After the humbling defeat, the week before against Johnstone Burgh Carluke were back in league action against Vale of Leven at the John Cumming Stadium. Rovers manager Mark Weir had left his players in no doubt about what was expected following the defeat the week before.
The weather on the day was benign and perfect for a game of football. Carluke had made a couple of changes with the most notable being the first start for young Keeper, Josh Kane who was replacing the injured Adam Brown. Also returning to the club on loan from Larkhall was centre-half Dominik Chiedu.
The game started quietly but with Carluke controlling the bulk of the possession. In fact, it only took till the 10th minute for the game to burst into action. A cross from Dillon Duddy was collected at the back post by James Miller just in front of his Vale of Leven marker who then collided with Miller leaving the referee with no option but to point to the spot. The resultant spot-kick was hammered home by Eddie Haley to make it 1-0 to Carluke.
Chiedu, in the Carluke defence, was deemed to have handled the ball in the area while trying to cut out a cross. Fortunately for Carluke the Vale of Leven number 10 fired the penalty over the Carluke bar.
This reprieve seemed to spur Carluke on and they started to take control of the match and created a couple of half chances before James Frame collected the ball on the left, glided past a defender, and from the byeline cut the ball back to Eddie Haley who had the easiest of tap ins to make it 2-0 to Carluke in the 27th minute.
Both Carluke Rovers fullbacks, Jonny Wilson and Jordan Lithgow were playing well and getting forward at every opportunity to support the forwards. It was one such instance that brought the third goal when a precise free kick from Jonny Wilson on the left found the head of midfielder Jordan Conlon who rose unmarked to glance a header perfectly into the bottom corner of the Leven net. This made the score 3-0 and Carluke weren’t finished there.
In fact it only took 3 more minutes for Carluke to put the game out of sight.
A long throw straight into the opposition penalty area from Chiedu was parried weakly by the Vale Keeper and enabled Jordan Lithgow to net his first of the season and Carluke’s fourth in the 33rd minute with the simplest of headers. This ended the scoring in the first half but James Miller was unlucky when he beat the offside trap but was closed down well by the Vale keeper as he bore down on goal. First half Carluke 4 Vale of Leven 0
Vale of Leven started the second half better following a verbal roasting from their manager at halftime which could be heard across the pitch. Unfortunately for them though, with no real danger, their Goalkeeper sclaffed a clearance across his own goal and waiting there to tap it into an empty net was Eddie Haley who eagerly completed his hattrick.
The game settled down at this point with half chances at both ends. The best of which fell to Leven but Carluke keeper Kane smothered at the feet of the oncoming Number 15 to keep his clean sheet intact.
In fact it took a very good passing move through the Vale of Leven team to complete the scoring. The ball was passed around in the midfield before being fed wide to James Frame whose precision cross was met at the backpost by Jordan Conlon who nodded the ball into the bottom corner of the net to finish the scoring at 6-0.
An emphatic victory for Carluke and an all-round good team performance. Next week the Rovers will play their first away game of the season when they travel to local rivals Forth Wanderers.Match Report by Stevie Kane
Photography by Kevin Ramage