VALE of Leven once again failed to make up ground on league leaders Wishaw, falling to their second consecutive defeat on the bounce.

Hopes for promotion had been high in the Vale camp at the start of the season but the Millburn Park side have fallen away in recent weeks, and boss Hugh Hamill admitted their promotion hopes have all but vanished following Saturday’s defeat at the hands of Forth Wanderers.

Hamill conceded: “I think promotion is probably gone now.

“There are fine margins in this league and we seemed to have faltered when the going gets tough. We had a poor start to the season, a very good run in the middle but appear to have struggled since the games have came back on.

“Luck just seems to have deserted us but that doesn’t take away from the defeat. Everyone who saw the game will tell you we were the better side but we have left our shooting boots at home.” Goals from Forth’s Chris Lennon and John Watson handed Wanderers a vital victory at Kingshill Park.

Despite a barrage of early pressure from Vale, the hosts managed to hold out in order to record their fifth straight victory and keep themselves in the promotion hunt — whilst all but killing Vale’s promotion hopes.

Scott Arthur missed the best of Vale’s early chances, blazing over the bar after Forth failed to deal with a corner.

James Crowhurst then had the opportunity to put Hamill’s side 1-0 up in 10 minutes but failed to get a clean connection on the ball, allowing the keeper to easily gather.

However, Vale’s failure to convert their chances would come back to haunt them with Lennon volleying past the sprawling Smith to hand the hosts the lead inside 28 minutes.

Despite falling behind, Vale managed to get themselves level in 43 minutes. Lee McGeachy received the ball on the left before beating his marker and firing a low strike across goal and into the bottom corner to take the sides in level at half time.

Forth looked the stronger in the second half and managed to regain the advantage in 68 minutes. Andrew Gilchrist’s high ball was met by the head of Jordan Smith and despite a solid save, John Watson was on hand to lash home the rebound from a couple of yards.

Substitute Gordon Martin should have equalised late on but with the goal gaping, he sliced the ball horribly wide.