Vale of Leithen 2

Hawick Royal Albert 0

David Knox at Victoria Park

IT may be a little early to be discussing six-point survival matches, but Saturday’s derby had an element of desperation written all over it.

Vale yet again only had 12 of their 19 signed players fit and available – a trend that had left them second bottom ahead of kick off.

And Hawick had yet to register a single point from their opening six games.

Two second half goals made sure it was Vale’s supporters who would be breathing a little easier on Saturday evening.

Manager Chris Anderson told us: “Today was simply about winning and getting three points.

“We didn’t take the chances in the first half and there was a period in the second half where I would gladly have taken a one-nil win.

“I know all teams have injury problems but we’ve almost as many players watching from the sidelines as we do on the park.

“Once we start getting players back I’m confident we’ll start climbing up the league.”

Hawick’s new manager, Craig Tully, wasn’t involved in Saturday’s defeat.

But the former Dundee and Ross County defender must have cringed a few times as he watched from the enclosure.

Vale carved open several good chances in the opening 20 minutes. Craig Saunders saved from both Jason Stevens and Sean Stewart, while several headers and shots also flew just wide of the target.

Hawick’s central defensive pairing of Declan Hogg and Michael Johnston marshalled the Vale attack fairly well but midfield runners were rarely being picked up.

The home team should have made the breakthrough on 40 minutes as Ross Brady’s powerful freekick was palmed straight at Stewart by Saunders, but the Vale striker lashed his shot over the bar from 10 yards.

The Albert’s only real chance of the first half came on the stroke of half time as Curtis Rose raced onto a flick on and forced a good near post save from Ross Gilpin.

Saunders made a terrific save six minutes into the second half to deny Sean Stevens as normal service resumed.

And Kerr Allan smacked the post from 25 yards as Vale searched for a breakthrough.

The goal arrived on the hour with Sean Stevens darting to the front post to steer Allan’s cross into the net.

Hawick did respond by throwing players forward but it was still the Innerleithen team who looked the most likely to score next.

Nice one-touch football set up Allan in the 70th minute only for the midfielder to drag his shot a foot wide of the target.

Saunders produced a stunning finger-tip save to push a Jason Stevens effort round the post.

But the striker got his own back just two minutes by sending a looping back-header over the keeper and into the net.

For Vale it was a case of job done.

Vale of Leithen. R Gilpin, J Scott-Mercer, R Brady, A Hunter, C McBride, K Allan, S Stewart, J Stevens (A Lewis 84), S Stevens (C Anderson 67), J Finnie & L Smith.

Hawick Royal Albert. C Saunders, L Knox, D Thomson, D Hogg, M Johnston, J Ramage (F Lane 79), A Simpson, G Summer, S Bonnar, C Rose (L Touray 71) & D Spence (D Forde 88).