Tuesday 1st January 2013
At Vale Park
Port Vale v Fleetwood Town
6,082 including 157 visiting supporters
Chris Neal, Adam Yates, John McCombe, Louis Dodds, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Tom Pope, Calvin Andrew, Sam Morsy, Ryan Burge, Richard Duffy, Liam Chilvers. SUBS
: Sam Johnson, Rob Taylor, Ashley Vincent, Clayton McDonald, Chris Shuker, Ben Williamson, Kingsley James
Scott Davis, Shaun Beeley, Dean Howell, Junior Brown, Alan Goodall, Alex Titchiner, Jamie McGuire, Damien Johnson, Rob Atkinson, David Ball, Alex Marrow. SUBS:
Anthony Barry, Steve McNulty, Jamie Milligan, Conor McLaughlin, Chris Maxwell, Steven Gillespie, Jamie Allen
Micky Adams named an unchanged starting eleven for the first ever visit of Fleetwood Town. Doug Loft trained yesterday but didn’t make the cut for today’s game.
Ashley Vincent recovered from the stomach bug that kept him out of Vale’s away victories at Rotherham and at Dagenham & Redbridge, but could only make the bench.
Vale were knocked off the top spot before kick off after Gillingham took all three points from Southend United in an early kick off at Roots Hall.
Vale were on the offensive right from the kick off and top scorer Tom Pope twice went close to finding an earlier opener within the first five minutes of the game.
The home side were not having things all their own way however and Chris Neal had to react quickly to force an angled shot from Rob Atkinson out for a corner kick.
Vale were forced into making a change at the heart of the defence in the 17th minute. Acting skipper John McCombe was unable to continue and he was replaced by Clayton McDonald.
There was little between the two sides and the visitors showed a willingness to attack whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Vale’s carved out a great chance to go ahead in the 25th minute when a delightful pass from Adam Yates found Sam Morsy on the byeline.
Tightly marked, Morsy cut back from his marker and sent in an inch perfect cross for Tom Pope, whose header flew harmlessly past the far post.
GOAL:The miss was to prove costly a minute later when Junior Brown’s free kick was headed back by Alan Goodall and DAVID BALL poked the ball home from close range.
Junior Brown almost added a second for the visitors in the 33rd minute when he was allowed time and space on the ball. His 30 yard drive flew just inches wide of the target.
Fleetwood continued to look for a second goal and pressed forward in numbers, forcing Vale deep inside their own half, defending as if their lives depended on it.
GOAL:All of the hard work was undone in the 39th minute when ALAN GOODALL was allowed to jump unchallenged to nod home a free kick from Damien Johnson.
Despite all of their efforts, Vale were unable to reduced the deficit before the half time interval and went in at the break trailing 2-0.
Micky Adams decided against making any changes at the start of the second half, giving his players the opportunity to rescue the situation.
Louis Dodds had an opportunity to pull a goal back in the 53rd minute but, leaning back slightly, he unexpectedly blazed over the bar.
Vale were pressing deeper and deeper, but finding the visitors’ hard working defence difficult to break down, resulting on a double substitution in the 58th minute.
On came Ashley Vincent and Rob Taylor, whilst Calvin Andrew and Richard Duffy went the other way.
Vale continued to huff and puff but were continually frustrated in front of goal as a combination of a heavy pitch and a resolute and hard-working defence kept them at bay.
Finally Vale were given the perfect opportunity to get themselves back into the game midway through the second half when Dean Howell upended Jennison Myrie-Williams inside the 18 yard box.
The Vale winger spotted the ball and hit the ball low, but his spot kick down the middle was saved when it struck the knees of ‘keeper Scott Davies.
The Vale attacks seemed to get fewer and fewer, almost as though the players had resigned to their fate.
Ryan Burge managed to dance his way into the box to force a save at the foot of his right post by Scott Davies with an attempt from a tight angle, but with the game already deep in stoppage time it was too little too late.