Port Vale v Morecambe
At Vale Park
Saturday 16th February 2013
5,513 including 103 visiting supporters
Chris Neal, Adam Yates, Darren Purse, Doug Loft, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Ashley Vincent, Tom Pope, Ryan Burge, Richard Duffy, Lee Hughes, Daniel Jones.
Rob Taylor, Louis Dodds, Chris Shuker, Calvin Andrew, Sam Morsy, Ben Williamson, Chris Birchall
Barry Roche, Nick Fenton, Will Haining, Andrew Wright, Lewis Alessandra, Kevin Ellison, Chris McCready, Stewart Drummond, Gary McDonald, Andy Parrish, Jack Redshaw.
Ryan Williams, Jordan Burrow, Andrew Fleming, Joe Mwasile, Chris Doyle, Chris Holroyd, Andreas Arestidou
After going four games unchanged, Vale were forced into making a change at the back after central defender Liam Chilvers was taken ill with flu.
With John McCombe not sufficiently recovered from injury, added to the injury in midweek of Joe Davis, Micky Adams switched Richard Duffy to the heart of the defence and brought in Adam Yates at right back.
Jim Bentley’s decision to play with three central defenders meant that Vale were going to have to use their imagination if they were going to break down the visitors’ defence.
What they perhaps hadn’t expected was Morecambe’s determination at the other end of the pitch and it was the home side who were forced to do much of the defending in the opening ten minutes of the game.
Before too long, however, Vale showed a the resolve befitting of the league leaders, pinning Bentley’s side back deep inside their own half.
Vale didn’t manage any success despite their dominance and they were always prone to the occasional counter-attack.
Vale had midfielder Ryan Burge to thank for one timely tackle to keep out the visitors, sliding in to win the ball just as Lewis Alessandra was about to pull the trigger on the edge of the Vale 18 yard box.
Jennison Myrie-Williams earned himself a yellow card in the 29th minute for what can be described as an over-enthusiastic challenge on Morecambe defender Will Haining and the game threatened to explode.
Thankfully the action soon resumed and players from both sides just got on with the game.
It looked only a matter of time before the home side got their noses in front but they were continuously frustrated by a resilient visiting defence.
Lee Hughes sliced the ball high and wide after his strike partner Tom Pope had nodded on a long ball from Richard Duffy and neither ‘keeper was much more than a spectator.
A rare opportunity for Tom Pope saw the country’s top marksman rise at the far post to meet a left wing cross from Daniel Jones, but his downward header bounced up into the hands of Barry Roche.
Vale began the second half with a bit more urgency and skipper Doug Loft fired over the bar just ninety seconds after the break.
Tom Pope and Lee Hughes each had headers miss the target as Vale put Morecambe under pressure, but again goalkeeper Roche had little to do.
Then at the other end came the miss of the match when a slightly off-balance Kevin Ellison, unmarked, lifted the ball way over the crossbar from all of six yards.
GOAL:It was the visitors who struck first blood, however, when the ball was whipped in from the left by Gary McDonald and LEWIS ALESSANDRA was on hand to finish the move off at the back post from close range.
Vale almost hit back immediately when Darren Purse met a left wing corner from Burge with a powerful header, but McDonald was well positioned to head off the line.
Vale made a change in the 69th minute with the introduction of Ben Williamson injecting some pace into the Vale attack, he replaced Lee Hughes.
Vale were given something of a lift in the 72nd minute when Morecambe were reduced to ten men after Wright was yellow carded, his second in the match, which was followed immediately by a red card.
Daniel Jones tested Roche with a stinging drive from 25 yards and the Morecambe ‘keeper responded well, diving to his right to push the ball away.
Micky Adams made another tactical change in the 78th minute when he sent on midfielder Chris Shuker to replace defender Adam Yates.
And three minutes later Vale completed their substitutions with Calvin Andrew coming off the bench and Ashley Vincent going the other way.
Vale piled on the pressure in the final minutes of the game and Pope and Jones each went close to earning Vale a point, but it wasn’t to be.