Vale of Leithen 1

Spartans 5

David Knox

at Victoria Park

VALE manager Chris Anderson believes it will take either a miracle before Christmas or some early festive goodwill for his side to climb from the bottom of the table before the end of the year.

Having watched his team endure yet another second-half collapse on Saturday, the Victoria Park boss admits strengthening his squad is the only survival method he has left.

But with little in the way of finances he will be relying on favours from contract-free players or other clubs.

Chris said: “I can’t fault the effort of the players but we have to face it that we’re not currently good enough.

“I need to bring in a few more players to improve the squad – the problem is we are trying to raise £50,000 for floodlights and I don’t have the budget to try and attract any players.

“I’m going to need favours from clubs and players - that’s where we are right now.

“We have huge games coming up against the clubs just above us and it’s these games that will determine our season.”

Saturday couldn’t have started any worse for Anderson as Spartans went in front within 90 seconds of kick off.

Blair Atkinson raced onto a through-ball to slot home from the angle.

Vale, to their credit, rolled up their sleeves and came storming back.

Liall Smith had already headed inches wide before Alex Imlah powered his header from a freekick beyond Blair Carswell and into the far corner for the equaliser.

When you are at the foot of the table, the last thing you need is your defence gifting the opposition a goal.

But in the 19th minute Calum O’Neil’s attempted clearance skewed up in the air and Aaron Murrell tapped in the squared pass from close-range.

Only a tight off-side flag prevented Nicky Reid increasing the Spartans lead, but Vale finished the half well with Brad Rixon firing into the side-netting with only Carswell to beat, and a powerful strike from Paul Thomson was headed over the bar.

The air of optimism from the home support during the half time interval was blown out the ground by Atkinson before the hour.

The 23-year-old twice ran onto through-balls to score during a destructive ten-minute spell.

And just before he was substituted in the 64th minute Atkinson added his fourth of the game by reacting quickest after Ross Gilpin had made a wondrous double-save.

The introduction of Ryan Hall gave Vale a bit more impetus going forward in the latter stages, and while they managed to turn the tide, even with Robel Dent chasing every ball, they were unable to really trouble Carswell’s goal.

Vale of Leithen. R Gilpin, C O’Neil (C Hall 59), A Imlah, L Hall, P Thomson, G Rossi, R Dent, L Smith, C Anderson (R Higgins 64), L Ireland & B Rixon.