Vale punish sidetracked Spartans’

Jason Stevens celebrating scoring
Jason Stevens celebrating scoring

Spartans 0 Vale of Leithen 2

South Region Challenge Cup Third Round

There can’t be a better time to play a team than when they’re mere days away from their biggest game of the season and the home side’s minds were visibly on Tuesday evening’s Scottish Cup replay at Berwick.

That said, you can’t take anything away from Vale as they thoroughly deserved their place in the Quarter Finals of the South Region Cup.

The damage was done before the game was ten minutes old. In the second minute of play, Jason Stevens made a break down the right and squared the ball for the arriving Kenny O’Brien to find the net.

Seven minutes later Vale doubled their lead, a neat exchange of passes taking them through the Spartans backline with Stevens gathering the ball and hitting a shot off the underside of the bar and over the line.

Things shortly went from bad to worse for the home side as Mike Bruce picked up two bookings in the space of six minutes for needlessly robust challenges on Elliot and Stevens.

And early in the second half they lost goalkeeper Kevin Swain as he sustained a knock that forced him off.

Spartans almost set the game up for an interesting finale as David Stewart hit a free kick off the crossbar, but that was a close as they came.

There was a late chance for Vale substitute Alan Flanagan to put the outcome beyond doubt as he pounced on a loose ball, but a disappointing finish saw the ball hit the side-netting.

Vale of Leithen: M. Wilson, R. Sclater, J. Gill, J. Elliot, J. Blaikie, S. Lynch, R. Brady, K. O’Brien, A. Hunter (S. Elliot 80), K. Mitchell (A. Flanagan 78), J. Stevens (D. White 89).