Vale of Leithen3
The last time these two sides attempted this fixture, it had to be halted after 70 minutes when heavy rain and high winds made a mockery of proceedings.
It was perhaps fitting then that although on this occasion they managed to get the full 90 minutes in, there was only about 20 of them worth bothering about.
The weather was certainly more sociable, but the pitch was still far from ideal, with little bounce. And players who took on the task of running with the ball were presented with a big problem as they quickly found out that they were running faster than the ball could go.
Recent postponements for both sides meant match fitness was always going to be an issue – and it was also a severely-depleted Vale side who travelled. Selkirk were missing the talismanic Phil Addison, but fielded all four of their recent French signings from the start, who all showed some nice touches, but will obviously take time to adjust to the rigours of Lowland League football.
Little happened of note before Vale made the breakthrough in the 25th minute, a Daniel McAleavy corner finding Keith Lough at the back post. His volley found the net despite David Battle’s attempt to clear off the line.
Lough struck again seven minutes later, collecting a pass from John Ferguson and firing a shot from the edge of the area that took a nick off Battle to leave keeper Gregor Amos flat-footed on the line.
Five minutes from half-time, the Souters were back in the match as two of their recent recruits combined to score, Yanis Lamghari cutting back for Jordane Orain to hammer home.
Unfortunately, that was pretty much it in terms of entertainment. The blame for the lack of quality on display in the second half had to be put squarely at the door of the underfoot conditions as the ball bobbled and stuck on the deteriorating surface, with miskicks aplenty and chances ending up sailing high or wide or both.
The keepers even tried to help as both Amos and Graham O’Brien suffered rushes of blood to the head and rushed recklessly out of their areas, but on both occasions the respective attacking sides couldn’t force the ball home.
With five minutes remaining, Vale’s Scott Gormley managed to put the result beyond doubt as he ran in behind the home defence to slot the ball beyond Amos.