Saturday 15th December 2012
Cheltenham Town v Port Vale
At Whaddon Road
Attendance:3,670 including 331 visiting supporters
CHELTENHAM TOWN:Scott Brown, Billy Jones, Darren Carter, Steve Elliott, Marlon Pack, Shaun Harrad, Alan Bennett, Russell Penn, Jake Taylor, Sido Jombati, Chris Zebroski
SUBS:Keith Lowe, Sam Deering, Darryl Duffy, Jeff Goulding, Jermaine McGlashan, Connor, Roberts, Lawson D’Ath
PORT VALE:Chris Neal, Richard Duffy, John McCombe, Clayton McDonald, Doug Loft, Rob Taylor, Ryan Burge, Sam Morsy, Ashley Vincent, Louis Dodds, Tom Pope.
SUBS:Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Chris Shuker, Calvin Andrew, Ben Williamson, Kingsley James, Liam Chilvers
Vale made three changes to the starting eleven that lost at home to Chesterfield the previous weekend. Jennison Myrie-Williams was forced out, serving a one-match suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.
Also missing were Kingsley James and Calvin Andrew, who each had to be satisfied with a place on the bench, whilst Rob Taylor, Sam Morsy and Louis Dodds all started.
Vale were pretty much on the back foot in the opening minutes of the game, though it was the visitors who went closest to opening the scoring when Louis Dodds met a right wing cross from Richard Duffy with a glancing header that wasn’t far off the target.
The home side looked the more dangerous of the two sides in the opening exchanges, but Vale soon settled and began to have slightly the better of things.
John McCombe was denied when he met a right wing corner at the back post, Scott Brown making a point blank save at the expense of another flag kick.
The home side then missed a golden opportunity to get their noses in front when Zebroski had the simplest of chances to nod home at the far post, but somehow headed across the line and Vale were able to clear.
Vale went straight up the other end and this time Ashley Vincent stung the fingers of Brown with a 25 yard drive.
Chris Neal was called into action to make a rare save in the 29th minute, dropping to his right to make a comfortable save from Darren Carter’s 20 yard shot.
John McCombe had the ball in the Cheltenham net just before half time but the whistle had already been blown to indicate a free kick for the home side.
The home side began the second half brightly and almost took the lead when a shot from Billy Jones crashed against the Vale crossbar.
Vale were then thankful to skipper Doug Loft who was handily placed to clear a header from Marlon Pack off the line as Vale were put under pressure.
In contrast to the first half, Vale were now second best and it took a spectacular save from Neal, flinging himself to his left to keep out a header from Jake Taylor, to keep Vale on level terms.
Vale hit back at the other end with Dodds crossing for Pope to try his luck with a header, but Brown didn’t have too much trouble making the save.
GOAL:The home side were finally rewarded when they took the lead in the 61st minute. Duffy cleared a shot from Zebroski, but the ball ran kindly for DARREN CARTER who made no mistake, blasting the ball home from close range.
GOAL:Six minutes later Vale were level. Tom Pope got up meet a left wing cross from Rob Taylor with a powerful header which hit the ‘keeper and LOUIS DODDS was on hand to sweep the loose ball into the net.
Vale made a substitution in the 82nd minute when Ben Williamson left the bench to replace Ashley Vincent, who in fairness hadn’t looked his best.
Vale almost nicked the three points after a neat move involving Rob Taylor and Burge, with the latter stinging the fingers of Brown, who couldn’t prevent a corner kick.
With three minutes remaining Vale made a second change, Chris Shuker coming on as a replacement for Rob Taylor.
In the final stages of the game Vale twice cleared off the line within the space of five seconds to deny the home side the win.
Vale made a third substitution in stoppage time, with Micky Adams sending on Calvin Andrew in place of Dodds – his height needed inside the box as Vale defended a Cheltenham free kick.