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Saturday Sport on 9th July with Derek Hall’s report on Dalkeith Thistle v Vale of Leithen

todayJuly 10, 2022


Dalkeith Thistle 0-4 Vale of Leithen

A cracking day at Dalkeith Campus as Dalkeith Thistle hosted Vale of Leithen in an interesting looking friendly as the build up to the season kick off on July 30th continues. Within a minute, Dan Garvey tried a speculative overhead kick from 10 yards for Vale and it didn’t miss by all that much. Thistle moved to the other end and Jordan Mackie fired in a drive along the ground which Vale keeper Dean Beveridge was right behind and the chances kept coming as Dylan Weldon brought Thistle’s trialist keeper Young into action for the first time. Kyle Mitchell had a go from 20 yards for the visitors after seven minutes, but he didn’t get the contact he wanted and the Thistle keeper wasn’t seriously troubled. Two minutes later, Callum Mitchell fired over a decent cross which just had too much on it for Garvey as Vale continued to make the early running. The first big chance of the game arrived on eleven minutes as a lovely diagonal pass from Archie Rose found Owen Renton who cut into the Thistle box and his fourteen yard drive was beaten away by keeper Young and Weldon turned the loose ball wide of the target. Rose tried a similar pass a couple of minutes later but Young was quickly out of his box to clear. Thistle’s trialist left winger tried a long range effort after thirteen minutes which Vale keeper Beveridge took on the first bounce. Weldon then looked to be moving strongly forward for Vale but a clip on the heels from Thistle’s Greig Callaghan halted the move and brought him a rebuke from referee Steven King. Rose sent the set piece into the Thistle box where C. Mitchell rose to head the ball down and Weldon probably should have done better than clip the ball over the top from around seven yards. However Vale continued to dominate both possession and pressure and Weldon released Renton down the flank only for Callaghan to make an excellent interception from his cut back which saw the ball run through to his keeper. On 23 minutes, Ross Aitchison picked out Davidson with a good back post cross but the header from the Thistle centre forward was comfortably gathered by keeper Beveridge. However it was the visitors who deservedly opened the scoring on 28 minutes as Weldon sent over an inviting cross which took the keeper out and K. Mitchell cushioned home an eight yard half volley with his instep for a lead which few present would have grudged them at that stage. However Thistle almost levelled on the half hour as the trialist left winger cut in from the left flank and his stinging drive was beaten away by Vale keeper Beveridge and when Jack Morgan got the loose ball back on target, a Vale head got in way to turn the ball behind. The resultant corner saw Taylor Rogan climb highest and his reaction suggested he felt he should have done better than send his header over the top. Another Garvey drive went wide of the Thistle goal and both teams were certainly trying to be positive in their play. There was a let off for the home side seven minutes from the break as Rogan misjudged a headed passback in the breeze and Garvey nipped in and dropped the ball back for Renton to set up Rose whose 22 yard drive was a yard over. A minute from the break, Thistle’s trialist winger again made progress down the left flank and he sent a flashing angled drive just wide of the far post and Davidson was very close to getting a vital touch too, but at the break it was the Borderers who held a slim lead and on balance of play, it was certainly merited.
A minute in, K. Mitchell knocked the ball down for Garvey who sent Weldon through but Rogan was across for Thistle and showed good body strength to do just enough to put the Vale centre forward off balance and the shot went wide. On 48 minutes, a cross into the Vale penalty area caused a bit of mayhem and Thistle half time substitutes Cammy Miller and Dylan Greig both had efforts from around six yards blocked before the visitors defence scrambled the ball clear. Renton saw Thistle keeper Young gather an angled drive and then a Connor Dyet cross just failed to find Weldon at the far post as Vale were once again on the front foot. With 53 minutes gone, Vale came within inches of doubling their advantage when a Rose free kick into the Thistle box was cleared out to Dyet and he hammered in a controlled low 30 yard first time drive which smashed off the base of the Thistle post and keeper Young reacted well to turn Weldon’s follow up effort behind. However a couple of minutes later, Thistle also struck the woodwork as Jack Burrows found Greig and his pass to Mackie saw the Thistle no7 move forward before firing in a 20 yard drive which took a deflection and looped up onto the top of the crossbar with Vale keeper Beveridge rooted to the spot. The corner saw Michael Lennie send his header over, but Thistle were now showing a bit more at the top end of the park. On 57 minutes, K. Mitchell and Renton combined to set up Lewis Grahame and his 24 yard drive was a yard or so over the junction of the Thistle post and bar. A minute later, the home side were again only inches from an equaliser as Morgan raced down the right and his inch perfect cross found Greig who glanced his near post header across the face of goal and just wide of the far post. Thistle were having a decent spell and Miller arrived at the far post but saw the ball slip off his boot and away from goal but in truth, it was a difficult ball to take. On 64 minutes, Lennie was up again at a corner but he was just leaning back on the ball and the six yard header went high and cleared the Vale bar. Garvey drove wide after a nice one two on the edge of the Thistle penalty area and then Davidson forced his way into the Vale box but Dyet was there to get the ball away. However with 20 minutes remaining, Vale found the second goal when Grahame got the ball inside the Dalkeith box and his cutback found Tom Gill whose effort was blocked but ran back to Grahame and he wasted no time in placing the ball high into the net from around eight yards. With a quarter of an hour remaining, Mark Deya got himself right into the Dalkeith box with a forceful run, but Lennie was there with an excellent intervention for the home side. A minute later, a diagonal pass saw K. Mitchell hammer in an angled half volley which Thistle keeper Young did really well to turn behind and as Vale again upped the tempo, Callum Mitchell headed wide from eight yards. Eight minutes from time, Dyet of Vale managed to get himself cautioned by referee King for arguing over a nothing throw in in midfield, just unfathomable ! Six minutes from time, Vale put the game to bed as another diagonal ball picked out K. Mitchell who took a touch before driving low on the angle under the keeper from around eight yards. Dalkeith weren’t going quietly and Darren Leslie wasn’t far away with a low 28 yard drive which slipped past the base of the post. However a minute from time, the tiring home defence were caught a bit flat footed as Weldon beat offside trap and strode through before calmly placing the ball into the corner for number four to finish the contest. A good workout for both sides and despite the scoreline, Dalkeith will doubtless be encouraged by a much better second half showing against a side who will be playing a tier above them next season. Vale believe they have a good vibe for the coming season, they certainly have plenty pace in forward areas and their manager Michael Wilson made the point to me at the end that ‘This is a different Vale this season !’

Written by: Russell Aitken

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