Vale leave it late as they withstand Wishaw fightback
Rossvale boosted their promotion prospects with stoppage time victory over rivals Wishaw in a thriller at New Huntershill on Saturday.
The win pulled Vale level on points with second-placed Wishaw in the Central First Division standings.
Right from the kick-off Vale pounded the Wishaw area and, after a trademark run, Liam McGonigle laid on a great pass to Gary Giffin who shot narrowly past.
Gary McGrath had a header saved by Sandy Thomson at the second attempt and the Wishaw keeper was called into action again to keep out a Giffin effort.
Rossvale should have gone ahead on 21 minutes when McGonigle had only Thomson to beat, but mishit his shot.
However the opener came four minutes later when Giffin found himself with a chance just outside the box and he made no mistake this time.
Vale kept up the pressure and again McGonigle was through one on one with Thomson only for the keeper to knock ball out - but from the resulting corner McGonigle put Vale two up as he chipped Thomson from the edge of the box.
Chris O’Brien nearly made it 3-0 just before half-time, breaking through the Wishaw defence and trying to chip Thomson only to see the ball go narrowly past.
O’Brien threatened again on the hour with a long-range effort which Thomson saved.
A remarkable finish to the game began in the 75th minute when Wishaw made one of their rare visits inside the Vale area and won a penalty for a foul by keeper Jamie Donnelly.
His visiting counterpart Thomson ran the full length of the park to take it and sent Donnelly the wrong way to make the score 2-1.
But within a minute Rossvale restored their two-goal advantage, McGonigle setting up Liam Crichton to coolly stroked the ball past Thomson.
Wishaw were then reduced to 10 men after one of their players received a second yellow for a tackle on McGonigle in the build-up to Crichton’s goal.
But as has happened on several occasions when Rossvale have played against 10 men, they made things hard for themselves.
Wishaw got another penalty 10 minutes from time when O’Brien took the feet from a Wishaw player and again Wishaw’s keeper Thomson elected himself to take the penalty. This time Donnelly went the right way but could do nothing to keep the shot out.
Wishaw were now moving the ball about more efficiently now and five minutes later they equalised when Coffee managed to get a touch to a ball inside the box to fire high into the corner and make the scores equal at 3-3.
The ‘Vale were now in a game and pounded the Wishaw defence but just couldn’t score but Wishaw also were dangerous when they broke up the field.
With the game going from end to end the final blow was struck by Rossvale with 94 minutes on the clock when McGonigle crashed in a sensational shot from the edge of the box.
Both sides now sit six points behind leaders Benburb who lost at home.