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Deveronvale 0-2 Huntly
Scorers: Duncanson 23, Ingram 37
Vale's inability to create scoring opportunities and ultimately put the ball in the net was there for all to see as they crashed at Princess Royal Park for the fourth match running with lowly neighbours Huntly taking full advantage as they grabbed the opportunity to take an unlikely three points back up the A97.
Former Banffers striker Robbie Duncanson was arguably the best performer on the park and netted the opener with a dipping set-piece before setting up Lewis Ingram for the second before half-time and although Steve Dolan's side still had forty-five minutes to get something from the match they failed miserably with another lacklustre performance on home soil.
Yet another central defensive change for Dippy's injury plagued side saw Liam Forbes partner Steven Fraser in the absence of injured Scott Fraser and the unavailability of Lukas Krobot although Graeme Watt returned to the Banff side starting eleven at the expense of the impressive Chris Blackhall who was also unavailable due to work commitments.
A lovely day met the players as Huntly got things underway in the September sunshine with Robbie Duncanson warning his former employers that the visitors meant business when he drove a deep free-kick onto the top of James Blanchard's crossbar while Vale's response was a Steven Davidson angled header which just missed the far post off Lewis Dunbar's precise cross.
Graeme Watt very nearly celebrated his return to Dippy's side when he was picked out by Paul Sutherland before dropping his shoulder and going for goal but an important interception from Sean Webb deep inside the Strathbogie penalty area saw the effort blocked for a fruitless Scott Begg corner.
Huntly grabbed the lead midway through the half and it was Vale old boy Robbie Duncanson who won a free-kick out on the left edge of the penalty box before curling the ball high over James Blanchard from the resultant award, the ex Nairn and Clach striker netting from what looked like an impossible angle.
Steven Davidson got the slightest of touches with a close-range header but Huntly custodian Andrew Pennycook was equal to the effort before Dennis Wyness watched his headed attempt at the opposite end drift wide with Duncanson again in the thick of the action as he created the opportunity with good upper body strength and great awareness.
Substitute Lewis Ingram volleyed a second for the visitors eight minutes from the interval leaving Vale staring at yet another home defeat with the midfield guilty of poor coverage around their own penalty area whilst the goal came out of a long ball out of defence from the visitors which the home defence simply failed to deal with HT.
A Gary Harris strike on target within sixty-seconds of the restart may have been on the back of Steve Dolan's half-time team talk although Robbie Duncanson had other ideas and volleyed a fierce effort over the top at the St Andrews end following a set-piece which was only partially cleared by the Reds defence.
Vale's best opportunity of the second period probably came when Steven Davidson was tripped on the edge of the area and although Davidson's initial strike was partially cleared the rebound fell to Kevin Souter who saw his low 20-yarder strike bounce off the outside of the post on its way beyond Andrew Pennycook and out of play.
Good feet from Paul Sutherland saw the young forward make good progress into the final third but his attempt on goal was well wide and at the opposite end substitute Neale Allan very nearly made it three after a fine passing move around the Vale penalty area by the buoyed Strathbogie outfit.
Graeme Watt ran at full-back Alex Thoirs but his low cross was thumped clear while in a similar move ten minutes later saw Paul Sutherland getting on the end of Watty's centre but this time Andrew Pennycook went to ground to deny the Vale number seven with his legs.
Craig Cowie was red carded with six minutes remaining for a reckless challenge on Philip Duncan to sum up an other very poor day at the office for Steve Dolan and his out of sorts players.
Vale: Blanchard, Dunbar, *77 Aitken, Begg, Steven Fraser, Forbes, Sutherland, *4 Souter (Duguid 75), Davidson (*84 Cowie 59), Harris (Ross 67), Watt
Subs: Manson, Patterson (gk)
Huntly: Pennycook, Webb, Duncan (Burr 88), *49 Ritchie (Allan 63), Croll, Thoirs, Wyness, Napier, *68 Murison, Naismith (Ingram 24), Duncanson
Subs: Grant (T), McDonald, Morris, Hodge, Ingram
Manager: Doug Baxter
Referee: David Watt
Vale Stats:
Efforts On: 3
Efforts Off: 7
Woodwork: 1
Corners: 3
Offside: 2
Overhead Conditions: Sunny
Playing Surface: Good
Temp at KO: 19 Deg C
Last Season: 0-0
Reporter: Neil Montgomery
Reported LastEdited: 10-Sep-2016
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