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16:50 12th January 2013
By  Dave Johnson

Vale go top of the table

Saturday 12th January 2013
Gillingham v Port Vale
League Two

At Priestfield Stadium
8,392 including 716 visiting supporters

GILLINGHAM: Stuart Nelson, Matt Fish, Joe Martin, Jack Payne, Leon Legge, Chris Whelpdale, Danny Kedwell, Andy Frampton, Deon Burton, Myles Weston, Adam Barrett.

SUBS: Charlie Lee, Ben Strevens, Danny Jackman, Charlie Allen, Adam Birchall, Tommy Forecast, Steven Gregory.

PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Richard Duffy, Darren Purse, Liam Chilvers, Adam Yates, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Ryan Burge, Doug Loft, Ashley Vincent, Tom Pope, Lee Hughes.

SUBS: Rob Taylor, Sam Johnson, Chris Shuker, Calvin Andrew, Joe Davis, Ben Williamson, Chris Birchall.

Micky Adams opted for four changes to the starting eleven that won comfortably against Plymouth Argyle in their previous outing.

In came new signings Lee Hughes and Darren Purse, along with the return of both Ryan Burge and Richard Duffy.

Out went Rob Taylor, Chris Shuker, Joe Davis and Ben Williamson, all of who joined Chris Birchall on the Vale bench.

GOAL:Vale got off to the perfect start when TOM POPE put the Vale ahead with just under three minutes on the clock to silence an expectant home crowd.

Adam Yates carried the ball down the left and looked like he was going to slip the bell into the path of winger Ashley Vincent, but suddenly cut inside on his right foot, crossed towards the far post and Pope planted a firm header past Stuart Nelson.

Vale continued to push the home side back and even when the home side attacked, Vale left three men up top to keep up the threat.

Myles Weston tested Chris Neal with a rasping drive from the edge of the box, but the Vale ‘keeper was its equal, diving to his right to push the ball around the upright.

GOAL:Vale doubled their lead in the 20th minute when Pope met a Ryan Burge free kick from the right and the ball ended in the Gillingham net when LEE HUGHES bundled the ball over the line.

GOAL:Less than a minute later the home side pulled a goal back when DANNY KIDWELL smashed the ball past Neal from 15 yards.

The game was certainly living up to all of the pre-match hype with both sides going all in attack – the fans from both sides were getting value for money that’s for sure.

As the first half went on, chances became few and far between, with the two sides working equally as hard to limit real goal scoring opportunities.

The home side came out of the traps quickly at the start of the second hald but a couple of determined blocks kept them at bay.

However, Richard Duffy was left on the floor after a solid challenge from the Vale defender, but he was soon back in action.

Vale were soon on the attack themselves and spent a good few minutes inside the Gillingham half with Hughes and Pope both going close for the visitors.

Vale had appeals for a penalty kick turned down when Pope went down inside the box following a challenge from Leon Legge with the referee handily placed.

Vale were then put under pressure once again and had Ashley Vincent to thank after the winger cleared off the line.

Vale made a substitution with 15 minutes remaining when Ben Williamson came off the bench to replace Lee Hughes and a minute later Calvin Andrew replaced Jennison Myrie Wiliams.

A terrific reaction from Chris Neal to keep out a close range downward header from Charlie Lee kept Vale in front with the home side pushing hard for an equaliser.

Vale made their final change of the afternoon in the 81st minute when Micky Adams sent on Rob Taylor for Ashley Vincent.

Vale had to defend resolutely as they approached the final five minutes of the game, with the home side going all out for an equaliser

Three minutes into stoppage time a mistake by Andy Frampton saw Ben Williamson clear. He ran at goal but somehow couldn’t manage to hit the target.


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