Vale of Leithen 2

Whitehill Welfare 2

David Knox

at Victoria Park

VALE came back from the dead during Halloween weekend to give struggling Whitehill a few more sleepless nights.

Chris Anderson’s team looked down and out at the interval having failed to record a single shot on target, going a goal down and having a player sent off.

But a courageous second half display saw the Innerleithen team twice come from behind to earn a draw.

Anderson told us: “It wasn’t pretty and I know we can play a lot better but the boys showed a lot of character.

“There was plenty of heart and spirit and I feel we deserved that point for the effort in the second half.”

Despite having only one win from their opening dozen league games, Whitehill began on the front foot.

And it took a magnificent save from stand-in keeper Kieran Beveridge to prevent Robbie Dowie netting in the third minute.

Vale looked far from comfortable at the back as passes in to the channels were leading to chances.

The opening goal came in the ninth minute with Sean Lally rising at the front post to head home an angled freekick.

The persistent drizzle and strong wind was preventing much in the way of attractive football being played.

Although Vale began to dominate possession they failed to create much other than a Ger Rossi shot which flew a foot wide and a Ross Brady freekick which was narrowly missed in front of goal by Brad Rixon.

And they were let off the hook in the 36th minute when Nicholas Faulds fired into the side netting during a goalmouth scramble.

Vale’s cause was made more difficult just three minutes before the interval when David Bonnar was shown a straight red-card for a rash challenge on livewire Kyle Mitchell.

The introduction of James Elliot at the break as well as a tinkering with formation did lead to Vale posing more problems for the visiting defence.

A Rossi drilled cross was narrowly missed by Liall Smith in the 48th minute.

And just before the hour Vale levelled with a magnificent Smith freekick from all of 30 yards out.

Welfare, though, reacted well with Mitchell and Mark Molloy stretching the home defence with their pace.

The Roswell side edged back in front in the 76th minute with substitute Liam McIntosh bursting in from the right to smack the post with a powerful shot and Mitchell tucked away the rebound.

Molloy thought he'd secured the points with six minutes remaining but his goal was ruled off side.

Vale finished strongly, forcing several corners, and in the 91st minute Paul Dickson managed to head home Smith’s deep corner to level.

The celebrations had barely died down when another Smith corner was met by Jack Blaikie but the header was cleared off the line to deny Vale the unlikliest of wins.

Vale of Leithen. K Beveridge, R Currie, R Brady (K Allan 67), P Dickson, J Blaikie, A Hunter (J Elliot 46), L Smith, D Bonnar, B Rixon, G Rossi (L Ireland 72) & M Berry.