East Kilbride 5 Vale of Leithen 1
For the second week running against one of the title favourites Vale were still in the game until the last 13 minutes when they lost three goals.
Prior to kick off Vale were hit with some bad luck when first choice goalkeeper Ross Gilpin had to be replaced by Kiernan Beveridge due to a sickness bug.
Kiernan went to put in a tremendous afternoon with many great saves to keep Vale in the game.
As expected Kilby started with the majority of the pressure with Vale operating a more defensive system which left a front two of Stewart and Smith. Although Kilby had the pressure the speed and running of Stewart was always a threat to them.
Kilby took the lead in the 13 min when a Anderson pass was control by Woods and slotted home.
However, they led only for one minute when Stewart was chasing a through ball and the Kilby goalkeeper and defender clashed allowing Stewart to pass the ball into an open goal.
Kilby took the lead again in the 25 min when Vale allowed Longworth time on the left to float a ball into the box where Woods headed past Beveridge.
Vale were under pressure for the rest of the half but managed to keep Kilby at bay.
Vale did some positional changes at half time appeared to be defending well under constant pressure. Stewart was still killing the Kilby defence problems with his running and also in the air.
With some good goalkeeping from Beveridge and some poor finishing by Kilby, Vale were still in the game and were starting to make the odd chance in search of the equaliser.
However, as was the case last Saturday Vale were hit with two goals in two minutes. First in the 77 min a poor clearance was intercepted and Woods passed to McNeil who hammered home from 25 yards. A minute later it was 4-1 when Winter breaks clear and slips the ball to McNeil for his second goal.
Even at 4-1 with McLeod on Vale still a couple of chances to reduce the lead, but as is usually the case when you’re chasing a game Kilby broke up the park in 86 min and a Malcolm shot came back of the post for Winter to slot home.
The team competed well throughout and its not every week they are going to meet teams of the same calibre of Kilby, a team looking like the title might be theirs for the taking this season.
Vale of Leithen 1 Spartans 4
Over the piece Vale were beaten by the better team although the score line flattered the visitors in the end.
Due to injuries and unavailability of some players Vale had to shuffle the team about.
Vale conceded a goal in 4 minutes when a free kick from Maxwell evaded everyone in the six yard box leaving Ross Gilpin exposed before it ended up in the net despite a valiant effort by Ross to stop it.
Vale did not let this set back affect them and were beginning to put the visitors under pressure. Blaikie headed close before in the 14 minute after a move down the right the cross was headed against the post by Stewart before the rebound was knocked home by McLeod to make it 1-1.
The game was going end to end when there was a clash of heads by Vale’s Ally Smith and Spartans Jack Smith, which resulted in some treatment for the Vale man.
Only minutes later Spartans regained the lead when a forward high punt was missed by the Vale defence and Macdonald strode forward and slotted the ball by a Gilpin.
The second half began with Vale on the defensive with Spartans creating a few chances.
Vale were lucky when a forward pass was brought down by Jack Smith who slotted it by Gilpin only to have it ruled off for offside.
As the half wore on Vale were starting to get back into the game and substitute Liall Smith brought out a good save from Carswell.
There was a couple of chances on the break for Spartans where two crosses were headed behind, when they should have been in the net.
In the 80 minute with Vale pressing for an equaliser they were awarded a free kick in a central position just outside the box. From the resultant kick Carswell produced a good save from Blaikie.
However, as is the case when you are chasing an equaliser. Spartans broke up the park in the 84 and 85 with the Vale defence in disarray with ex Vale striker Jason Stevens scoring twice.
Man of the Match as selected by One Stop Gardening, Sean Stewart, bottle presented from Angie
Vale should be encouraged that they were always in the game until the last five minutes and the improvement from last season was there to see.
Vale 4 Gala Fairydean Rovers 2
Vale came out of the blocks rapidly and were rewarded in the 6 min when a cross from a free kick on the left by Scott Wilson was missed by everyone and ended up in the net.
Vale increased their lead in the 11 min when a after a melee in the six yard box Marc Berry tap in to give them a 2-0 lead.
However, an injury to David Bonner in the 15 min changed the whole complexity of the game. Bonner dislocated his shoulder and had to leave the field and his presence was missed almost immediately.
Gala were now in the ascendancy and Vale were struggling to regain control of the midfield.
Gala had a decent shout for a penalty when Imlah appeared to nudge the forward, but the referee waved play on.
Gale did reduced the lead on the 40 min when a 25 yard speculative shot appeared to deceive Gilpin and ended up in the top left hand corner.
On the basis of pressure Gala deserved their goal.
The second half began as the first finished with Gala on top.
For all their pressure it was still Vale who were creating the best chances on the breakaway.
Vale made a couple of tactical changes and were beginning to get back into the game having weather the storm.
They were rewarded in the 75 min when after a couple of blocks in the Gala area Berry knocked home his second of the night.
Vale were now in control and added a fourth in the 83 min when after a great interchange on the right Sean Stewart went through and slotted the ball passed the Gala keeper.
With time running out Gala scored in injury time when a 20 yard shot from Craigie found the bottom corner of the net.
A good all round performance by the team and a well deserved 3 points.
Union Club Man of the match was Sean Stewart.