McMillan winner caps fine comeback to put Vale into final

Vale of Girvan 4 Glenburn MW 3

IN one of their best results since they reformed, Vale of Girvan overcame Glenburn Miners Welfare in the LM Survey Cup semi-final with a last-minute John McMillan penalty last Sunday at New Pebble Park, Annbank.

Right from the kick off Vale looked strong, with some fine work down the flanks from both Bob Ashworth and Kenny Gilchrest putting Glenburn under severe pressure at times.

Young Liam Wright and David Bryce both came close to opening the scoring before Glenburn even got a touch of the ball.

But Glenburn fought back into the game and they opened the scoring from their very first effort after 25 minutes after a mistake from young Adam Stevenson let in Robert Paterson, who calmly slotted home.

However, Vale’s heads never dropped and they continued to play some lovely football which saw John McMillan picking up the ball at the edge of the 18-yard box.

McMillan spotted Ashworh loitering with intent inside the box and a slide rule pass to him allowed Ashworth to smash the ball into the top corner just before the break.

Vale started the second half very slowly, allowing Glenburn’s Craig Morrison to put Glenburn back into the lead after 50 minutes.

Things got worse for the Vale two minutes later after a mistake from keeper McNeilly allowed Robert Patterson to put the home side two goals clear.

But Vale kept and pressed forward looking to haul themselves back into the game. Nathan Smith fired a shot into the box on the hour mark, which hit Glenburn’s Craig McPike hand, leaving referee Swanson no choice but to award the Vale a penalty. John McMillan calmly stroked the ball into the net to bring the deficit back to the single goal. And, just five minutes later, the game was level when Stevenson made up for his earlier mistake, waltzing past three Glenburn players to score.

Glenburn were stung into action by that goal and they pressed forward in numbers, but some great work at the back from Hyslop, Stevenson, O’Donnell and Fletcher kept them at bay.

With just two minutes left, Davie Bryce broke into the Glenburn box and was brought down by Ryan Douglas. Once again, John McMillan was calmness personified as he put the Vale ahead for the first time, although he was booked for celebrating the goal that was to send the Vale into the final against Hurlford at Auckinleck Talbot’s Beechwood Park.

Manager Gordon McIlwraith told the Gazette: “I am so proud of the lads. We were playing a top Premier League team and this is probably the best result for me since I took the Vale over at the start of the season.”

Vale of Girvan: McNeilly, A Hyslop, Stevenson, Fletcher, O’Donnell (capt), Gilchrest, McMillan, Smith, Ashworth, Bryce, Wright. Subs N Hyslop, S Brown, A Wason, M Galloway.

Vale of Girvan are looking for new committee members. Anyone interested should contact John Stewart at the Victory Bar.