Updated: Aug 6, 2019
The new season started today at PRP in bright sunshine, with a temperature of 24°C and, thankfully, a cooling breeze which made it that bit more comfortable for the players. Vale were playing their first game under the sponsorship of Motive Group and the flag bearing the Club and Motive logos flew for the first time at PRP.
Games against Nairn Count over the past few seasons have been tight affairs, with Nairn winning 1-0 at Banff last season and Vale winning 1-0 at Nairn. Today’s encounter was also a tight affair with both teams attacking and defending, almost in turn for the first 30 minutes. Vale had two good chances at the New Road end with a header from Robert Scott failing to beat Nairn keeper Dylan MacLean MacLean and then a shot from Ross Archibald straight at the keeper. Not taking these two chances was always going to give Vale a tough task and this was emphasised after 33 minutes when a sweeping break by Nairn and a measured cross from Kenny McKenzie on the left found Liam Shewan unmarked in the box and he coolly slotted the ball past Vale keeper Grant Pennet. Play continued in the same pattern for the remainder of the half and the teams went in level at 0-0 at the break.
The second half saw Vale begin to push for an equalizer and for the first 15 minutes of the half they managed to increase the pace and intensity of their play. However, despite the pressure and a number of corners Vale couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net and were undone again in the 67thminute when a pass at the edge of the Vale box found Gordon McNabb and the midfielder hit a strong shot past the Vale keeper to double the Nairn lead.
The game continued end to end and Grant Pennet kept Vale in touch with a fine save just after Nairn’s second goal. Both teams had chances but the game ended with a 2-0 victory to Nairn, which on the balance of play was fully deserved. Vale seemed to run out of steam towards the end and will need to up their levels of commitment and energy for the next matches against Aberdeen FC in the Aberdeenshire Cup and away at Wick Academy next Saturday in the SHFL.
Today’s game saw only one caution, for Nairn’s Tom MacLennan for a trip on Colin Charlesworth. That wasn’t the first incident involving the two players and referee Alan Proctor chose not to book either after a clash on the far side early in the second half saw Coco barged to the ground after a tackle where both players went down. The other talking point also involved Coco taking a foot to the chest from Nairn keeper as both went for a high ball. Nothing was given at the time but a look at the video coverage of that incident suggests a red card could well have been shown. In summary, a very disappointing start to the season for Vale and lots to work on for the matches ahead.