PORT VALE:Chris Neal, John McCombe, Doug Loft, Louis Dodds, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Ashley Vincent, Tom Pope, Claton McDonald, Chris Shuker, Sam Morsy, Richard Duffy. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Darren Murphy, Joe Davis, Ben Williamson, Ryan Lloyd, Ryan Burge.
BARNET:Liam O’Brien, Jordan Brown, Clovis Kamdjo, Jon Fortune, Oliver Lee, Jon Nurse, Ricky Holmes, Ahmed Adbulla, Andy Yiadom, Freddie Warren, Anthony Edgar. SUBS: Barry Fuller, Jack Sackville, Luke Gambin, Sam Cowler, Jake Hyde, Curtis Weston, Mark Byrne
Attendance:4,608 including 166 visitors
Vale made two changes from the side that were beaten in the first round of the Capital One Cup against Burnley in midweek as they lined up to face Barnet in the opening league fixture of the season at Vale Park.
Both changes were in defence, with Richard Duffy taking the place of Adam Yates at right full back, whilst Clayton McDonald was drafted in at the expense of young centre back Joe Davis.
Vale started well, pressing hard and closing down quickly in all areas of the pitch as they looked to show the visitors they meant business.
The home side almost went in front in the 6th minute when Doug Loft played the ball inside the Sam Morsy, who drove forward before releasing a ferocious drive that goalkeeper Liam O’Brien did well to turn around the post for a corner.
The home fans didn’t have too long to wait for the opener, however, LOUIS DODDS producing a fine strike, hooking the ball inside the ‘keeper’s right hand post in the 8th minute.
Vale doubled their lead in the 19th minute after Tom Pope was upended inside the box. Up stepped JENNISON MYRIE-WILLIAMS to convert the spot kick, sending O’Brien the wrong way.
Vale were scrapping for every single ball. Despite being two goals up they refused to let up, showing why all the hard work in pre-season in so important.
Their persistence almost led o a third goal when Chris Shuker hassled unl he won the ball, slipped it to Dodds, who in turn fed Pope, but the Vale striker unfortunately fired wide.
Former Dagenham & Redbridge striker Jon Nurse almost caught Vale napping when he held off a challenge inside the Vale box before shooting into the side-netting, but it was a rare opportunity for the visitors.
With a bit more luck in front of goal, Vale could have been four or five goals up by half time, but they had to settle for just the two.
Vale were slow out of the blocks after the interval and Barnet came out with more purpose in their play, pressing at every opportunity.
It was the team in purple who were now on top, with Vale looking just a little jaded at times.
MickyAdamsmade a substitution in the 66th minute with Adams Yates replacing Richard Duffy in a straight swap.
Although Vale created several opportunities during the opening forty five minutes, chances were far and few between in the second half, but Louis Dodds went close when he turned just inside the box and fired inches wide of the upright.
Vale made their second change in the 73rd minute when Ben Williamson replaced Ashley Vincent as the manager tried to freshen things up a little.
Within two minutes Vale increased their lead. Loft picked the ball up on the left and switched it inside for TOM POPE, who moved the ball to his right foot, leaving Clovis Kamdjo on his backside before slamming the ball past O’Brien.
Vale made their third and final substitution in the 79th minute – Ryan Burge coming on to replace Chris Shuker.
What a terrific start to Vale’s League Two campaign. Let’s hope we can now get something from our next two games – away to Accrington Stanley and Morecambe.