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Deveronvale Football Club's best run of results this season has manager Craig Stewart relishing Vale's Aberdeenshire Cup semi-final at Formartine United

By Craig Christie

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'RELENTLESS' Deveronvale swept aside improving Strathspey Thistle at the weekend - can they do the same to Formartine United in midweek and reach a cup final?

Deveronvale manager Craig Stewart.
Deveronvale manager Craig Stewart.

That's the question Vale manager Craig Stewart is asking ahead of his team's Aberdeenshire Cup semi-final visit to North Lodge Park on Wednesday.

Stewart rated Vale's performance in Saturday's 3-0 win over Strathspey Thistle as their best of the season, on the back of twice fighting back from two goals down for a point against Huntly and Wick.

Even without top scorer Dane Ballard, the Banff side hit a purple patch before half time to see off Jags and take some momentum into their quest for Shire Cup glory.

"It’s as well as we’ve played," said Stewart. "We were pretty relentless and I was actually disappointed we went in only 3-0 at the break.

"We created plenty, we were lively and it just clicked for us.

"We had a number of players out as well which gave others the opportunity to come in and stake a claim and they certainly did that.

"From one to 11 and the three subs who came on, they all did their bit. The three goals were really well worked and it was really pleasing and an important three points."

Ballard pulled out late in the week with a rib injury sustained in the previous week's 2-2 draw at Wick Academy.

Grant Noble was Vale's sole attacker against Strathspey and came up with a goal.
Grant Noble was Vale's sole attacker against Strathspey and came up with a goal.

Stewart is hoping there is no crack or bruising or the striker would have to sit out tomorrow's away trip.

"That’s where we want to be as a club, getting into semi-finals and finals and again its presented us with an opportunity to get into a final," Stewart added.

"The boys won’t need any geeing up, they will be right up for it and looking forward to it.

"If we perform like we did in the first half on Saturday I think we’ve got a right good chance."

The Vale boss was delighted that Grant Noble stepped into Ballard's striking position and grabbed a goal in Saturday's win.

Equally impressive was the display of 17-year-old Max Stewart, who supported the front man and also notched in the victory.

Best display of all came from Sam Robertson, who Stewart said was "unplayable" in the first half in setting up two goals and coming close to getting one himself on several occasions.

"He was outstanding and the only thing that was missing for him was a goal. He was carrying a knock as well and we took him off into the second half."

Vale skipper Ross Aitken (left) was on target in Saturday's win. Picture: Gary Anthony..
Vale skipper Ross Aitken (left) was on target in Saturday's win. Picture: Gary Anthony..

Ross Aitken also netted as three goals in a 12-minute spell before the half time whistle rolled Strathspey over.

As well as Ballard's absence, Vale were without the previous week's goal hero Rory Davidson who had to take a PCR test prior to the weekend and wasn't able to play until the results came back.

"It came back at a minute past three - and it was negative," Stewart said. "He will be OK to come back into the squad for the cup game."

Deveronvale will be without two of their Elgin City loan players, as Jamie Tinnock serves the second game of a ban for a red card at Wick while Matt Jamieson was injured playing for City's under-20 team.

Kyle Willox is back from a spell of isolation and Robbie Allan is fighting fit after a recent injury.

The winners of Wednesday's semi progress to a final against Banks o' Dee.

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