'I was miffed we didn't get a draw' - Vale of Leithen boss Michael Wilson encouraged by cup display against Berwick Rangers

Having lost by an aggregate score of 20-0 in two Scottish Lowland Football League games against Berwick Rangers earlier this season (11-0 away last October and 9-0 at home in February), Vale of Leithen could have been forgiven for dreading taking to the field against the same opponents in the Lowland League Cup on Saturday.

By Craig Goldthorp
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 12:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 12:03 pm
Vale of Leithen being beaten 1-0 by Berwick Rangers on Saturday (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
Vale of Leithen being beaten 1-0 by Berwick Rangers on Saturday (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

So the fact that Berwick only won 1-0 on this occasion at Victoria Park – thanks to a stunning 41st minute free-kick by Kieran McGrath – was a feather in the cap for recently appointed Vale manager Michael Wilson in only his second game in charge.

“Losing by only one goal to a worldy strike we couldn’t do anything about wasn’t too bad especially when you consider the last two games against Berwick,” Wilson told the Southern Reporter.

"I thought we deserved a draw. I was quite miffed that we didn’t get it.

Vale of Leithen hosting Berwick Rangers at the weekend (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

"It wasn’t one way traffic for Berwick. I set the team up the week before (a 0-0 home league cup draw against Gala Fairydean Rovers) to be more defensive because my view is if you don’t lose a goal you’re guaranteed a point and you build on from there.

"We did the same against Berwick and I actually thought we played better on Saturday than the week before.

"We had a couple of chances. I think we could maybe have scored.

“I was jumping because I thought a shot from Stephen Anderson was going in but their boy’s just dived and headed it away from three yards out. That would have equalised for us and got us a point but all in all I can’t really complain.

Berwick Rangers in possession against Vale of Leithen (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

"I’d only had three seassions and I had two new players in the squad for Saturday that started.

"Seven new boys were at training on Tuesday night so it’s ‘Operation Keep the Vale’ Up’, that’s what I’m going for now.”

Although Lowland League basement boys Vale are six points adrift of second bottom Gretna with five games to play and have a vastly inferior goal difference, they do have two fixtures in hand over their rivals.

Wilson said: “Having the two games in hand gives me more of a chance although it’s effectively a seven-point gap because of the goal difference so two wins won’t be enough.

"There are no easy games in the league but I’d rather have the ones we’ve got than playing against Bonnyrigg, Berwick Rangers and Gala again.

"We might have more games because if Gala lose by more than a goal on Saturday then we qualify for the next round of the league cup.”

Vale have no competitive fixture this weekend but they will play Dalbeattie Star at home in the league on Tuesday night.

"We were supposed to be playing Bonnyrigg this Saturday,” Wilson said. “But they pulled out as they’ve got bigger fish to fry because they’ve got that play-off to prepare for.

"I’m trying to get a bounce game sorted for this weekend. I’ve got a lot of new boys coming in and I want to get them a game against an amateur team, just something to get minutes into the boys’ legs and a bit of cohesion in the play.

"The Dalbeattie game on Tuesday is must win, as is every game. But I’m confident.

"It’s not a write-off. I’ve been saying to the boys that nothing’s been confirmed yet.

"It’s pretty much in our hands. We need to win our games to keep ourselves up.”