Easthouses Lily 1
Vale of Leithen 3
League Cup section B
Dave Ryce reports from Mayfield Park
A STEVEN Radzynski hat-trick put Vale within touching distance of a place in the quarter-finals of the League Cup with this hard-earned win at Newbattle.
With one game remaining in the section, the arithmetic is simple – a win of any kind in their contest against Leith Athletic on September 10 will mean the Innerleithen side qualify from the section alongside Spartans. Any other result, and Easthouses will go through.
This was a disciplined performance from Vale, who kept their eye on the ball and stuck to their task in the face of some controversial refereeing decisions against them and some strong-arm tactics from the opposition.
Right from kick-off, a stonewall penalty claim, when Lily’s David Jeffries handled a Jordan Hall cross in the area, was astonishingly turned down by referee Andrew Lawrence.
But within a couple of minutes Vale took the lead as an Andy Martin cross fell in front of Radzynski, who nodded the ball past keeper Brian Young.
Easthouses came close to equalising as Graeme Young sent a shot crashing off the crossbar, but no sooner had he done so, than Vale doubled their lead in the 29th minute.
This came from a great move in which Scott Devlin sprayed an inch-perfect ball out wide to Scott Moffat, whose delicate chip towards the back post found the head of Radzynski and the striker made no mistake.
Easthouses could consider themselves extremely fortunate to still have 11 players on the park after the referee showed remarkable leniency as Stuart Love swung a punch at Jordan Hall in the first half, before Graeme Young got away with a stamp on Moffat in the second that was claimed to have been accidental, but looked anything but.
The home side found a way back into the game in the most unfortunate circumstances as Vale defender Ryan McKenzie headed a ball past his own keeper, Mark Wilson unable to prevent the ball from crossing the line.
This gave a boost to the Midlothian side, for whom even a point would have ensured qualification, but Vale restored their two-goal cushion in the 57th minute as Martin received a pass from Moffat to go racing down the right and cut inside before squaring the ball to Radzynski, who shot home his, and Vale’s, third to ensure there was no way back for Lily.
Vale of Leithen: M. Wilson, C. Beaton, R. McKenzie, R. Miller, P. Lee, P. Greenhill, A. Martin (S. Sproule 78), S. Devlin, S. Moffat (D. Anderson 71), S. Radzynski, J. Hall.