A cold day at Kynoch Park saw the return of Colin Charlesworth to a Vale side for the first time since season 2014-15 to help out a squad reduced by the suspensions of Michael Dunn and Lewis Dunbar, injury to Robbie Allan and the absence of Liam Forbes due to illness.
The first half saw Vale play up the Kynoch Park slope towards the town and have the better of the first 30 minutes with Keith’s Simpson the busier of the two keepers. Chances fell to Sam Robertson, Colin Charlesworth and Robert Scott but Vale’s lack of recent goal success continued. Keith came more into the game in the final 15 minutes of the half and both Cammy Keith and Max Berton threatened to give the home side the lead. However, neither side managed a goal and they went in at HT at 0-0.
The second half started in even colder weather with some fans retreating out of the wind to either the stand or the enclosure. Again, in the first part of the half Vale pressed the Keith defence but failed to take the chances they created until the 58th minute when Coco met a cross ball from the right with a powerful header which went in to the net despite a Keith defender trying his best to keep the ball out. Probably a question of whether it was Coco’s goal or an own goal but the decisive header made the difference.
Both sides continued to push forward with Keith throwing as many crosses into the Vale box as possible and Vale trying to work the ball forward, primarily down the right-hand side of the pitch. However, mounting Keith pressure in the Vale box gave Cammy Keith the chance, in the 73rd minute, to force the ball over the line for the equaliser, again despite a valiant effort by a defender to keep it out. However, parity lasted for only a couple of minutes when Matty Wallace scored the goal of the game beating keeper Simpson high on his right-hand side. That was Matty’s fifth goal of the season.
The final 15 to 20 minutes of the game saw Vale pushing for a third to make the points safe and Keith looking for at least an equaliser. Robbie Mutch in the Vale goal did well under continued high balls and with a couple of good shots on goal, aided by his left-hand post towards the very end of the game.
So, a narrow first win in five games and three points to keep Vale in 11thplace, level on points with Rothes in 10thand a point behind Huntly in 9th. Next week sees Vale at local rivals Turriff United ahead of a final game of the season at home to 2nd placed Brora Rangers on the 13th April.