Vale of Leithen 1
EoS PREMIER DIVISION
DAVE RYCE reports from Victoria Park
THIS was the sort of fixture that Vale would have bookmarked at the start of the season for taking maximum points from, but a first half in which they were completely overran by the visitors was to blame for the final result.
Right from the off, Tynecastle closed their opponents down, denying Vale any space in which to operate and the pressure led to their opener in the 12th minute.
A surging run forward by Neil Hastings saw him slip the ball out wide to Josh Morris, who centred for Robbie Arthur to fire home.
The visitors doubled their lead 10 minutes later after Ricky Miller was penalised for a foul on Morris and Arthur cracked a low free kick from the edge of the area in to the net.
The advantage was then extended in the 38th minute. Vale felt that play should have been stopped for a push on Ryan McKenzie by Hamidou Saounela, but referee John Weir took a hard look at the situation and let play continue, allowing Saounela to whip a cross towards Morris arriving at the back post, who gave Craig Weir no chance with a well-struck shot.
The half-time break did Tynecastle no favours, as they emerged from the dressing room looking rather heavy-legged. But the chances of a Vale revival were dealt a blow only seven minutes after the restart when Chris Beaton was shown a straight red card for going in late on Hastings.
Vale managed to get one back in the 59th minute. Scott Moffat and Wayne Sproule exchanged passes before Moffat sent a cross towards the back post, where Jordan Hall did well to get his head on the ball and send it looping over keeper Steve Vannet.
John Williams attempted to clear with an overhead kick, but the ball was adjudged to have already crossed the line by the assistant referee.
Rather than pushing Vale on, though, it was Tynecastle who responded, with chances falling to Kevin Brown, Daniel McAleavy, Charles McAleavy and Morris, but it looked like tired legs that met them.
Tynecastle keeper Vannet horribly misjudged a Miller free kick, then watched a Steve Radzynski header bounce back off the crossbar and the woodwork was struck again as a Jamie Lauder corner came back off the post, but there was to be no way through for Vale.
Vale of Leithen: C. Weir, C. Beaton, R. McKenzie, R. Miller, P. Lee, P. Greenhill (S. Radzynski 79), A. Martin, J. Hall, S. Moffat, W. Sproule, J. Lauder.