Vale to the four in league battle

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Preston Athletic 0

Vale of Leithen 4

EoS PREMIER DIVISION

DAVE RYCE reports

from Pennypit Park

It’s an awkward time when two teams play each other in the space of four days, more so for the side which won the first game.

A loss to a last-minute goal always seems so much more cruel than to a strike in the first minute, so the likelihood of Preston Athletic being inspired to bounce back through a perceived sense of injustice was a real possibility in this game.

But as it turned out, Vale cruised to a comfortable victory to lift themselves into the top half of the league.

Even better, for a side that has struggled to find the net so far this season, they at last discovered some profligacy in front of goal.

It took just four minutes for the Innerleithen men to get in front, with a deflected Scott Moffat shot finding its way into the net, and on 20 minutes Vale put themselves firmly in the driving seat with another goal.

A huge clearance upfield caused no end of panic in the home defence and, despite the attentions of a couple of defenders, Graeme Cole managed to get the break of the ball, found himself with only keeper Ross Gilpin to beat and duly dispatched the ball home.

Five minutes later, Vale had a great chance to make it three after a John Hall shot from the edge of the area struck the arm of Preston captain Craig Scott and the referee pointed to the spot.

Jamie Lauder stepped forward to take the penalty, but his effort came back off the post. The rebound fell to Kerr Dodds, but with the goal at his mercy, the midfielder could only scoop the ball over the bar.

Two down at the break, Athletic came out for the second half looking like a different side, and began to ask some serious questions of the Vale defence. A Darren Walker clearance fell to Greg McColl, whose attempted lob came off the top of the bar, while Bryan Wilson swung a free kick narrowly past the post.

But nine minutes into the second period Preston had the stuffing knocked out of them when a quick break forward saw Moffat grab his second, hammering his powerful shot into the net.

They added a fourth in injury time, as substitute David Anderson spotted Dodds’ diagonal run across the area and threaded a pass through for the latter to slip the ball past Gilpin.

Vale of Leithen: D. Walker; A. Milligan, J. Lauder, J. Hall, P. Lee, P. Greenhill, D. Gillon (C. Beaton 32), K. Dodds, S. Moffat (S. Radzynski 72), P. Doohan, G. Cole (D. Anderson 69).