It wasn’t a 9-1. And for that Vale manager Chris Anderson was grateful after losing 4-2 to world-record equalers East Kilbride. But he was also heartened by the performance of his depleted team.
Kilby matched the Ajax side of 1971-72, featuring Johan Cruyff, by winning their 26th match in a row but it could have been very different with the visitors leading 2-1 at half time and locked at 2-2 until the 84th minute.
A soft penalty award allowed Sean Winter to give his side the lead before Martin McBride sealed it a minute later.
Anderson though praised his team for the way they ran the league leaders so close. He said: “Nobody likes losing games. However, although we never came away with any points we left East Kilbride with huge pride.
“Credit to EK who are on a great run and no doubt are a fantastic team, but I was very proud of all of the players yesterday and it fills me with excitement as to what this team can achieve in the future.
“We might not be ready to challenge the best teams in the league for an entire season yet but in a one off game we showed we are more than good enough to compete.”
That they were able to do so with several players missing must be an encouraging sign, especially since the same team had punished them 9-1 just weeks earlier. Injuries and unavailabilities meant that he only had 13 players available, and one of the two subs was goalkeeper Jamie Shiel.
The defeat has meant a drop to seventh place, but with a game in hand on BSC Glasgow who are immediately above. Anderson is only thinking about going back up the way.
He added: “Once we get a full quota of players available again we are only looking up in terms of the league and standards are set higher than ever at this club now.
“There are no excuses. With the talent and appetite we have in this squad we have to aim as high as possible.”