Author: Blair Meikle

Fighting talk from Ando has he tells players to shape up or ship out

Chris Anderson is urging the Vale of Leithen players to show they are up for the fight, or be prepared to move on.

East of Scotland side Tweedmouth Rangers are the visitors to Victoria Park today, before a trip to face Spartans next Friday in the Scottish Cup.

And Anderson wants his charges to show grit and courage to turn around the form which has seen them win only two matches so far this season.

He recently spoke up in defiance of his belief in the players, but has warned that if an upturn in performance does not come then they will not be picked for the big fixture at Spartans, or possibly even have a future at the club.

He said: “In my opinion no team has the right to turn up and win a game without doing the basics and I expect my team to come with the attitude and work rate that will enable us to perform.

“We have a massive game in the Scottish Cup against Spartans approaching and my advice to the players would be to perform on Saturday or sit and watch our next game in the stands.

“My thoughts on the game are clear and going forward we can’t afford to carry any passengers on our journey to improve. If players want to stay at the club then performances have to improve.”

For a change Vale will go into this match expected to win against the side at the bottom of the East of Scotland League. An assured display is expected to carry them into the Ainslie Park fixture on Friday. The manager also revealed that there will be a debutant in the sticks.

“We go into the match as firm favourites despite our poor start to the season. Our performances in the league haven’t been to the level we’ve expected of late and we now go into a welcome break from league action.

“Today we add a couple of new players to the squad and goalkeeper Kieran Beveridge will make his debut after training with us for a number of weeks.

“We are all expecting a positive performance going into next week’s Scottish Cup tie”, added Anderson.

Match Preview Cumbernauld Colts: Goal gives Stevens confidence but he knows Vale will need to be at best

After grabbing the first goal of his second Vale stint last weekend, Shaun Stevens is determined for both he and the team to continue to progress.

The goal came in in the 2-0 victory over Hawick Royal Albert which was a first league win since the second day of the season and moved them away from the bottom. Hawick remain in bottom spot with Vale now six points clear.

And on a personal level Stevens, 20, wants to use the goal as motivation to keep performing, while also hoping his team-mates can kick on after a morale boosting victory.

He said: “My goal against Hawick was my first competitive goal since re-signing and it feels good breaking the deadlock, it’s a confidence booster for myself and for the team as we aren’t scoring enough goals.

“Before the game against Hawick the gaffer continued to emphasise how important a match it was for us because they hadn’t won a game and that has to come to end at some point. So we knew how vital it was for us to get three points.

“Hopefully we can build on it and go on a better run of form. We haven’t had the best of luck with decisions going our way and injuries so hopefully a turning point there too.”

They don’t come much tougher than a visit to Broadwood Stadium to take on Cumbernauld Colts. They finished sixth in the table last time out and currently sit seventh having lost only two matches. Vale by comparison have only won two, losing the other five.

They have though shown themselves to be capable of picking up points from difficult encounters, none more so than triumphing in the same fixture last year.

Forward Stevens added: “Obviously Cumbernauld are a good side but then again we’re a good side too when we’re playing at our best. It will have to be our best to get three points tomorrow.”

“Show me the same commitment”, says Anderson

Chris Anderson has asked his players to give him the same application as they did last weekend in today’s crunch match against Hawick Royal Albert.

Despite the 2-0 defeat to East Stirlingshire last Saturday Anderson was pleased with the commitment shown by the team. An injury depleted squad was up against it but defended well and worked manfully to limit their opponents. Their resolve was finally broken after more than an hour before they conceded another in the last minute while trying to chase an equaliser.

Today’s Borders derby takes on extra importance because it is a match up between the Lowland League’s bottom two sides. Vale have three points thanks to their solitary win over Edinburgh University while Hawick are just below with nothing to show for their efforts so far.

Vale could jump a few places with a win and the manager believes that can happen if the players carry the intensity levels they produced against Shire. He said: “Last week’s performance was encouraging and if we play with the same energy and enthusiasm then we will give ourselves a chance today.

“Despite poor results I have tremendous faith in the players I have brought to the club and once we are at full strength we will start to climb the league. Confidence is something that comes with results and we are determined to make today the starting point.”

The injury crisis has not fully abated yet but the options available on match day are slowly beginning to grow back to a more agreeable size with Anderson revealing that two of his men will be back in the fold today.

