Saturday 20th April 2013
Port Valev Northampton Town
At Vale Park
Attendance:12,496 including 1,076 visiting supporters
PORT VALE:Chris Neal, Adam Yates, Anthony Griffith, Darren Purse, Doug Loft, Louis Dodds, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Tom Pope, Liam Chilvers, Lee Hughes, Daniel Jones.
SUBS:Sam Johnson, John McCombe, Chris Shuker, Sam Morsy, Ryan Lloyd, Richard Duffy, Chris Birchall
NORTHAMPTON TOWN:Lee Nicholls, John Johnson, Luke Gutteridge, Lee Collins, Ben Harding, Chris Hackett, Ben Tozer, Lewis Hornby, Ray O'Donovan, David Moyo, Clarke Carlisle.
SUBS:ADebayo Akinfenwa, Dean Snedker, Nathan Cameron, Lewis Wilson, Jake Robinson, Cladio Dias
Micky Adams kept faith with the sam starting eleven from Val's previous game, away at Rochdale, with the only chance coming on the bench, where Ryan Lloyd replaced the injured Ben Williamson.
GOAL:The party atmosphere at Vale Park was dampened somewhat after just two minutes when Vale failed to clear a Northampton corner andCLARKE CARLISLEtook full advantage, slotting home from close range.
If there were any nerves in the stadium before kick-off, then that did absolutely nothing to calm things down, although the visiting supporters clearly appreciated it.
It was the visitors’ first goal in 368 minutes, but Vale didn’t let it affect them too much and they carried on with the game plan, attacking at every opportunity.
A shell-shocked Vale crowd were understandably a little subdues for a while, but Vale were trying to do their bit to try to liven them up again.
Cobblers’ ‘keeper Lee Nichols didn’t have too much to do. Tom Pope controlled a ow cross from Adam Yates, turned sharply to drive low to the stopper’s right but he got down well and wasn’t really troubled at all.
Lee Hughes then cut inside from the left to try his luck, but again Nicholls saved comfortably, this time down to his left.
It was not a spectacle by any means, but the visitors were also creating the occasional opportunity and perhaps could have done better in the 35th minute.
Vale looked at sixes and sevens and the defence was cut open far too easily and Luke Guttridge smashed the ball against the Vale crossbar. He was also first to react to the loose ball, but headed tamely and Neal was able to make a simple save.
GOAL:Northampton were made to regret that miss four minutes later when Tom Pope lobbed the ball into the visitors’ box andLIAM CHILVERSlevelled from close range.
As you would expect, the goal lifted the crowd once again and the atmosphere changed almost as if somebody had flicked a noise switch.
The second half opened in a scrappy fashion, with neither side managing to get to grips with the other and former Vale defender Lee Collins was making life difficult for Tom Pope.
Vale needed a spark from somewhere but it was difficult to see where it was going to come from against a stubborn Northampton side.
It almost happened in the 62nd minute when a 30 yard free kick by Jennison Myrie-Williams looked like it may beat the Cobblers’ ‘keeper, but Nicholls got down well to turn the ball around his left upright.
There was no doubt that Northampton were having slightly the better of things and in the 69th minute they dealt Val a blow for the second time.
GOAL:The visitors worked the ball forward for the umpteenth time andROY O’DONOVANfound himself in space, 20 yards from goal and decided it was worth a go, firing into the top right hand corner of the net to give his side the lead once again.
Vale then made a double substitution in the 73rd minute. On came Chris Birchall for Louis Dodds, and Anthony Griffith was replaced by Sam Morsy.
Then in the 77th minute Micky Adams made his third and final change, replacing defender Darren Purse with midfielder Chris Shuker.
GOAL:Vale had a stroke of luck in the 86th minute when Chris Birchall sent a hopeful ball into the Northampton box andLEE COLLINSsliced the ball into his own net to give Vale fans the lift they had been waiting for.
Results elsewhere went in Vale’s favour and barring a remarkable effort by Cheltenham (they have to make up a 28-goal deficit), coupled by a Vale defeat and a Rotherham win next week, Vale are up!