Vale drive home their point

Vale of Leithen 1

Stirling University 1


DAVE RYCE reports

from Victoria Park

The second part of the Vale-Stirling trilogy saw the Innerleithen side grab a good point in this league clash as they battled to ensure Premier Division safety.

It was a much-improved performance by Vale from the previous week’s King Cup clash, a better one from second-placed Stirling and, as a result, a much better game as a whole.

Vale were missing midfielders Paul Doohan and Jamie Lauder through injury, while Kerr Dodds, Paul Greenhill and John Hall were suspended, but the game did see a debut for Kevin Bracks, a midfielder signed on loan from Bonnyrigg Rose for the remainder of the season, who turned in a solid display in the midfield. Vale still had to chase the game as they conceded their by now customary early goal to the Students.

A cross was deflected high into the area in the 11th minute and when it came down to Emmot Parr-Gallagher, the striker hit a first-time volley which flew into the net.

It was a well-taken goal, but Vale’s equaliser in the 32nd minute was even better.

An Anderson free kick into the area was only half cleared by the Stirling defence and as the ball rebounded out, centre-half Ricky Miller caught up with it to hit a glorious shot on the turn, which gave goalkeeper Kevin Walker no chance.

The Stirling keeper denied Vale with a brilliant save shortly after, when a Chris Beaton cross was met by Anderson, and with his header appearing to sneak in under the bar, Walker stretched to tip the ball over.

Scott Moffat went close with a header from the resulting corner and it stayed square at half-time.

The second half seemed to settle quickly into a pattern of Vale pushing forward, with Stirling looking to catch their opponents on the break.

Clear-cut chances were few, with Vale’s best chance falling to Anderson when he met an Andy Martin cross, but the shot was too high.

There was an uncomfortable moment for Vale in the dying seconds as a Richard Milne ball found Daniel Denholm in the middle, but his attempt flew over the bar and settled on the roof of the net.

Vale of Leithen: D. Walker; C. Beaton, A. Killin, R. Miller, P. Lee, K. Bracks, D. Anderson, D. Gillon, S. Moffat (A. Martin), S. Radzynski (G. Hare), G. Cole (A. Milligan).