Vale of Leithen 4

Cumbernauld Colts 4

David Knox

at Victoria Park

VALE twice gave up three-goal leads on Wednesday evening to drop the two points they needed in their bid for survival.

And they will now have to hope Cowdenbeath can upset the odds in the Pyramid play-off against Cove Rangers.

An injury time equaliser by Cumbernauld's Sean Brown means the Victoria Park side can't now catch Dalbeattie Star in third-bottom.

Vale boss Chris Anderson is only too aware if Cove crack Cowdenbeath over the forthcoming two-legs, leading to the Blue Brazil dropping into the Lowland League, his team will be relegated to the East of Scotland.

He told us: "This was a devastating blow.

"We lost one defender after another to injury as the game went on and it cost us.

"Three of our four defenders had to come off and we were playing a lot of boys out of position towards the end.

"The game has been a bit like our season - we're good when we have everyone fit but as soon as we start losing players it costs us.

"All we can do now is hope Cowdenbeath do us a massive favour and keep us in the Lowland League."

Three points on Wednesday evening would have set up a winner-takes-all clash with Dalbeattie at Islecroft Stadium this weekend.

And during an impressive first half at Victoria Park it looked as though Vale were going to play themselves out of trouble.

Kerr Allan fired home an opener after only four minutes.

And in the 20th minute, as Vale continued to impress with their pace and movement, Jordan Finnie took advantage of some hesitant defending to rattle in a second.

The ever-dangerous Sean Stewart skipped away to fire in a third with just five minutes remaining of the half.

At 3-0 up the Vale supporters could be excused for turning one eye to Saturday's match at Star.

But they were given a rude reminder when Colts striker Sean Brown headed home a corner at the back post in first-half stoppage time.

Vale restored their three-goal cushion just six minutes into the second period when Craig McBride prodded the ball over the line following a goalmouth scramble from a corner.

With several of his starting players having just returned from injury Anderson was being forced into clearing his bench as recurring niggles crept in.

And it all started to become a bit nervy when Brown took one of the growing chances the visitors were creating just before the hour.

Centre-half McBride had followed full-back Jonny Scott-Mercer into the treatment room before Michael Wallace made it 4-3 with quarter of an hour remaining.

Even when the manager had to deputise for crocked Jack Blaikie with 10 minutes remaining it looked as though Vale could hang on.

But in the 93rd minute, and with the last kick of the match, Brown finished off a counter attack to level the match.

Vale of Leithen: R Gilpin, J Scott-Mercer (B Raiker 24), T Patterson, S Lynch, J Blackie (C Anderson 80), C McBride (A Martin 64), L Smith, A Hunter, K Allan, S Stewart & J Finnie.