PORT VALE:Chris Neal, Rob Taylor, Darren Murphy, John McCombe, Louis Dodds, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Ashley Vincent, Tom pope, Clayton McDonald, Chris Shuker, Richard Duffy. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Gareth Owen, Joe Davis, Ben Williamson, Kingsley James, Ryan Lloyd.
WYCOMBE WANDERERS: Nikki Bull, Danny Foster, Leon Johnson, Stuart Lewis, Bruno Andrade, Joel Grant, Charles Dunne, Dean Morgan, Jo Koffour, Josh Scowen, Gary Doherty. SUBS: Dave Winfield, Gareth Ainsworth,MattSpring, Matt Ingram, Anthony Stewart, Matt McClure, Junior Morias.
Attendance:5,303 including 232 visiting supporters
Vale made two enforced changes to the starting eleven. Sam Morsy was serving a one-match suspension and Ryan Burge recovering from a slight tweak to his medial ligament.
In came Chris Shuker and he was joined in the middle of the park by Darren Murphy, who was starting his first game since joining the club during the summer.
Injuries and suspensions limited Vale boss Micky Adams to naming just six substitutes from a possible seven.
Tom Pope headed wide for the Valiants in the opening minute of the game, but the visitors showed very early on that they were not afraid to throw plenty of bodies up front to put Vale under pressure.
Nine minutes into the game Pope’s flick on was collected by Louis Dodds, who slipped the ball through for Ashley Vincent, but ‘keeper Nikki Bull managed to block the winger’s shot.
Josh Scowen tested Chris Neal at the other end with a low drive from the edge of the box but the Vale ‘keeper got down smartly to hold comfortably.
The visitors were awarded a penalty when stand-in skipper John McCombe was adjudged to have fouled Bruno Andrade inside the box.
It seemed a little harsh from a Vale point of view, but JOEL GRANT placed the ball on the spot and although Chris Neal went the right way, he couldn’t prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net.
Bull did well to race off his line to prevent Vincent from levelling the scores, but Vale weren’t giving the Wycombe ‘keeper too much to do.
Vale did manage to put the visitors under pressure for a while, but still with no reward for their efforts against a hard working Wycombe outfit.
A clash between Wycombe’s Jo Koffour and John McCombe saw both players get a ticking off from the referee and each of them were shown a yellow card.
A one-two between Murphy and Pope saw the Vale midfielder go down inside the box, but the referee waved play on, only to stop the game moments later and give a drop ball outside the box because a Wycombe defender had been injured in the incident.
In the first minute of stoppage time the visitors were reduced to ten men when Koffour was shown a second yellow card for a wild challenge on Vale ‘keeper Chris Neal.
Darren Murphy rose to meet a 50th minute right wing corner taken by Chris Shuker but could only manager to head wide of the far post.
The visitors then went straight up the other end and Neal had to be at his very best to claw away an effort from Grant which was heading for the ‘keeper’s top left hand corner.
Vale made their first chance in the 54th minute. Darren Murphy was taken off and Ben Williamson came off the bench to give Vale another attacking option.
Five minutes later the substitution paid off when BEN WILLIAMSON collected the ball from Pope, ran into the box and stroked the ball past Bull for the equaliser.
Vale finally got their noses in front in the 66th minute when a left wing cross from Jennison Myrie-Williams was met by TOM POPE, whose powerful downward header put Vale in command.
Vale began to pile on the pressure and it looked only a matter of time before they would be rewarded with a third goal.
The ten men of Wycombe continued to battle, but the extra man looked to be making a big difference to Gareth Ainsworth’s men.
Vale made a second substitution in the 78th minute with the introduction of young winger Ryan Lloyd who came on to replace Jennison Myrie-Williams.
And three minutes later Vale completed their third change with Kingsley James coming on in place of Chris Shuker.
Vale extended their lead in the 87th minute when a cross from the right by James was met by TOM POPE and his looping header flew inside the far post for the striker’s 15th goal of the season.
The fourth official indicated there was to be four minutes of stoppage time, and in the first of thos minutes Vale extended their lead.
ASHLEY VINCENTstruck a fierce 30 yard drive which stung the fingers of Bull, who couldn’t prevent the ball from rolling over the line.