Forth Wanderers 1 Vale of Leven 3
Forth made two changes to the side which lost to Cambuslang last week, Barry Canning coming in for the suspended Tony Traynor and Yamikani Misanjo replacing the unavailable Kenny Wright.
The visitors made a bright start and JC Hutchison in the Forth goal had to look lively to turn away a shot from Mark Bowie in the first minute. Brian Wardle headed over from the resultant corner kick . However, Vale were not to be denied and opened the scoring after 5 minutes when a free kick out on the left was expertly flicked into the net by the boot of Ross Davis.
Forth gradually fought their way into the game, with Yamikani Misanjo,making his first start, prominent. He managed to breach the visiting defence after 8 minutes but although his shot evaded keeper Charles Smith it rolled wide of the far post. A good run and defence splitting pass by Stephen McQuade found Misanjo in the Vale box after 13 minutes but keeper Smith rushed from his goal to block. Two minutes later a powerful run from Misanjo down the left resulted in the ball being cleared for a Forth corner.
Vale looked dangerous whenever they attacked however and a misplaced header let in Mark Bowie but Forth keeper Hutchison did well to save. Their second goal was only delayed though and they doubled their lead after 23 minutes. David McNaught out on the left found Craig Cowan with a fine pass and the midfielder hit a sweetly struck shot into the corner giving Hutchison no chance. Vale had the bit between their teeth now and Mark Bowie almost increased their lead on 34 minutes but keeper Hutchison again did well to block. Vale were not to be denied though and the third goal arrived a minute later. Ross Davis picked up the ball just inside the Forth half and despite the attentions of Marc Howson drove towards goal before steering the ball past Hutchison into the net.
Forth were looking shell shocked at this point, with Vale seemingly able to attack at will and only another fine stop from Hutchison prevented Bowie from increasing their lead. As the interval approached, the Wanderers searched for a goal to get them back into the game and a good run and pass from Stephen McQuade found Chris McGroarty but his shot was deflected over the bar for a corner. Martin Harty then met a perfectly flighted free kick inside the box but keeper Smith did well to deflect his shot and the rebound was again blocked by a defender, who required treatment to an injury sustained whilst making the block. Forth were unable to make the breakthrough however and the interval arrived with the visitors good value for their three goal lead.
Forth began the second half in determined fashion and Chris McGroarty signalled their intent with a blistering shot on 48 minutes which was deflected narrowly over the bar. The Wanderers were now beating a path towards the Vale goal and it was no surprise when they pulled a goal back on 50 minutes. A Misanjo cutback found Martin Harty in the box and although keeper Smith saved the striker’s shot, Craig Crawford was on hand to net the rebound. Vale were looking rattled for the first time in the game and the Wanderers spurned an excellent chance to pull another goal back two minutes later. A pinpoint Crawford cross picked out Barry Canning in the box but keeper Smith managed to get a hand to his diving header and the defence cleared. Canning then got on the end of a Harty flick from a Crawford free kick but Smith did well to turn his goal bound shot over.
Vale appeared to have weathered the storm and Hutchison had to look lively to save a close range header from Bowie as they looked to seal the points. Their case was not helped however when substitute Scott Thornton received a straight red card for what appeared to be a two footed lunge, having only been on the field 11 minutes. Unsurprisingly, the visitors retreated into a more defensive formation, content to hit Forth on the break when the opportunity arose. This tactic proved ultimately successful, restricting the Wanderers to long range efforts from McGroarty and McKenzie and they comfortably saw out the game, in fact it took a great double save from Hutchison to stop them increasing their lead in injury time.
Overall, a disappointing result and performance but hopefully we can get back on track this Saturday when local rivals Lanark come calling in the Central League Cup.
‘Mon The Forth.
Forth team : Hutchison,Howson(Cawley),McQuade,McKenzie,Grant,Stevenson,Canning,
VOL team : Smith,Wardle,Lacy,McKenzie,Pallsey(Ward),Cowan,Brown,McNaught,