Following a number of really wet and dismal days this week, those at PRP this afternoon enjoyed a return to summer in short sleeves and sunglasses. They also got the benefit of seeing Vale’s first SHFL win of the season and the first home SHFL win since beating Fort William 6-0 in late February.
Vale had a depleted squad to choose from for this match with absentees including Kevin Adams, Ross Aitken, Dane Ballard, Liam Forbes, Harry Noble, Sam Robertson, and Kyle Willox. This required some changes, especially to the back line with Courtney Cooper partnering Michael Dunn, Robert Scott in the unfamiliar left back position and a starting role for Jody Munro up front with Ross Archibald.
Vale got off to a fast start after barely 2 minutes when Ross Archibald was brought down in the box. Very few in the ground had any doubts about the decision and there was equally little doubt about Grant Noble’s emphatic finish past Huntly goalkeeper Craig Reid from the penalty spot. The early part of the first half saw Vale continue to attack the Huntly defence and a second goal should have come within the first 15 minutes when Colin Charlesworth beat defenders and selflessly crossed to give Jody Munro a simple tap in on the left hand side of the goal, however, the ball evaded Jody and the score remained at 1-0. The remainder of the first half saw both teams attacking and some half-decent chances created without either goalkeeper being really tested. HT 1-0.
The same pattern continued at the start of the second half but was broken on 52 minutes when an excellent through pass from Ross Archibald was met by Jody Munro who hit a crisp first time shot past Huntly keeper Reid. This was Jody’s first goal for the first team in a competitive match and the quality of the finish suggests there are more to come. Well done Jody!
Vale continued the pressure in the Huntly half and a third goal came on 57 minutes from a tap in by Michael Dunn after the keeper had spilled a Grant Noble cross. Unfortunately, Michael seemed to injure his groin stretching for the ball and went off soon afterwards to be replaced by Dan Smith. This necessitated a further change in central defence with Kyle Gauld dropping back from midfield. However, the changes didn’t offer Huntly any improvement in the chances falling to them and Vale increased their lead to 4-0 on 75 minutes following a fine combination between Ross Archibald and Robert Scott, who scored his second goal of the season beating Huntly replacement keeper, John Farquhar. Both teams made further second half substitutions with Huntly bringing on Kai Ross and Paul Esslemont and Vale Nathan Stewart and Matthew Beaton. Huntly finished the game with three of their back four on yellow cards, reflecting the fairly constant pressure from Vale’s forward line.
In summary, a deserved win for Vale with some excellent performances, passing and movement. Vale fans went home happy after an emphatic win whilst Huntly fell to their third defeat in three SHFL games. Things get no easier for Vale next Saturday away to Formartine United, whilst Huntly get the chance to re-group as they have a free Saturday.