Vale of Leithen0
Vale of Leithen coach Fraser Ogilvie lamented his side’s finishing as the race for second place in the Lowland League hots up.
The hosts matched Whitehill Welfare everywhere on the park apart from in the goalscoring department, as Darren McGlashan and Innerleithen lad Aaron Somerville bagged a goal each in the second half.
Welfare are now right behind Vale who sit in second spot, and Ogilvie said: “We had two or three really good chances, but could not score.
“We have not set ourselves a target this season, we just want to finish as high as we can.”
There has been plenty off-the-field drama at Vale this season, but manager Chic McAleavy had problems on it when 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.
Lough was 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 who 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 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, but Bruce cleared 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.
Whitehill boss Mickey Lawson said: “I thought we were in control throughout and looked fresher than Vale.
“We have been in great form in the second half of the season and this is another good three points.”