Vale’s hopes of repeating November’s SHFL Cup win at Bellslea looked a real challenge from kick-off as Vale’s defence struggled with the pace and directness of Broch’s forward line. Broch created a couple of good very early chances, but these weren’t taken in the windy conditions when it looked as though Broch had to score. However, the pressure continued and led to two goals by Scott Barbour in very quick succession in the 14thand 15thminutes. The game continued with Broch pushing forward and a third goal came in the 24thminute when Ryan Sargent beat Grant Pennet in the Vale goal. Whilst Vale put together some good passing moves going forward, Broch goalie, Edward Flinn didn’t have too much to deal with other than some long-range shorts.
As the second half started Vale fans would have been hoping that, with the blustery conditions then being in Vale’s favour, it might have given Vale a platform to get back into the game. However, in Broch’s first attacking move of the second half Vale centre-back Michael Dunn pulled back a Broch attacker and referee Lim Duncan gave him a second yellow of the game making an already difficult task that bit harder. However. Vale’s 10 men stuck to their task and there was no further scoring until Vale captain, Ross Aitken, beat a couple of Broch defenders, rounded the keeper and slotted the ball home for his first goal of the season. Any further thoughts of a fightback disappeared 3 minutes later when Bryan Hay scored a fourth for Broch from a deep cross into a crowded goalmouth.
Broch deserved their win and made the game hard for Vale, who weren’t as sharp and competitive as they’ve been in recent SHFL games. As a result of their win Broch remain in second place in the SHFL, five points behind Cove Rangers who edged past Inverurie Locos with a 1-0 win at Balmoral Stadium. With Locos defeat and Formartine United winning 1-0 away to Forres Mechanics, the top four teams are beginning to open up a gap over both Locos and Forres.
Wick Academy’s win at Clachnacuddin move them ahead of Vale, who drop to 10th. Next Saturday’s fixture at home to Rothes is another important one for Vale if the sights remain on a top half of the table finish.