Forth Wanderers 2 Vale of Leven 1
Forth entertained Vale of Leven at a sunny Kingshill Park looking to build on the point gained away at Perthshire last week, while visitors Vale hoped to register their first league points after an opening day defeat to Gartcairn.
It was the Vale who began the stronger, Lee McGeachy firing a shot wide after only 2 minutes. whilst at the other end visiting keeper Charles Smith easily gathered a John Rennie shot. McGeachy came even closer on 7 minutes, his shot narrowly on the wrong side of the post before a run from deep from Connor Hyslop saw him evade the Forth offside trap and bear down on goal, but Finnigan did well to turn his shot away for a corner. Finnigan then saved from McGeachy as Vale began to turn the screw and Sean Stewart came close on 10 minutes but couldn’t direct his effort on target
Stewart then brought out another fine save from Finnigan after 11 minutes before Forth finally began to exert themselves on the game through the mercurial Willie McClaren. Firstly he hit the by line and put over a dangerous cross which was just over Taylor Scott and then he fed John Watson whose cross was headed over by John Rennie. Forth continued to press and took the lead after 23 minutes through John Watson. McClaren played a short corner to him and he had time to take a touch before firing an unstoppable shot into the corner of the net giving Smith no chance.
Worse was to follow for Vale after 29 minutes, when the Wanderers doubled their advantage. McClaren, this time operating down the left wing, drilled in a cross which was deflected on to his own post by a Vale defender and the ball fell to Taylor Scott who buried the rebound. The visitors were reeling from this double blow and could have been further behind on 43 minutes when a superb solo effort from McClaren saw his final shot just high and wide, with Smith in the Vale goal rooted to the spot.
The second half began in a scrappy bad-tempered manner and chances were at a premium in the early stages. McClaren looked to have a fair claim for a penalty when he appeared to be pulled back in the box but the referee waved away his appeals. Vale did come close to reducing the deficit after 67 minutes when Hyslop was allowed to progress unchallenged only to see his final shot rattle back off the post. Finnigan then saved well from a McGeachy free kick as Vale began to dominate.
Finnigan was called into action again on 74 minutes to acrobatically save a Kenny Wilson header from a corner but the Wanderers hadn’t learnt their lesson and when the subsequent corner came in, James Crowhurst rose unimpeded to head home. Forth were now defending deeper and deeper and only another fantastic save by Finnigan from a McGeachy free kick kept them ahead.
Vale continued to press for an equaliser and Finnigan again came to the rescue in injury time, rushing from his goal to block an intercepted back pass and secure the points for Forth. Vale will undoubtedly feel they should’ve taken something from the game but came up against a home keeper in inspired form.
Four points from six for the Wanderers is the best start in several years and next up is a visit to Royal Albert who picked up a creditable draw with Gartcairn and will again provide tough opposition.
Forth team : Finnigan,Watson,L.Tait(Howson),Gupwell,McMullen,J.Dick,Rennie,K.Dick,