After last weeks resounding win over Buchan Stoney travelled to picturesque Aberchirder hoping to avenge to heavy early season defeats.
Prematch signs didn’t look great however with a number of players unavailable and others climbing off their sick bed.
Defending champs Deveronvale started at a furious tempo and within 10 minutes their early pressure had forged a two nil lead.
Both goals had more than a slice of misfortune about them, literally with the first, as a right wing cross was sliced into her goal by Stoneys full back.
Moments later Stoneys keeper was unlucky to push a shot back out for it to rebound off an unsuspecting striker into the goal.
Finally after the long journey Stoney started to battle back, Kennedy was unfortunate not to be able to capitalise on a poor clearance by Vale’s keeper then Townsend and Laing combined to put Porter in, but in coming inside the full back she was then crowded out on the six yard line.
Grundy in midfield had started to prevent Vale attacking from wide on their left and Townsend and Laing showed increasing maturity in battle with Vale’s captain and permitted overage players in the centre of midfield.
Smith was dominant at the back and captain Kelly made a couple of timely interceptions.
The quality of the game improved after the break with rushed clearances and snatched shots replaced by some lovely flowing football from both sides.
Simpkins impressed on her full debut with some committed play up and down the left flank and Evans and Imray had become rock solid at the back with Imray throwing herself into challenges .
However keeper Christie was still required and made an outstanding save from a low cross shot. Porter and Kennedy were starting to panic the Vale defence with some thrusting runs but the final ball from Stoney was not quite finding it’s target. Just as Stoney were buidling up a head of steam Vale appeared to kill the tie with a well taken third.
A corner was half cleared, but from the edge of the box Vale’s midfield had time to strike a viscious shot high into the net. Full marks to Stoney though as they battled back with Grundy’s trickiness and the full- on energy and craft of the midfielders Laing and Townsend starting to command a degree of possession for Stoney that was increasing by the minute.
Townsend and Porter made late runs through the Vale defence but Kennedy’s pass was blocked by a desperate late lunging interception. Then Laing burst free from close on half way and she cleverly took advantage of her teammates supporting runs to keep going to the left edge of the penalty box before arrowing a low strike into the bottom left corner.
Stoney hopes of a comeback were thwarted late on as a freekick from Vale’s Youth International Patterson; who had otherwise been kept quiet; took a wicked deflection off the defensive wall past Christie.
It is a mark of how far these young Stoney Girls have improved that they were disappointed to come away from sunny, deepest Aberdeenshire without something from a well- contested match.
TEAM: ERIN CHRISTIE, SOPHIE EVANS , DAISY SMITH , SARAH KELLY (cpt) , DANNI IMRAY, KATY TOWNSEND, ANN LAING , EMILY GRUNDY, ELISHA SIMPKINS, LISA PORTER, ARIA KENNEDY
MAGIC MOMENT - It has to be Laing’s galloping run and finish with her weaker foot.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH - The midfield duo of TOWNSEND and LAING coped well with the best central midfield opponents in the league , SMITH was consistent throughout in defence, but after a shaky first ten minutes for sheer effort and desire thereafter on her full debut youngster SIMPKINS deserves special credit.