Vale of Leithen boss Chris Anderson declared himself “definitely relieved and delighted” to still be in the Lowland League, after a reality-bending sequence of events on Saturday in Edinburgh and Fife.
However, the boss has resolved that he, as a young manager, and his young players, will learn from the mistakes of 2017-18 and hopefully not be in the same position again – while there would be personnel changes at Victoria Park.
Second-bottom Vale were saved from relegation to the East of Scotland League by Cowdenbeath, who came from 2-1 down in a decisive home play-off leg to beat Cove Rangers 3-2. But their winning goal was soaked in controversy and the game ended in a melee, with three Cove players sent off.
Vale, meanwhile, were twice ahead against Civil Service Strollers in the semi-final of the South Region Challenge Cup, with a Tommy Patterson penalty and a Lial Smith goal. But, having had another goal disallowed for offside and two attempts cleared off the line, they lost 4-2 after extra time.
“It was a very strange day,” summed up Anderson.
“We had the semi-final that was going on at same time and we were a wee bit unlucky in that, so we kind of knew what was going on. It was hard to focus.
“But we were delighted that Cowdenbeath did us a massive ‘get out of jail’ favour.”
He added: “We were 1-0 and 2-1 up against Civil SS but it’s been the story of the season when we’ve been in winning potisons. We were pretty much on our feet in extra time. We’ve had a lot of games and every one over the last month has been like a cup final.”
Anderson said the squad had to improve, as the Lowland League was getting harder each year. He believed experienced players, with a bit of maturity and quality, were needed for it and he hoped to acquire some, as the present squad had been too young.