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22:01 10th November 2012
By  Dave Johnson

SOUTHEND UNITED: Paul Smith, Sean Clohessy, Ryan Cresswell, Michael Timlin, Kevan hurst, Mark Phillips, Britt Assombalonga, Gavin Tomlin, Chris Barker, Marc Laird, Tamika Mkandawire.
SUBS: Daniel Bentley, Freddy Eastwood, Barry Corr, Luke Prosser, Ryan Leonard, John Spicer, Alex Woodyard
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Adam Yates, Rob Taylor, Louis Dodds, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Ashley Vincent, Tom Pope, Clayton McDonald, Joe Davis, Ben Williamson, Ryan Burge.
SUBS: Sam Johnson, Chris Shuker, Sean McAllister, Kingsley James, Ryan Lloyd, Richard Duffy
Attendance: 4,876 including 182 visiting supporters

Vale picked up a point in a 0-0 draw at Roots Hall but the game was a long way from being a bore draw, with both sides going for the win right from the off.

The two goalkeepers on show were each kept busy throughout the game and the pair of them earned top marks with impressive displays.

Vale opened the game the stronger of the two sides and had the ball in the net on 17 minutes when Ashley Vincent netted from close range following a knock down from Tom Pope.

The referee had unfortunately spotted the use of a hand and he promptly ruled the goal out and flashed a yellow card at the Vale winger – his fifth of the season, meaning he will be suspended for the York game.

Gavin Tomlin was causing the Vale defence plenty of problems and Chris Neal had to get down smartly to his right to make an excellent save to keep out a low 18 yard drive from him in the 18th minute.

Two minutes later Tomlin was at it again, this time cutting in from the right before hitting the outside of Chris Neal’s left upright from close range.

Williamson was denied at the other end after being played in by Pope, when Shrimpers’ ‘keeper Paul Smith managed to get a touch to deny the Vale front man.

Vale continued to have slightly the better of things possession-wise, without making it count when it really mattered.

Tomlin then hit a shot from the right and Neal hardly had time to move as the ball swerved in late and struck the far post – the second time the Southend man was denied by the woodwork.

Neal did well to save from Britt Assombalonga as the home side upped the anti late in the first half and then the Vale ‘keeper was in action again, going full length to keep out the busy Tomlin.

Joe Davis dived in to make a terrific block to keep out Southend skipper Chris Barker, then at the other end Smith saved from Jennison Myrie-Williams after the Vale winger broke from inside his own half.

Tom Pope went down in the box early on in the second half and was obviously in some distress. There were appeals for a penalty but the referee was having none of it.

Vale enjoyed a spell on top and Ashley Vincent perhaps chose the wrong option, sending the ball across the face of Smith’s goal when he had the opportunity to shoot.

Rob Taylor timed his run to perfection to take the ball away from Tomlin in a dangerous position inside the Vale box, before Vale made their first substitution, Chris Shuker coming on for Ben Williamson in the 68th minute.

Former Vale loanee Marc Laird wasted an opportunity to win it for the home side, firing wide with a first time effort, but it was Vale who went closest to wrapping up the three points in the 89th minute.

Vincent burst through and looked odds on to score, but Smith did well to keep him out. The ball ran loose for Pope, but his shot was blocked and Vale had to settle for a well-earned point.


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.