Rossvale returned with a hard-earned point against a very physical Neilston side at the Brig o’ Lea Stadium on Saturday.
The draw, against a fellow promoted team from last season, dropped Gordon Moffat’s side to third in the Championship table but did preserve their unbeaten record.
In the opening minutes Neilston won two quick corners, but from the second it was Vale who nearly scored as Gary Giffin broke up the park and was only denied by a brilliant save from Marc Wilson.
Neilston then came close when Cameron Haddow headed over from close in before, at the other end, Liam McGonigle shot over from close in after good work by Craig Buchanan and Chris Zok.
It was end to end and Rossvale keeper Jamie Donnelly made a good stop from Dylan Fletcher before Giffin’s 20-yarder brought out another top corner save from Wilson.
Neilston’s Craig Patterson wriggled through the Vale defence and beat Donnelly, but David Leadbetter cleared off the line.
From the clearance Giffin broke down the left and beat two players before being crudely taken out from behind by Robbie Halliday who was shown the red card.
The second half started with Leadbetter bursting down the left and finding Zok whose cross to McGonigle found the latter’s shot being cleared off the line.
A minute later Neilston were lucky not to have Mark Blakey sent off for a tackle and follow up put McGonigle who, from the resulting short free-kick, beat two men before firing narrowly over.
Rossvale were turning up the heat now, Peter Bradley tried his luck from a free-kick 30 yards out only to see it strike a defender and go out for a corner, from which Stephen McGladrigan shot just over with Wilson well beaten.
Neilston were reduced to nine men with a couple of minutes to go when their right back took out Giffin.
After this Rossvale had Neilston pinned in their box and in the dying seconds thought they had got a deserved winner but Anton McDowall could only watch as his shot was kicked off the line.