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GREAT DANE DOES THE TRICK AND TAKES HOME THE MATCH BALL (ARD)
 
Deveronvale 5-0 Rothes
 
Scorers: Ballard 12, 15, 38, Blackhall 44, Watt 77
 
Dane Ballard netted a first-half hat-trick as Vale got back to winning ways with a comfortable victory over Speysiders Rothes. Ballard's treble was the first from a Deveronvale player since Craig Simpson did likewise at Turriff in 2013 and it saw the Banff club climb the league table two places.
 
Chris Blackhall made the second half merely a training exercise for Steve Dolan's side when he made it four seconds before the break while captain for the day Graeme Watt completed the rout midway through an uneventful second forty-five with a crisp finish from 16-yards.
 
Ross Aitken and Graeme Watt returned to the homeside's starting eleven at the expense of unavailable pair Liam Forbes and Scott Begg, Watty captaining the side in place of the suspended Begg linked up with Chris Blackhall in centre mid while Aitken slotted in at left-back after a few weeks out with a knee injury.
 
New signing from Buckie Iain Macrae went straight into former Vale midfielder Fraser Bremner's visiting eleven as they looked to complete a double over his old employers after a narrow victory at Mackessock Park back in August.
 
Blair McDonald's body check on Callum Murray went unpunished by referee Will Smith before Craig MacMillan had the first opportunity of the encounter and was only inches from putting the visitors in front, the much-travelled striker getting in behind Steven Fraser but just missing out with a glancing header off Callum McIntosh's diagonal centre.
 
Vale grew into the fixture though and grabbed the lead with a well-taken counter after twelve minutes although Daniel Smith's misplaced pass to Grant Noble set up the opportunity. Noble was patient before picking out the run Dane BALLARD and the number nine took his chance with great composure.
 
Three minutes later and the Banffers doubled their advantage, Scott Davidson's weak clearance was picked up by Lewis Dunbar and the right-back's first-time ball into the Rothes danger area was firmly headed beyond Sean McIntosh by Dane BALLARD for his fifth of his short-lived Vale career.
 
On the half-hour Grant Noble was denied when in one-on-one on Sean McIntosh, the keeper coming off on top on this occasion as he went to ground to thwart the Vale striker after a decent ball in-behind from the on-loan Callum Murray.
 
Noble had another opportunity minutes later but skied Paul Sutherland's cut-back over the top from a great scoring position as Vale looked to put the game to bed ahead of the half-time cuppa.
 
With seven minutes of the half remaining Dane BALLARD did something that hasn't happened at Princess Royal Park for quite a long time, the striker completing a first-half hat-trick. Paul Sutherland swung a hopeful ball towards the Rothes 18-yard box and the Vale number nine planted a soft header into the bottom corner of the net which Sean McIntosh may feel he should have done better with.
 
Dippy's boys were in full Christmas flow now and made it four before the break, Chris BLACKHALL  dropping his shoulder 20-yards out before finding the net with a low strike which seemed to take a slight deflection as zipped past the despairing Sean McIntosh. HT
 
Rothes tried hard to make a game of it whilst attempting to restore some pride but lacked a little quality going forward while Graeme Watt very nearly made it five at the St Andrews end when he connected first time with Grant Noble's off the training ground corner only for Sean McIntosh to make a fine stop low to his right.
 
The encounter wasn't much of a spectacle until Graeme WATT lightened things up for the Valley Faithful midway through the half, Lewis Dunbar fought well to win a lose ball before crossing from the right and as the ball was half cleared skipper Watty drove it into low the net with Iain Macrae's attempted block only helping it on its way past the helpless Sean McIntosh.
 
The last chance of the match fell to hat-trick hero Dane Ballard and although he showed good feet as he drifted beyond his marker and into the Rothes penalty area Sean McIntosh got down well to turn the Vale striker's effort around the post for a fruitless flag-kick. 
 
Vale: Pennet, Dunbar, Aitken, Blackhall (Manson 80), Fraser, Davidson, Sutherland (Ross 65), Watt, Ballard (Rae 80), Noble, Murray
Subs: Manson, Rae, Souter, Patterson (gk)
 
Rothes: McIntosh, McDonald, 27* Davidson, Macrae, Main, Smith, Mcintosh (Stewart 67), Jennings, McIntosh (McNamara 54), MacMillan (Gauld 81), Henderson
Subs: Johnston, Stables, Sharp, Riddoch
Manager: Fraser Bremner
 
Referee: Will Smith
 
Vale Stats:
Efforts On: 8
Efforts Off: 3
Woodwork: 0
Corners: 4
Offside: 4
Overhead Conditions: Calm
Playing Surface: OK
Temp at KO: 9 deg C
Last Season: 3-0
 
Reporter: Neil Montgomery
Reported LastEdited: 17-Dec-2016
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