Vale on brink of promotion to top flight

VALE OF LEITHEN enhanced their promotion prospects – and their championship ambitions – when a 2-0 victory against Leith Athletic moved them into second place in the Central Taxis First Division.

Vale now only need to win one of their five remaining fixtures to guarantee promotion although, if Craigroyston fail to beat Stirling University on Saturday, the Innerleithen team will be promoted anyway.

Vale were the brighter and more organised side in the early stages last night, perhaps due to the fact that the Leith Athletic party was late in arriving at Victoria Park because of traffic problems. And it took them only nine minutes to take the lead when a Gavin Tainsh cross from the right found Aaron Somerville and his overhead kick from 12 yards sent the ball looping over exposed Leith goalkeeper Ian Gordon.

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Vale increased their advantage ten minutes later when Kerr Dodds fired over a low cross to the unmarked Darren Gillon, who hit a powerful volley low into the net from eight yards.

The second half started with a frenzy of yellow cards before Steven Radzynski hit a shot wide for Leith from a good position. It was to be his last piece of meaningful action as he was later sent off for his second bookable offence. Vale were well served by their central-defensive partnership of Michael Stewart and John Hall while Gillon, Dodds and Paul Greenhill were tireless workers in midfield.

Rab Paget, the Vale manager, said: "In the first half we blew Leith out of the water and totally dominated the opening 45 minutes. Our goalkeeper had one save to make as we controlled midfield and were stronger all around the park.

"In the second half, Leith, as expected, had a go without really testing us. It is a fantastic three points against the form team in the division. We now need one more win from five games and, if we don't get it, then we don't deserve to go up."

Colin Tomassi, the Leith joint manager, said: "We obviously started slowly without a proper warm-up which did not help us because Vale started well and pressed the game. In the second half we didn't take our chances."

League leaders Stirling University were held to a 1-1 draw away to Eyemouth United who took the lead through Sean Simpson. Lee Nicholl equalised for the students with a late penalty while Johnny Baigrie's volley earned Easthouses Lily a 1-1 draw with Gretna 2008.