PORT VALE:Chris Neal, John McCombe, Doug Loft, Louis Dodds, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Ashley Vincent, Tom Pope, Clayton McDonald, Chris Shuker, Sam Morsy, Richard Duffy. SUBS: Adam Yates, Rob Taylor, Gareth Owen, Sam Johnson, Ben Williamson, Ryan Lloyd, Ryan Burge
GILLINGHAM:Stuart Nelson, Matt Fish, Joe Martin, Tom Flanagan, Adam Barrett, David Wright, Chris Whelpdale, Lewis Montrose, Danny Jackman, Dean Burton, Robbie Findley. SUBS: Tommy Forecast, Callum Davies, Andrew Frampton,Charlie Allen, Ben Strevens, Danny Kefwell, Adam Birchall
ATTENDANCE:6,924 including 368 visiting supporters
Vale were unchanged for the ninth consecutive match as they lined up to face unbeaten leadersGillinghamin a top of the table clash atValePark.
There was a surprise in theGillinghamstarting eleven. Danny Kedwell, top goal scorer this season with eight goals to his name, found himself on the bench.
USAinternational Robbie Findley, who joinedGillinghamlate this week on loan fromNottinghamForeststarted for the first time.
Findley was proving a useful addition to the visitors, causing a few problems for the Vale very early in the game.
He was brought down on the edge of the box by Clayton McDonald to winGillinghama free kick in a dangerous position but thankfully it came to nothing.
There was a different scenario in the 10th minute, however, when Findley wriggled his was along the byeline before crossing for Dean Burton to plant a firm header into the back of the net to put the league leaders in front.
Jennison Myrie-Williams received the ball to feet from Richard Duffy and danced his way inside from the right flank to try a shot but he only succeeded in firing high over Stuart Nelson’s crossbar.
Vale were not looking too impressive going forward, but that was mainly because of the problems being caused by the visitors, forcing Vale on the back foot for much of the opening twenty minutes.
There didn’t seem to be any danger when Chris Whelpdale received the ball to feet on the right, but he went straight for goal and fired in a beauty from 15 yards right into the roof of the net.
A low drive from Sam Morsy took a slight deflection to send it just inches wide of the target as Vale attempted to pull a goal back.
Vale continued to push and went close again when a well-rehearsed free kick saw Tom Pope get in a header which rolled inched wide of the upright.
Lewis Montrose was yellow carded following a challenge on Vale ‘keeper Chris Neal, much to the disgust of the Vale crowd, who felt it deserved a red.
Vale continued to have a go and had the visitors back pedalling for a spell, but still they couldn’t find a way through.
The last twenty minutes of the first half belonged to Vale. Unfortunately they had nothing to show for their efforts.
Vale began the second forty-five minutes in a similar way to how they had finished the first half, with the visitors pinned deep inside their own half.
Micky Adams decided to make a substitution in the 55th minute and sent on Ryan Burge to replace Chris Shuker in the middle of the park.#
Gillingham soaked up the pressure and almost hit back with a counter attack when a 25 yard screamer from full back Fish had goal written all over it, but Neale reacted well to make a one-handed save.
Vale made a double substitution in the 64th minute. Rob taylor and Ben Williamson came on in place of Sam Morsy and Louis Dodds.
The Valiants continued to dominate and went their closest yet when Jennison Myrie-Williams’ 25 yard free kick took a slight deflection and slammed against the crossbar.
Vale were more or less parked inside theGillinghamhalf, but were finding it increasingly difficult to find the much-needed break through.
A low drive from skipper Doug Loft was held by Nelson, then Ashley Vincent cut inside from the left to fire narrowly over as Vale continued to look dangerous.
In the end it was a disappointing result, but Vale can take the positives out of the game and go into next weekend’s game againstBradfordCity.