thistle

Vale of Leithen 2

Lothian Thistle Hutchie Vale 1

EoS PREMIER DIVISION

DAVE RYCE reports from Victoria Park

Forget Watergate, Dianagate and Hackergate, it was Sockgate on Saturday at Victoria Park.

Shortly before kick-off, referee Alan Mulvanny expressed concern at the clash of Vale’s navy socks and the black ones sported by their opponents – and the start was delayed for 10 minutes while Vale officials unearthed some alternative hosiery.

When the teams emerged, Vale were sporting red socks, which seemed to bring them luck as a two-goal blast in the final three minutes of normal time saw them grab the three points and spare any red faces among the Vale ranks.

Lothian Thistle aren’t generally regarded as one of the East of Scotland League’s leading lights by many, but given that they’ve been the third-placed team in the Premier Division for the last three seasons, maybe it’s time they were.

Although Vale probably had the better of the first half in terms of chances created, it was the Edinburgh side who went in at the break ahead, after grabbing a goal in the 34th minute.

A corner of was only partially cleared and a ball chipped back in to the danger area caught the Vale defence on the turn, allowing Joe Murray to fire a shot which was blocked, but not held, by keeper Chris Hill and Alan McDonaugh followed up to stroke the ball home.

Vale’s Scott Moffat twice had the ball in the net, but both strikes were greeted by raised flags from the assistant referee.

Both goalkeepers were doing their best to ensure the scoreline wasn’t increased. Hill blocked superbly from Kevin Lee and Murray, before leaping to turn away a swerver from Lee, destined for the postage stamp.

At the other end, Kevin Swain was dealing well with everything Vale could throw at him, but with three minutes remaining, Vale made the breakthrough when a cross was fired across goal by John Ferguson and Scott Devlin volleyed home.

A final push by Vale for a winner brought its reward with the clock showing 90 minutes, when Jamie Lauder floated a free kick into a crowded penalty area and it fell to Jamie Paterson. As a blur of a red stocking sent the ball towards the bottom corner, Swain did well to get a hand to it, but such was the ferocity of the shot, he could only divert it into the roof of the net.

Vale of Leithen: C. Hill, J. Paterson, J. Lauder, S. Robertson, P. Lee, P. Greenhill, S. Sproule (S. Radzynski), S. Devlin, S. Moffat, J. Ferguson, J. Hall (C. Beaton).