Vale of Leithen 1-1 Tynecastle
(Match abandoned at half time)

By Callum Hodgson
at Victoria Park

VALE of Leithen’s Football Nations Qualifying Cup quarter final with Tynecastle ended prematurely on Saturday, as the referee abandoned the game at half time.

Both teams managed to grab a goal during the entertaining 45 minutes, only for the strikes to be rendered meaningless by whistler Michael Addy, who deemed the pitch to be unplayable at the interval.

The Victoria Park turf was judged to be satisfactory before the game, but during the first half, large parts of the soft surface were kicked up.

And now the two sides will have to battle it out again, the last thing the two bosses needed with their busy schedules.

Vale gaffer Chris Anderson said: “Calling the game off is up to the referee.

“He thought the pitch was going to get worse as the game went on, which is pretty inevitable.

“I did think it was a bit strange though. 

“I think the world has gone a little bit soft on these sorts of things. It’s a muddy pitch and I’m sure we would have been able to carry on with it.

“We’ll have to do it all over again now and we’ve got to try and find somewhere to fit it in.”

The home side started the game with frenetic pace and opened the scoring in the first minute.

Sean Stewart burst past Ryan Ferguson on the right and played the ball to Dachi Khutsishvili who slotted home.

It was a fantastic start for the Innerleithen side, but it didn’t last long.
Eleven minutes later Stewart Adams grabbed an equaliser at the back post after some great attacking football by Lewis Grant and Shane Costelloe.

But Vale did come close to retaking the lead soon after. Ainslie Hunter saw his shot go narrowly wide and Aaron Lewis had a strike saved by Ross McMullen in the Tynecastle goal.

The visitors also created chances through Robbie McIntyre, but none good enough to challenge Kieran Beveridge.

Vale kept pressing though, and should have been 2-1 up when Stewart drove into the box, but Niall Kelly made an excellent goal-saving block.

A few minutes before half time/full time, referee Addy called both managers over to raise his concerns about the pitch, but let the game run.

And he would have had a huge decision to make at the break had the home side regained the advantage one minute before the whistle.

Kerr Allan had his shot saved by the keeper’s legs and Lewis fired the rebound over.

As the managers were giving their team talk, the ref and his assistants, Iain Gallacher and Niamh Westwood, came back out to carry out an inspection, with all three believing it was too much of a risk to continue.

On the match, Vale boss Anderson said: “We made a really good start. 
“It was a sloppy goal to concede, but apart from that I thought it was actually a really entertaining game, which could have gone either way.”

Vale: K Beveridge, A Lewis, R Brady, A Smith, C McBride, J Blaikie, B Raiker, A Hunter, D Khutsishvili, K Allan, S Stewart. Subs not used: J Scott-Mercer, A Martin, M Graham, L Smith, S Lynch.