Vale of Leven 1 Forth 2 3rd January 2015

Vale of Leven 1 Forth Wanderers 2

The Wanderers recorded another victory on their travels when they deservedly defeated Vale of Leven 2-1 at Millburn Park this afternoon. Forth were awarded a penalty on 44 minutes when Kris Dick was fouled in the box by Craig Cavana, the Vale man receiving a red card in the process. Kris stepped up to drill the ball home and give the Wanderers the half-time advantage. Forth dominated the second half and Ian Harty looked to have sealed the points on 68 minutes. However, Chris Lennon was sent off for an off the ball incident with 15 minutes to go and then David McNaught converted an 82nd minute penalty for Vale, to set up a nervous finish.

The sun was shining and Millburn Park looked in excellent condition as the Wanderers faced Vale of Leven hoping to avenge a 5-3 defeat back in November. However, it was the hosts who started the better and after two minutes Craig Cavana met a corner with his head but Paul McKane in the Forth goal held comfortably. McKane was again called into action 2 minutes, later doing well to turn over another header as Vale continued to press.

The Wanderers almost took the lead with their first serious attack after 7 minutes when Chris Lennon fed Ian Harty who played a great ball through to Jamie Lindsay, but Vale keeper Charles Smith was equal to his shot and did well to block. At the other end, Vale forced a series of corners but the Forth defence was in fine form and dealt with every threat, a Cavana header which flashed wide the closest they came.

As the half progressed, Forth began to assert themselves and Lennon couldn’t get a clean connection on the ball after it had broken out to him after a dangerous Marc Howson cross. Lennon then had the ball in the net after 30 minutes but was a couple of yards offside after good work from Kris Dick and Harty had set him up. Undaunted, Lennon forced a decent save from Smith a minute later as Forth began to dominate.

Lennon came close again after 42 minutes, but Smith in the Vale goal did well to hold the ball at his feet as the Forth striker attempted to round him. A Forth goal finally arrived a minute from the interval and it was a double blow for the hosts. Kris Dick broke into the Vale box and was upended by Cavana, who was adjudged to be the last man and sent off as a result. Dick himself stepped up and made no mistake from the spot to give the Wanderers the half-time advantage.

Forth began the second half as they’d finished the first, on the front foot, and after Harty had sent Howson away down the right, his cross was met by Lennon but Smith did well to claw the ball away. Lennon then broke through the Vale defence evading several tough challenges but again Smith was equal to his effort, turning the ball away for a corner. From the resultant corner, the ball fell to Jordan Smith but his namesake was equal to his close range effort.

Vale had rarely been seen as an attacking threat in this half, but McKane had to look lively to turn over a long range free kick from David McNaught after 66 minutes. Two minutes later and the Wanderers had doubled their lead. Lennon crossed for Harty and the experienced hitman finished with aplomb. There looked no way back for Vale at this stage but they were handed a lifeline after 75 minutes when Lennon was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident to even the numbers up.

The Wanderers came close to restoring their two goal advantage after 78 minutes but Smith saved well from Harty before Kris Dick sliced the rebound past the post. Worse was to follow for Forth after 82 minutes when Marc Howson was penalised for handball in the box and McNaught drillled the ball down the middle to reduce the deficit. There followed a nervy final period for the Wanderers but the defence held firm to record the victory.

Another tough game awaits next week, when second top Cambuslang Rangers come calling, but it’s one we can look forward to as we seek to continue our good recent form.

‘Mon the Forth !

Forth team : McKane,Howson,Corbett,Canning,Smith,J.Dick,Lindsay(B.Crawford),K.Dick,Harty,
Lennon,Brown(T.Crawford)