Vale of Leithen0
“Keep out the puddle!” is certainly one of the less common instructions issued from the technical area to a player in football – but it rang out at Victoria Park on Saturday, writes Dave Ryce.
It followed a farcical sequence of play late on in the game which saw possession change between the teams five times in as many seconds as players struggled to control the ball in a particularly watery area of the pitch amidst a downpour of biblical proportions.
A three-goal margin perhaps flattered City against a Vale team missing four players, but the victory itself was deserved on an afternoon that saw the game finish in the sort of conditions that would have prevented kick-off an hour-and-a-half earlier.
With only three minutes played Vale should have had an opportunity to take the lead as City’s Jordan Caddow clattered Vale forward Greig Tulloch in the area. It looked a clear infringement, but the referee waved play on.
Shortly afterwards, Josh Morris was left holding his head in his hands after curling a free kick off the bar with City keeper Andrew Stobie beaten.
But on 22 minutes Edinburgh took the lead as Gordon Donaldson met a Ross Guthrie cross at the back post and dispatched a powerful header into the net. Donaldson went on to prevent a certain equaliser as half-time drew near when a deflection fell kindly to Vale’s John Ferguson and although the striker lifted the ball over Stobie, the left back was on the line to hook it clear.
The start of the second half was accompanied by a deafening roar. Not from the crowd, but the sound of rain hitting the roof of the enclosure at Victoria Park. The players deserve credit for sticking to the task in hand in conditions suited more to frogs than humans, and managing to find the odd lily pad of playable ground.
Mark Osbourne made sure of the points for City by hitting a double, firstly running on to a Mark McConnell pass to slide the ball past Ross McMullen in the 57th minute.
Six minutes later, he darted in behind the Vale rearguard to claim a long ball played out of defence to seal things.
A Tulloch header and Kenny O’Brien free kick both came close to claiming what would have been a deserved consolation for Vale late on.