Saturday 3rd August 2013At Vale Park
Port Vale v Brentford
Attendance: 7,579 including 758 visiting supporters
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Adam Yates, Chris Robertson, Carl Dickinson, Daniel Jones, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Chris Lines, Anthony Griffith, Doug Loft, Gavin Tomlin, Ton Pope. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Louis Dodds, Ben Williamson, Kaid Mohamed, Richard Duffy, Chris Birchall, Lee Hughes.
BRENTFORD: David Button, Kevin O'Connor, Adam Forshaw, Harlee Dean, Clayton Donaldson, Will Grigg,Alan McCormack, Shaleum Logan, George Saville, Jake Bidwell, Conor McAleny. SUBS: Sam Saunders, Jack Bonham, Javi Venta, Martin Fillo, Jake Reeves, Paul Hayes, Ben Nugent.
It was always going to be a tough opening fixture against a side who came within a whisker os automatic promotion last season, but Vale overcame any fears they may have had to claim a valuable point.
Shaleum Logan put the visitors in front in the 26th minute with a spectacular strike, but they could only hold on to their lead for five minutes, with Doug Loft firing in Vale’s equaliser.
Vale were forced to soak up the pressure from promotion candidates Brentford early on in the game, with the home side’s resolve being tested at every opportunity.
When Micky Adams’ side did manage to hit back it was skipper Doug Loft who almost snatched the lead for the League One newcomers.
Gavin Tomlin picked the ball up in an advanced position on the right and slipped the ball iside for Loft, who took a touch before hitting a dipping 20 yard shot that dropped inches over David Button’s crossbar.
Adam Forshaw was allowed too much space inside the Vale box in the 16th minute and had plenty of time to get a shot in, but thankfully Chris Neal was its equal.
Will Grigg then took on three Vale defenders, but forced wide by the ever alert Robertson fired over the crossbar from an angle.
The action soon switched to the other nd when Jones stormed up the left flank to send in a deep cross which appeared to be going out of play, but Tom Pope managed to get a head to it from a tight angle, striking the upright.
Vale then had what at first glance seemed legitimate appeals for a penaly turned down after Myrie-Williams cut inside from the right before going down inside the box.
A minute later the same player went down inside the penalty area and despite loud appeals from the crowd, the home side had to settle for a corner kick.
GOAL:But in the 26th minute it was the visitors who struck when SHALEUM LOGAN cut inside onto his left foot to release a screamer into the top left hand corner of the net.
GOAL:Vale took six minutes to level the scores. Gavin Tomlin was stuck in the corner, enclosed by three Brentford players but suddenly produced a superb cross, which Pope flicked on and DOUG LOFT slammed past Button in the Bees’ goal.
Despite the visitors’ strong start to the game, Vale were certainly playing their part in an entertaining ‘end to end’ affair in which the Valiant’s passion was clear for everyone to see.
Each and every one of the white-shirted players out there on the pitch played their part, tracking back when needed and sticking to their task in an almost regimented fashion.
Vale went close to a second goal in stoppage time when a long throw from Chris Robertson was met by the head of Pope, but his header dropped on top of the net.
Former Crewe striker Clayton Donaldson thought he had put the visitors back in fron in the 53rd minute when he latched on to a ball over the top, only to see his shot come back off the crossbar.
The visitors were looking more determined early on in the second half and Vale were having to defend in numbers.
Vale were struggling to make any impact at the other end of the pitch, but that almost change in the 65th minute when Tomlin did well to wriggle free on the byeline and Brentford were more than happy to concede a corner.
Chris Lines sent in a well-flighted flag kick which eluded everybody and the visitors managed to scramble away and avert the danger.
Tomlin was causing quite a few problems to the visitors with his determination, tricky feet and a never say die attitude as Vale began to exert a spell of pressure themselves.
When Grigg found himself with a chance in front of the Vale goal, Adam Yates, who had played a big part in Vale’s attacking build-ups, was on hand with a firm challenge to put the ball out for a corner.
Micky Adams decided to freshen things up in the 75th minute with the introduction of Lee Hughes and Kaid Mohamed from the bench, with Tomlin and Myrie-Williams rested.
Brentford still managed to put Vale under the cosh at times forcing the home side to scramble the ball away on several occasions,
Vale made their final change in stoppage time. Skipper Doug Loft going off, to be replaced by Louis Dodds, but despite a late Vale flourish the game ended all-square.
All in all Vale will be happy with the point on their League One debut against one of the promotion favourites – a point well deserved over the ninety minutes.