Huddersfield Town v Port Vale
Saturday 7th January 2017
At the John Smith's Stadium
Emirates FA Cup 3rd Round
Attendance 11,715 including 1,508 visiting supporters
Vale went out of the FA Cup at the John Smith’s Stadium after conceding a brace to Jack Payne, with further goals from Kasey Palmer and substitute Harry Bunn.
Despite a spirited defensive display against a side riding high in the Championship, with a realistic chance of playing in the Premier League next season, there was little Vale could do to prevent defeat.
Vale always knew they would be up against it, and without the fresh blood Caretaker Manager Michael Brown had been hoping to introduce, they faced a huge task to get anything out of the game.
Brown named the same starting eleven for the third game in a row as Vale faced Championship outfit Huddersfield Town in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup.
The only changes for the Valiants came on the bench, with Dan Turner cup-ties after playing for Kidsgrove Athletic in the qualifying rounds, and both Kiko and Chris Mbamba missing out.
The three players to be included in the squad in their place were Paulo Tavares, Gezim Shalaj and Anton Forrester, the striker returning from injury in following a spell out in the treatment room.
It was very much a case of getting bodies behind the ball in the opening minutes of the game as the home side passed the ball around well, looking for any opening that may present itself.
That there were few of those that threatened Jak Alnwick’s goal was down to the willingness of Michael Brown’s players to put in a shift, remain tight and well organised.
It soon became obvious – if it wasn’t beforehand – that Vale needed to be patient, keep their discipline and await any half chances that may come their way.
Vale almost got caught out on a couple of occasions, but quickly regrouped, and when they did threaten midway through the first half Jak Alnwick managed the claw the ball away. He stretched to his left to get to Terries’ defender Mark Hudson’s header and appeared to collide with his left hand post.
A stretcher was called for and indeed two stretchers were dispatched into the Vale goalmouth, but with Miguel Santos preparing to take Alnwick’s pace, the Vale ‘keeper was able to continue.
Alnwick then pulled off an impressive save in the 26th minute, diving to his right to push a powerful 25 yard drive from Joe Lolley around the upright, to prove he was still up to the job, despite his earlier mishap.
GOAL:Two minutes later, however, Alwick was beaten when a low angled drive from Jack Payne went beyond the reach of the Vale ‘keeper and in via his right hand post.
Huddersfield’s Phillip Billing threatened on a couple of occasions with long range efforts, forcing Alwick to be on his toes, but his efforts were wide of the target.
There were concerns for the Vale in the 38th minute when central defender Remie Streete was forced to leave the field of play after going down injured and Vale played on for a short while with ten men before Sam Hart came off the bench.
In first half stoppage time the home side ought to have doubled their advantage when Kasey Palmer left Nathan Smith for dead, only to blaze his shot over the crossbar when he looked certain to score.
Despite trailing at the interval, Michael Brown will have been reasonably happy with his side’s first half performance against a very good Championship side, but the next forty-five minutes were going to be crucial.
Vale, as expected, began the second half on the back foot with the home side looking to add to their tally early on in the half.
Huddersfield did have the ball in the net in the 53rd minute but the linesman flag rightly signalled an offside decision and the ‘goal’ didn’t count.
Vale made a substitution on 58 minutes, when Jak Anlick, clearly struggling after taking another knock, was replaced in goal by Miguel Santos.
The game continued to follow a similar pattern to the opening forty-five minutes, with Vale soaking things up, getting bodies behind the ball and hoping to carve out the odd opening at the other end.
There was a half chance for Vale to get themselves on level terms when Rigino Cicilia chested the ball down for Jerome Thomas to have a crack on the volley, but he lifted his shot well over the crossbar.
Then at the other end Sam Hart was on hand to clear off the line with Santos beaten, as the home side upped the pressure again.
GOAL:Then moments later, in the 73rd minute, Kasey Palmer clipped a curling low shot from the edge of the 18 yard box beyond the reach of the diving Santos.
Vale made a further substitution in the 75thminute when the tired legs of Jerome Thomas took a deserved rest when the winger was replaced by Anton Forrester.
GOAL(S):Vale were then hit with two goals within the space of four minutes as first Harry Bunn netted in the 80th minute, then Jack Payne rubbed further salt in Vale’s wound with his second and Huddersfield’s fourth.