Vale of Leithen 0 Whitehill Welfare 2
The hosts matched Whitehill Welfare everywhere on the park apart from in the goalscoring department on Saturday as Darren McGlashan and Innerleithen lad Aaron Somerville bagged a goal each in the second half.
And, the visitors are now right behind Vale who sit in second spot in the league.
Danny Rennie was forced to take a place on the bench due to an injury in the warm up, and was replaced in the starting line-up by Keith Lough who proved to be one of Vale’s better players in a scrappy first half, working well with Scott Gormley.
Gormley shot just wide in the first minute and then put in a tempting cross which just evaded Lough.
But Whitehill’s use of the long ball proved dangerous for Vale’s backline and Darren Aird had to make a superb challenge to deny Wayne McIntosh.
McIntosh has 30 goals this season and almost made it 31 when a long-range shot struck Vale’s crossbar.
Yet, it was the home side which almost snatched the lead on the stroke of half-time as Ross Aitchison broke through Welfare’s defence only for ex-Vale midfielder Kerr Dodds to make a last-ditch tackle.
Whitehill started the second half with purpose and almost scored the opener as Mike Bruce’s header was cleared off the Vale goal-line by Aird.
However, Welfare needed keeper Bryan Young to keep the score level minutes later as he brilliantly tipped away Lough’s stinging low volley.
And that save was to prove pivotal on 65 minutes as McIntosh crossed for McGlashan to lash the ball into the bottom corner.
Vale continued to press as they looked for three points which would have denied Spartans the league title for another week. Gormley had the best chance when he beat Whitehill’s backline only for Bruce to clear his shot off the line.
And with seven minutes remaining, sub Somerville picked up Wayne Sproule’s pass and toe-poked it home from 12 yards to secure the victory.
Vale of Leithen: B. Callan, D. Aird (D. Rennie 72), D. McAleavy, J. Young, R. McKenzie, R. Aitchison, K. Lough, E. Mearns, S. Gormley, J. Ross-Kerr, J. Ferguson.