“Our squad had been hit hard by injuries of late and it’s great to welcome back Ross Brady and Jay Stevens to the squad for today’s game. James Elliot and Andy Martin are still a few weeks away from full fitness.

“We are also pleased to announce Liall Smith has joined on loan from Livingston. He did well on his debut last week and I’m sure he will be a success at the Vale”, he added.

Match Report: Vale 0-2 East Stirlingshire

Vale’s injury crisis was exacerbated as they went down 2-0 at home to East Stirlingshire.

Chris Anderson already had to name himself among the substitutes for this one but it got even worse with Euan Saunderson pulling up in the warm-up, prompting a promotion to the starting line-up for Alex Imlah.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, two players – Tommy Patterson and Steven Lynch – were forced off inside the first half hour meaning Anderson was the only remaining option left on the bench.

The team stood up to the adversity well and stood firm against a dominant East Stirling side, until conceding to Paul Sludden after 64 minutes.

Kevin Kelbie struck in the last minute to make it 2-0 and give Shire the win they deserved, although not many would have begrudged Vale a point for their efforts.

After a scrappy opening in which Patterson went closest with a free kick, the same player had to be stretchered off after 15 minutes. It was an innocuous looking 50-50 challenge but Patterson came off worst and appeared to jar his knee.

Signed just this week on a loan deal from Livingston, Liall Smith came on to make his debut.

After the change East Stirling took over for a spell and managed to get forward on their right hand side which Patterson, who often turns out at full back, had vacated.

Right back Jamie McCormack has lightning speed and used that to get forward at every opportunity, forcing Vale on the defensive.

From a corner, Kelbie had a header cleared off the line by Ainslie Hunter and the same player hit an effort from 25 yards which was held by Ross Gilpin.

Drew Ramsay then carved open the Vale defence but Andy Rodgers miscued his shot horribly.

The home side had a chance of their own when a quick switch of play from Smith started a move which ended with Jordan Finnie wriggling free on the right side of the box. It wasn’t clear whether he tried to score or pick out a man but the ball rolled agonisingly across  the goal and out.

Other than that the play was almost entirely in Vale’s defensive half but they defended stoically and continually managed to crowd out Shire’s attackers or get a block in.

On one such occasion Rodgers looked certain to score only to be denied by a Jonny Scott-Mercer block.

The last chance of the half fell to Kelbie but Gilpin was equal to his header from McCormack’s cross.

Half time: Vale 0-0 East Stirlingshire

Play raged from end to end at the start of the second half and Vale had the first opportunity. Shaun Stevens went down the left and managed to work the ball to Finnie but a defender got in the way of his effort.

Scott-Mercer prevented another goal when Rodgers beat two men in the box before nudging it past Gilpn, but the right back was on the line to clear.

The ball was finally in the net after 19 minutes of the second half and Shire’s lively front three were all involved. Rodgers got free on the right and found Kelbie in the box. The big forward calmly rolled the ball into the path of Sludden who tucked it under Gilpin.

Vale were denied what looked like a penalty when Jordan Tapping climbed on Craig McBride in the box and flattened him to the ground. You have to imagine that a foul would have been awarded had it happened outside the box and the Vale bench were incensed.

Anderson brought himself on in place of Kerr Allan for the final 15 minutes and Vale began to get forward a bit more.

However, Shire looked to kill the tie on the break and Connor Greene thundered a header into the side netting.

It was a counter attack which brought the decisive second in the last minute when a Vale free kick into the box was cleared. Rodgers won the ball in the middle of the park before surging forward and slipping a pass to Kelbie who had his initial shot saved by Gilpin but stuck in the rebound.


Vale: Gilpin, Scott-Mercer, Imlah, Lynch (Lewis 26), McBride, Hunter, Stewart, Allan (Anderson 74), S.Stevens, Finnie, Patterson (Smith 15).

Attacking midfielder joins

Vale are delighted to announce the loan signing of Liall Smith from Livingston.

Liall is an attacking midfielder and has featured for Livingston’s development squad but will now join up with Chris Anderson’s squad on a temporary deal.

Anderson moved quickly to snap up a player who he describes as an “exciting talent” and he goes into the squad for tomorrow’s match at home to East Stirlingshire.