Stirling University 2 Vale of Leithen 2
A point away from home is a good result, however at the end of the game the Vale will feel that it should have been full points.
The game started with Vale on the back foot as the youthfulness of the home team was giving them problems with their running.
Their pressure eventually paid off in the 13 min when some slack Vale play in the midfield resulted in long cross ball by Lyons arriving at the feet of McEwan, who had time and space to lob Gilpin to give them the lead.
This spurred on the Vale and Sean Stewart was starting to create all sorts of problems for the home defence with his speed and movement, and this was rewarded in the 21 min when a good pass from Dickson found Stewart who beat a couple of defenders before slotting by the goalie for 1-1.
With Vale now in command a through ball caught out the defence and with Stewart bearing down on the goal he was taken out by the home goalie Allan just outside the box. The referee deemed this only a yellow, although as last man it could have been a red.
From the resultant free kick from Kerr Allan, the goalie made a good stop but was unable to knock clear and Bonner followed up to head home for 2-1, 28 min.
Things got worse for the University when in 40 min Lyons was red carded for a lunge at Stewart.
The second half was only 5 mins old when after slack play again in the midfield, Vale gave away a free kick on the left. The flighted ball in the six yard box came of McBride’s head for an own goal.
The rest of the half was played out with neither team in control and with Vale not taking advantage of the extra player.
The only two real chances fell to Vale where Stewart and Currie were unlucky not to score.
A good point and I’m sure if we were offered it at the start of the game we would have gladly taken it.
Gretna 2008 3 Vale of Leithen 2
The Scottish Cup adventure ended in the first round in a scrappy game where Vale ended the game with 9 men and their assistant manager also sent off.
Vale started the game with a strong team which had Stewart and Rixon up front and were rewarded in the 16 min when Stewart broke through and put the ball past the Gretna keeper.
Five minutes later should have been two ahead when a through ball was picked up by Rixon who shot narrowly by the post.
The Vale were struggling to retain possession and Gretna took advantage of it in the 28 min when after some slack play on the edge of box allowed Gradison to fire in the equaliser from 20 yards.
Gretna were now beginning to take control and took the lead in 37 mins when Smith was allowed space on the right wing to cross into the six yard box where Kelly tapped home.
One area of concern during the first half was handing out of yellow cards for minor fouls.
The second half was only one minute old when a cross into the Gretna box was header back by Stewart to Bonnar who tap it home for the equaliser.
During the next 20 mins it was Vale who looked the more likely to regain the lead.
However, in the 71 min after giving away needless corner, the resultant corner was head home by Kelly.
With Vale chasing the game and pushing more men forward, they were hit with a double sending off in the 83 min. Hunter who was harshly booked in the first half received a second yellow for bringing down an attacking player. Bonnar who was complaining about the sending off was also then given a straight red. Shortly after, John Brogan, the assistant manager was sent to the stand also for complaining.
Vale spent the last five minutes hammering at the Gretna defence and were nearly rewarded twice when they struck a post and a McBride shot went inches past the post.
Gretna had a chance to score a fourth when with Gilpin up the park for a final corner, the ball was cleared and the Gretna forward was left with an open goal, but instead of shooting he decided to try and carry the ball towards the goal before falling over and allowing the trailing defenders to clear.
Overall a draw would have been a fair result, as neither team performed well on the day, however now Vale can concentrate on league business starting with an away match to Stirling University next Saturday.