Port Vale v Shrewsbury Town
Friday 17th March 2017
At Vale Park
Attendance 4,626 including 719 visiting supporters
Vale won at home for the second time in a week to give everybody a lift, though there were a few fingernails being bitten in the final minutes of the game after former Valiant Louis Dodds pulled a goal back for the visitors.
Vale had taken a two goal lead in the second half when first Sam Foley and then Ryan Taylor gave Michael Brown’s men a two-goal cushion.
But a sublime strike by Dodds ensured a nervous finish. Thankfully Vale managed to hang on for what could be three very valuable points in their quest to remain in League One.
Vale made four changes for what was another big game for the club, with visitors Shrewsbury Town five points clear of Michael Brown’s side.
In came Deniz Mehmet in goal, replacing Leo Fasan, and there were returns to the starting line-up for both Remie Streete and Kiko, both of whom came on as substitutes against Northampton in midweek, the two of them replacing the injured Kjell Knops and Scott Tanser.
Another new face to the starting eleven was Ryan Taylor, who left the club in January after an initial spell from October to January, but returned to Vale Park this week.
Vale started the game on the front foot and went close on six minutes when Sam Foley’s header struck the upright, but it wouldn’t have counted anyway as the linesman’s flag was raised for offside.
The home side were outrunning, out thinking and outplaying the Shrews in the early stages of the game, but needed to make sure they kept things tight at the back and be aware of any possible breakaway.
Vale were forced to make a substitution in the 16th minute when Callum Guy limped off – his place in midfield being taken by Billy Reeves.
Vale ought to have taken the lead just two minutes later when Chris Eagles took control of the ball in the middle of the park and played in JJ Hooper, but the striker shot straight at the ‘keeper.
It was inevitable that the visitors would have a spell where they looked like they could cause Vale a few problems, but the home side remained vigilant and well-organised.
Despite enjoying a spell where they saw a lot of the ball, Shrewsbury were unable to break down a stubborn, hard-working Vale defence.
Alex Rodman fired a warning on 39 minute when he was allowed the time to shoot, albeit from 25 yards, but he didn’t manage to keep his shot on target, putting his shot wide of Mehmet’s left hand upright.
Vale made their second change ta the beginning of the second half. With Anton Forrester unable to continue, he was replaced up front by Dan Turner.
The conditions weren’t exactly conducive to goo flowing football, with a strong wind and constant rain, but neither side will have been too bothered about that, with the result the only thing that mattered.
Vale seemed to have adapted the better of the two to the conditions, but still gave Shrews’ ‘keeper Jayson Leutwiler little to do.
The same had to be said for Vale debutant ‘keeper Deniz Mehmet, however, who, apart from a few kicks didn’t see too much of the ball..
GOAL:Vale finally broke the deadlock in the 67th minute when Vale were awarded a disputed corner kick. Ryan Taylor took the flag kick on the Vale left and SAM FOLEY duly headed home to break the deadlock.
GOAL:Barely two minutes later Vale increased their lead when RYAN TAYLOR carried on where he left off. After scoring in his last match for the club, he drove the ball low inside the ‘keeper’s right hand post from 18 yards.
GOAL:The visitors made a double substitution and minutes later they pulled one back when Shrews substitute Louis Dodds struck with a quality strike from all of 25 yards against his former club.
Vale made their third and final change six minutes from time when the tiring Eagles was replaced by Sam Kelly.
There were a few nervous moments for the Vale in the final minutes of the game, including four minutes of added time, but thankfully Vale held on for the win.
PORT VALE: Deniz Mehmet, Ben Purkiss, Remie Streete, Nathan Smith, Kiko, Ryan Taylor, Callum Guy, Sam Foley, JJ Hooper, Chris Eagles, Anton Forrester.
SUBS:Leo Fasan, Olamide Shodipo, Paulo Tavares, Billy Reeves, Sam Kelly, Dan Turner, Rigino Cecilia
SHREWSBURY TOWN: Jayson Leutwiler, Joe Riley, Mat Sadler, Shaun Whalley, Junior Brown, Bryn Morris, Gary Deegan, Aristote Nsiala, Alex Rodman, Tyler Roberts, Stefan Payne. SUBS: Stephen Humphreys, Louis Dodds, Ryan yates, Gary Deegan, AJ Leitch-Smith, Mark Halstead, Adam El-Abd