Vale of Leithen 5

Edusport Academy 4

David Knox

at Victoria Park

RELIEVED Vale boss Chris Anderson ended one of the longest weeks of his managerial career with a smile.

But the Victoria Park gaffer had to endure an edge-of-his-seat second half before his players finally began 2019 with a 5-4 win.

Anderson was red carded the previous Saturday during his team’s 6-0 derby drubbing by neighbours Gala Fairydean Rovers.

And he was in need of a pick-me-up more than most to get rid of the early January blues.

Following Saturday's nine-goal thriller he told us: “I asked the players for a reaction after last week and I got it.

“Despite what happened at Gala the spirit was pretty good in the camp during training, but another defeat today would been pretty difficult to come back from.

“We started really well and should have had the game won before half time.

“It became a bit nervy in the second half but we pulled through and I’m really pleased with the points.”

Vale didn’t look like a team lacking in confidence as they laid siege on the Edusport goal from the off.

Only fine saves from Solal Pelmard-Bassi prevented Marc Berry, Brad Rixon and Sean Stewart finding the net during an energetic opening quarter hour.

But there was little the French keeper could do to stop Berry’s powerful shot in the 18th minute from breaking the deadlock.

Just two minutes later Rixon raced onto a through ball to pick his spot and make it 2-0.

Approaching the half hour Edusport were reduced to 10 men as Theo Couve pulled back Stewart inside the area.

But Bassi kept the visitors in the game by saving the resultant penalty from Stewart.

And his heroics were rewarded on the stroke of half time when Craig McBride headed into his own net from a Scott McGlauglin cross.

The goal lifted 10-man Edusport and Lewis Gamble should have levelled six minutes into the second half when firing wide from 10 yards out.

Vale restored the cushion when Ryan Currie headed Stewart’s cross home to make it 3-1 in the 55th minute.

But almost straight from the restart substitute Alex Abadie’s glancing header reduced the deficit to one once more.

Max Oulhalo prevented Berry scoring again for the home team with a goalline clearance on 66 minutes.

And just a minute later Matthew Flynn expertly finished a counter attack to draw the visitors level.

Vale needed a response and it came in the 70th minute from Liam Ireland.

The towering midfielder unleashed a terrific 25-yard shot that flew beyond the keeper and into the top corner.

The points were all but secured in the 78th minute as Berry burst past his marker to round Bassi and square for Rixon to net from in front of goal.

There was still one last twist as Jean Guy Lucas netted from a counter attack in the 90th minute but Vale held on during the six minutes of stoppage time for the much-needed win.

Vale of Leithen: R Gilpin, M Brogan, R Brady, A Imlah, C McBride, G Rossi, R Currie (A Hunter 76), M Berry, B Rixon, S Stewart & L Ireland (J Smith 85).