Saturday 2nd February 2013
Port Vale v Accrington Stanley
At Vale Park
Attendance:5,172 including 96 visiting supporters
PORT VALE:Chris Neal, Darren Purse, Doug Loft, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Ashley Vincent, Tom Pope, Ryan Burge, Richard Duffy, Liam Chilvers, Lee Hughes, Daniel Jones.
SUBS:Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Chris Shuker, Calvin Andrew, Sam Morsy, Ben Williamson, Chris Birchall.
ACCRINGTON STANLEY:Paul Rachubka, Peter Murphy, Michael Liddle, Luke Joyce, Mark Hughes, Dean Winnard, Charlie Barnett, George Miller, James Beattie, Romuald Boco, Laurence Wilson.
SUBS:Luke Clark, Bohan Dixon, James Gray, Marcus Carver, Andrew Dawber, Lee Molynuex, Thomas Aldred
Vale were unchanged for the visit of Accrington Stanley as they looked to avenge their defeat at the hands of the Lancashire outfit back in August, in a game they dominated but got nothing out of.
The game saw home debuts for a trio of players in defenders Darren Purse and Daniel Jones, and also the former Notts County striker Lee Hughes.
The visitors were reduced to ten men early on in the game when a wild challenge on Daniel Jones in the 4th minute by Charlie Barnett saw the referee show a red card.
Early indications seemed to suggest the sending off had installed a siege mentality into the remaining ten Accrington Stanley players and they were certainly not afraid to push on in search of an opener.
It was important that Vale kept their composure, remained focused and kept plugging away patiently until something happened for them.
It was the visitors who came closest to scoring, however, when in the 24th minute Chris Neal spilled a cross from a right wing corner.
There was a bit of a scramble inside the six yard box, and the ball fell kindly for Murphy who had what looked like a simple chance to score from five yards, but Doug Loft was handily placed to clear off the line.
Four minutes later a corner from the same side dropped over everybody and came off the crossbar, only to strike an Accrington player and go out for a goal kick.
Vale went straight up the other end and Lee Hughes almost put Vale in front when he shot across the ‘keeper, but Rachubka threw himself to his right to make the save.
Vale were getting a little frustrated at their inability to penetrate the visitors’ defence and ten minutes before half time Micky Adams made the decision for Vincent and Myrie-Williams to switch wings.
A stoppage time challenge on Myrie-Williams in exactly the same spot that saw Barnett commit the challenge that brought his sending off, this time earned Laurence Wilson a yellow card.
The half time talk in the Vale dressing room will have been an interesting one after Vale had failed to find a goal in the opening forty-five minutes.
Daniel Jones wasn’t too far off netting his second Vale goal in two appearances with a low shot from the edge of the box in the 47th minute, but a slight deflection took it wide.
GOAL:Vale didn’t have too long to wait for a goal, however. Ryan Burge chipped the ball into the box from the right and LEE HUGHES reacted quickest to lift the ball over the ‘keeper into the far corner of the net in the 50th minute.
GOAL:Vale doubled their lead three minutes later when a blockbuster of a shot from skipper Doug Loft was parried by the ‘keeper and DARREN PURSE was on hand to open his account, slamming the ball home from close range.
GOAL:Vale continued to put pressure on the visitors and increased their lead in the 66th minute when LEE HUGHES latched on to a through ball from Richard Duffy, kept his cool and slotted the ball home for his second of the afternoon.
Hughes almost grabbed his hat-trick with a ten yard effort that flew just inches wide, but any hopes of a third goal were ended when Hughes was replaced by Ben Williamson in the 70th minute.
There was a further Vale substitution in the 75th minute when the impressive Ryan Burge was taken off, giving an opportunity for Chris Shuker to shine in midfield.
Five minutes later Vale made their third and final change. On came Calvin Andrew for Jennison Myrie-Williams.
Vale could have extended their lead in the 81st minute when Williamson broke free on the left and pulled the ball back for a stretching Shuker, who could only manage to lift the ball over the crossbar.
The home side slowed the game right down, content to see things out at the top of League Two – at least until Monday night!