The Vale welcomed Fort William to Princess Royal Park today for the first home game since 5th January. A number of players were carrying knocks from the previous game at Inverurie Locos but were included in the matchday squad. In the end a late goal flurry saw a comfortable win for the home side, ending a run of three defeats in the away games since the last home match, the win against Clach just after New Year.
The first half saw Vale create a number of chances but resolute defence and a very good performance by Fort keeper Ligertwood kept the HT score to 2-0. The first goal of the game came from a neat passage of play that saw Robbie Allan net in the 13th minute. This was a 5th goal of the season for Robbie but the first since the home match with Fraserburgh at the end of August. The second goal came from a penalty for handball in the crowded Fort box as Vale looked to increase their lead. Grant Noble coolly slotted the ball home for his 8th goal of the season.
The second half saw further sustained pressure on the Fort goal but, again, keeper Ligertwood pulled off a number of fine saves. However, further goals seemed inevitable and the third was scored by Kev Adams in the 60th minute from a corner on the stand side. This doubled Kev’s tally for his Vale career, his previous goal coming in Season 2015-16.
Immediately after that goal, manager Steve Dolan substituted Matty Wallace and Kev Adams with Robert Scott and Harry Noble replacing them. Vale continued to press for further goals, but a number of attempts went over the bar, past the post or were saved by the Fort keeper. Liam Forbes was brought on for Sam Robertson late in the game and it was great to see Liam back playing after a lengthy absence through a serious head injury. The final 10 minutes saw Vale play with a bit more fluency and penetration and further goals came from Robert Scott in the 83rd minute, Lewis Dunbar in the 87th minute and Liam Forbes in the 89th. So, in the end, a convincing result for the Vale moving them on to 34 points and up to 9th place in the SHFL.
Next Saturday sees a tricky trip to much improved Strathspey Thistle and 3 points there is a must if Vale want to keep in touch with Buckie Thistle and Wick Academy, in 7th and 8th places respectively, and ahead of Huntly and Rothes, especially as both have 3 games in hand over Vale.