Vale keeper thwarts Dons in his testimonial
DEVERONVALE keeper James Blanchard was in top form for the occasion of his testimonial match against Aberdeen.
Now a goalkeeping coach with the Banff club, Blanchard (33) still plays and showed his class in a 1-1 draw with his former club.
A crowd of around 400 turned out at Princess Royal Park to pay tribute to Blanchy, who won the league with Vale in 2006.
He had a spell with Aberdeen in his teens, where he was coached by the Pittodrie club's Gothenburg hero Jim Leighton.
The Dons arrived in Banff with a young team which included Banff lad Bruce Anderson, whose first team appearances included a goal against Rangers in the Premiership last season.
Anderson twice struck the Vale woodwork in the opening five minutes to show his intent of grabbing a goal back in his home town.
However it was Deveronvale who scored first through a cracking Grant Noble 20 yarder on 15 minutes.
Anderson got his goal eight minutes later, netting from the penalty spot after a foul on defender Calvin Ramsay.
Vale's Kyle Willox, who scored a spectacular winner against Elgin City on Friday, nearly repeated the feat with an overhead kick which hit an Aberdeen post before the break.
Blanchard showed his qualities after the break, denying Ramsay and Anderson in quick succession.
He went off to a warm reception in the closing stages and his replacement, Vale's regular keeper Grant Pennet produced two good saves to thwart the Dons late on.
Vale: Blanchard (Pennet), Cooper (Smith), Willox, Adams, Dunn (Beaton), Gauld, Charlesworth, Wallace (Shewan), Munro (Scott), Noble (Stewart), Robertson (Archibald).
Dons: Jackson, Ramsay (Barry), Booth (Shanks), Robertson, Bollan, Dalling (Turner), Linden (Duncan), S Ross (Hanratty), Anderson (D Dangana), Ruth (M Dangana), Mykyta (Barron).