Tuesday 5th February 2013Port Vale v AFC Wimbledon
At Vale Park
5,567 including 147 visiting supporters
Chris Neal, Darren Purse, Doug Loft, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Ashley Vincent, Tom Pope, Ryan Burge, Richard Duffy, Liam Chilvers, Lee Hughes, Daniel Jones.
Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Chris Shuker, Calvin Andrew, Sam Morsy, Ben Williamson, Chris Birchall
Neil Sullivan, Jim Fenlon, Chris Hussey, Pim Balkstein, Alan Bennett, Mat Mitchel King, Toby Ajala, Peter Sweeney, Gary Alexander, Sammy Moore, Rashid Yussuff
Warren Cummins, Mikhael Jaimez Ruiz, Jack Midson, Luke Moore, Stacey Long, Paul McCallum, Curtis Osano
Vale were unchanged for the third game in a row as they lined up to face AFC Wimbledon for the second time in under two weeks.
Vale went into the game with the knowledge that a victory against the Dons would see them go four points clear at the top of the table.
Vale may have been under the impression the visitors had come with the intention of sitting deep and frustrating their hosts, but that was not apparent in the opening minutes of the game.
Wimbledon showed a bit of adventure and were more than willing to have a go at any given opportunity and it showed there was no room for complacency in the Vale defence.
That’s not to say Vale weren’t doing their fair share of attacking. Vale wre pressing hard for an early goal and they got it in the 13th minute when Ryan Burge won a free kick out on the left.
GOAL:Burge took the free kick himself, floating the ball over towards the far post where LEE HUGHES was lurking, unmarked. He had the simple chance to plant a downward header inside the post from two yards out.
Daniel Jones scored on his debut against Wimbledon twelve days previously and he tried to replicate it from a similar range, but this time his shot curled too far to the right and past the far post.
It was not too dissimilar to a shark sniffing out blood. Vale had got their opener and were looking thirsty for more goals in order to consolidate their position at the top of the table.
Jennison Myrie-Williams cut inside from the right and hit a tremendously powerful drive which was only a matter of inches above Neil Sullivan’s crossbar.
Although Vale piled on the pressure they weren’t having it all their own way and both Gary Alexander and Toby Ajala went close to levelling the scores.
Ideally, Vale needed the cushion of a second goal, and they got it in the 35th minute, although they were perhaps a little fortunate in how it came about.
GOAL:Vale were pushing hard and the ball was being knocked all around the Wimbledon penalty area until it fell to ASHLEY VINCENT. He tried his luck from 20 yards and with the help of a cruel deflection, Vale doubled their lead.
Vale went straight on the attack once again after the interval, obviously not content with the two goals they had scored in the first half.
The visitors made a double substitution on 58 minutes as they attempted to calm things down a little, McCallum and Midson coming on for Sweeney and Alexander.
Vale responded four minutes later by making a change of their own, with Ben Williamson coming off the bench to replace Lee Hughes.
Vale appeared to lift their foot off the gas for a while but were soon back at it and Tom Pope went close to what is becoming a customary goal when his header struck the crossbar.
There was obviously less urgency in Vale’s play at this stage of the game, but with twenty minutes to go you wouldn’t have ruled out a third goal for the League Two leaders.
GOAL:Almost right on cue, that third goal came in the 75th minute. Myrie-Williams cut in from the left and found ASHLEY VINCENT on the edge of the box.
The winger controlled and shot almost in one movement and there was very little Sullivan could have done to prevent the ball from finding the back of the net.
Four minutes later Vale made a double change, with Calvin Andrew and Chris Birchall taking to the field in place of Vincent and Myrie-Williams.
Vale were now in cruise mode, but comfortably saw the rest of the game out with the visitors unable to offer anything to unduly trouble the Vale defence.