A fine first-half showing by Vale of Leithen blew away Civil Service Strollers at a breezy Victoria Park on Saturday.
And manager Chris Anderson had Sean Stewart to thank for leading his team to their second Lowland League win in a row, reports Kenny Paterson.
The ex-Spartans man was filling in as striker in place of top scorer Shaun Stevens – but his team-mate might struggle to get his place back after an outstanding showing from Stewart.
He seemed to be involved in every home attack, scoring the first Vale goal and winning the penalty for the second, which Kerr Allan eventually converted.
Admittedly, 10-man CS – who had Jack Verth sent off for appearing to elbow Stewart in the second half – were disappointing throughout the game.
But that should not take any gloss off a fine three points for Vale.
Stewart opened the scoring 18 minutes as he coolly slotted the ball past Stuart Burnside for his third goal of the season.
Each side had an unsuccessful penalty claim.
Strollers’ plea resulted in a free kick on the edge of the area, from which Ross Gilpin producing a good save to deny Jack Downie’s goalbound effort.
Stewart was at the centre of all of Vale’s attacking play and, after Burnside beat away his shot, the Vale man set up Jonny Scott-Mercer, who was also denied by Burnside at close range.
The Civil goalkeeper was having a fine game but he would play a pivotal role in Vale’s vital second goal seven minutes before half time.
Stewart again raced through on goal and the onrushing Burnside pulled down the striker, to give referee Colin Whyte an easy decision.
Allan’s initial effort from the spot was saved by Burnside but the midfielder knocked in the rebound.
The second half was a tame affair, particularly after Verth’s straight red card on 55 minutes. Strollers actually improved with 10 men but Vale manager Chris Anderson said: “We played really well in the first half and deserved the victory.”