McBookie Championship



VICS showed their battling qualities in this thrilling encounter at Recreation Park that proved to be a great advert for junior football.

George Grierson welcomed back keeper Martin Fraser, Callum Ogston, Bobby Colligan and Sean Ewart from his depleted side which fell at Kilsyth the previous Saturday but his choices were limited by the absences on Jordan Baird and Morgan Brown but this Vics side gave their all for the jersey in a hugely entertaining match.

In tricky conditions, both sides went at each other straight from kick-off. In the opening moments Vale keeper David Markey had to be alert to save Grant Kirkwood's blushes as he nearly turn an low cross past his own keeper while at the other end Greg Vernon superbly controlled a long kick out inside the Vics box but his angled shot slipped wide.

Fraser then did well to save a shot on the turn as the game see-sawed from end to end. Adam Forsyth left Callum Walsh in his wake but from a tight angle could only fire into the side netting while Isaac Kerr’s shot was deflected over and from the resulting corner the ball just wouldn’t sit properly for a Vics player in the goalmouth scramble that followed.

Whitletts were having the better of the play and from a tight angle, Adam Forsyth beat two defenders only for Markey to save his effort at the near post. Moments later, Forsyth looked to have got the better of Walsh as he ran in on a one-on-one with the keeper but the big defender made a superb challenge.

Although Vics were creating the better chances, Darvel were pressing forward at every opportunity and in 34 minutes, the home side took the lead. A long ball down the right found Mark Armour. Sean Ewart hesitated, looking for the offside which never came and from Armour’s low cross, Paul Cameron ghosted in at the back post to tap the ball home.

And it should have been two before the interval when Vernon found himself in acres of space inside the Vics box but Fraser made a superb save to turn the ball behind.

The second half saw Vics again take the game to the home side early on and twice they were denied an equaliser by goal-line clearances. First Cameron headed a Kerr header off the line from a corner and then Buchanan saw his header from another corner blocked on the line.

Darvel had claims for a penalty waved aside when Vernon went down in the box after a Buchanan challenge but referee Matthew McDermid wasn’t interested in the home side's appeals but in 55 minutes. Whitletts finally got back on level terms. From a Bobby Colligan free-kick into the box Isaac Kerr volleyed home from 10 yards.

It was no more than Vics deserved and three minutes later they took the lead. Ross George broke down the right and his exquisite cross into the area picked out Forsyth who bulleted a header past Markey from 10 yards.

Darvel responded and in 64 minutes they levelled, Armour latching onto a through ball down the right and drilling the ball high past Fraser

The hosts went close when a low Mark Gilmour cross evaded both Vernon and Armour with the goal at their mercy, while at the other end Thomas Donovan fired wide after Markey had spilled a Jordan Boyd strike.

Both sides will feel that they had chances to win but had to settle for a hard-fought point.

WHITLETTS VICTORIA: Fraser; Colligan, Ewart, George (A Kerr 85) I Kerr, Buchanan, Ogston, Millar, Forsyth, Boyd, Donovan. Subs (not used) Anderson, Ferris.