Month: December 2016

Match Preview: Selkirk – New signings set to play part

The festivities continue tomorrow with a Borders derby at Selkirk’s Yarrow Park.

New Year is traditionally derby time and this might not be the Old Firm but it is a great opportunity for both teams to earn a victory which could act as a springboard going into 2017.

Vale are still striving to get back to their early season form after a slump comprising of 6 winless matches, while Selkirk are bottom of the league with the possibility of going level on points with Preston Athletic.

One factor in the rut that Vale have been going through has been players missing each week through a mixture of injuries and unavailability. The New Year celebrations mean that will be the case again but Anderson revealed that some as yet unnamed new signings will ease the burden.

He said: “With a game on Hogmanay as expected we have a few players missing, however we will have new signings playing their part on Saturday and we will have added five new signings by next Saturday.”

Anderson remains determined to get his side riding on a high again.

He added: “Everyone has enjoyed the break and I think it was important we got some time off to enjoy the festivities.

“I am looking for a good performance from everyone tomorrow. We have played well in moments this season and just need to keep on working hard.”


Match Preview: East Stirling – Motion knows form will change soon

It is not getting any easier for Vale, with East Stirling being the side they will have to overcome if they are to put an end to their winless streak.

The 2-0 reverse to Dalbeattie Star last Saturday was the fifth game in a row which has ended in draw or defeat, and second placed Shire are the visitors to Victoria Park tomorrow.

The Falkirk-based side are East Kilbride’s nearest challengers in the league and results have included a 10-1 hammering of Gala Fairydean Rovers two weeks ago, but Vale can take heart from the 2-2 draw they managed in the reverse fixture.

Kevin Motion knows he and his team-mates will turn around their form at some point, although he acknowledged that East Stirling will be tough opponents.

.He said: “I think everyone should be looking forward to it as it’s another chance to test ourselves against one of the top teams in this league. They have good players all over the park and it will be a real good test for us on the back of our recent run.

“We have been on a sticky patch of late but we are a new team and I’m very confident with the players we have we will turn it around sooner rather than later.

“We have competed very well in 90% of our games this season and we must take confidence from that. On our day we can match anyone and the boys have to believe in themselves in order to win.”

The draw at Ochilview was one of a number of heartening results achieved this season, but form has tailed off in recent weeks, so much so that the last win came against Gretna at the beginning of November.

It was also Motion’s debut for Vale and he added: “I hadn’t done much of a pre-season and I was very fortunate to start. I thought every single one of the boys were superb that day.

“We dominated the game for large parts and it was a really good game to play in. We played some terrific football and I don’t think anyone could disagree that we should have won the game and that’s probably not even taking the missed penalty into account.”

“However, they are on a real good run just now and in Andy Rodgers they have a proven senior goal scorer that we’ll need to keep an eye on. We’ll get chances in the game though and we must take them, as that has let us down over the last few weeks.”

Playing at Vale just as good as SPFL for Motion

Despite it being a step down from where he has played most of his career, Kevin Motion is enjoying his time at Vale of Leithen “just as much” as those that have gone before.

Having spent much of his career in the Scottish lower leagues with Stenhousemuir, Alloa and Forfar, Motion moved back to the Lowland league with first club Spartans in 2015 before ending up at Victoria Park via Newtongrange Star.

At the age of 33 he now has different priorities, as well as plenty of experience to pass on to the younger members of the squad. Chris Anderson knows the player well and managed to lure him to the club, and Motion is so far pleased with his decision.

He said: “I’ve been very fortunate to have had some great times over the years through football but I’m enjoying this season just as much as any other.

“Ando, Keith, Sean, Lamby and Rob are doing everything in their power to get this club on the up and make us successful. We have a really good squad with a mix of old, really old and young players that means we have a real chance of making it one of the best seasons the club has ever had.”

Some eyebrows may have been raised when Motion signed on at the side who finished third bottom in the Lowland League last season and who have one of the smallest budgets in the division, but his rationale was to join a team with potential.

He explained: “I’m good friends with a lot of the players in the squad as well as Ando so that was a big draw for me. Ando knows how I like to play football and he also knows I can’t and don’t run about that much and he gives me licence to do that, as long as I’m performing well at what I’m good at. Thankfully I’ve got young legs around me to do my running.

“Also, I bought into what Ando and the guys are trying to create here, I wanted to be a part of that and try to help in any way possible. I’ve got a lot of respect for the coaching staff, they are all very young in terms of management and coaching but I’ve no doubt they’ll be successful here and higher up in the future.

“It’s a great squad of boys who like a laugh, the banter is good, usually at the old boys’ expense but I’m really enjoying being part of it. I enjoy winning games though and this squad should be winning more than it is losing.”

As one of a few experienced heads alongside Ainslie Hunter, Robbie Manson, Keith McLeod and Danny O’Donnell; one their responsibilities is to help bring on those at the other end of the spectrum. Youngsters such as Blair Atkinson, Sean Stewart, Brad Raiker and Ross Lamb have shown promise and are able to draw on the know-how of their older team-mates.

Motion said of the youngsters: “I’m focused on the younger players we have in the squad, some of them have no idea how good they are and how far they can go.

“If I can help them get better in any way I’ll be happy with that. I wish I was as good as a few of them when I was in my early 20’s.”


Match Preview: Improvement needed against Dalbeattie

Increased performance levels will be required if Vale are to recover from their recent sticky patch against third placed Dalbeattie Star.

Manager Chris Anderson acknowledged as much while also reiterating the belief that he has in his players.

Vale have not won in their last four matches, with the last taste of success coming against Gretna 2008 in October. Impressive results earlier in the season means they are finely poised to jump back into the top half, and also acts as a reminder of the ability which exists at Victoria Park.

After a less than convincing campaign last term, Star have turned out to be one of the strongest teams in the league this time out. They earned a 1-1 draw in Innerleithen on the opening day of the Lowland League season but may be a tougher nut to crack away from home.

Anderson said: “Dalbeattie will prove another tough test for us tomorrow and we will have to improve on what has been a disappointing run of games.

“I’ve said from day one we have great group of players here and have huge belief in every one of them. It’s only a matter of time before we go on another good run.

“The league is very tight and only a few wins will put us back up the league. With only a few games of 2016 left it would be nice to end the year on a high.”

What has not helped during the bad run has been the number of injuries the young manager has had to contend with, but he revealed that two of them will be back tomorrow.

“I’m pleased to see Steven Lynch and Ross Brady back in contention for a place in the team after a difficult spell of injuries.”

Match Preview: Civil Service Strollers

Vale will meet Civil Service Strollers in a Lowland League match for the first time tomorrow, and general manager Mark Lamb says they are expecting a tricky encounter.

Civil, who like Vale are a former East of Scotland League club, made the move to the Lowland League this season after being accepted in the summer. They have coped with the step up reasonably well with four wins and three draws from 14 matches, and Lamb thinks that shows they are capable of getting a result at Victoria Park.

He said: “With Civil Service Strollers joining the league this year we don’t know an awful lot about them, but they have acquitted themselves pretty well so far and we expect a tough match.”

Recent injury victims Jason Stevens, Kevin Motion and Andrew McQueen have recovered to give Chris Anderson a full squad to choose from for the first time, and Lamb added: “Having last week’s match with Whitehill postponed has allowed a few players to shake off the injuries they were carrying.

“We have had problems with injuries and suspensions, so it will be strange to have everyone fit and available.”