Saturday26th October 2013
Port Vale v GillinghamAt Vale Park
Attendance: including visiting supporters
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Adam Yates, Chris Robertson, Carl Dickinson, Liam Chilvers, Doug Loft, Louis Dodds, Chris Lines, Ben Williamson, Anthony Griffith, Jordan Hugill. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Tom Pope, Daniel Jones, Richatd Duffy, Chris Birchall, Lee Hughes
GILLINGHAM: Stuart Nelson, Joe Martin, Amine Linhanzi, Leon Legge, Chris Whelpdale, Danny Kedwell, Myles Weston, Charlie Lee, Danny Hollands, Michael Harriman, Adam Barrett. SUBS: Callum Davies, Adebayo Akinfenwa, Cody McDonald, Steven Gregory, Bradley Dack, Antonio German, George Howard
Vale recorded back to back wins with a 2-1 victory over last season’s League Two Champions Gillingham after coming from behind at Vale Park.
Danny Kedwell had given the Gills a first half lead, but defender Chris Robertson put the Valiants level with a close range header straight after the half time interval and substitute Tom Pope headed home his sixth goal of the season to earn Vale the three points.As expected, Micky Adams kept to the same starting eleven that won at Crawley in midweek, which meant Jordan Hugill kept his place at the expense of Tom Pope.
Not only did Vale put an end to Crawley's unbeaten run, they also put in a convincing performance from one to eleven, with Hugill taking the plaudits on his debut.
Despite Amine Linganzi having a shot blocked with barely sixty seconds on the clock, it was the Vale who started the better of the two sides, with Vale prepared to press high up the pitch.
Ben Williamson and Chris Lines each went close to giving the Valiants an early lead – Williamson seeing his glancing header go the wrong side of the post and Lines forcing Gill’s ‘keeper Stuart Nelson down to his left to save.
GOAL:But it was the visitors who struck first when DANNY KEDWELL got on the end of a left wing cross from Linganzi to plant a firm header past Chris Neal at the far post.
Gillingham’s failure to sufficiently clear a corner taken by Doug Loft almost gave Vale an equaliser when Carl Dickinson shot through a sea of bodies, but Nelson was able to save on the line.
A neat Vale move didn’t quite pay off when Dickinson played the ball to the feet of Doug Loft, just outside the box, and the Vale skipper turned sharply to force a reaction save from Nelson.
Vale continued to press but found it difficult to create any goal scoring chances against a resolute and well-organised Gillingham defence.
The commencement of the second half saw the introduction of Tom Pop at the expense of Hugill and the Vale striker was soon in the action, flicking on for Williamson, who managed to win a corner.
GOAL:Chris Lines took the corner from the right, Carl Dickinson knocked it on and CHRIS ROBERTSON came in at the far post to plant a powerful header into the net for the equaliser with a minute of the second half gone.
Vale certainly had the bit between their teeth and they went close to a second when Chris Lines unleashed a fierce 35 yard drive which wasn’t too far from hitting the target with Nelson flapping at thin air.
Whatever had been said in the dressing room during the half time interval seemed to be having an effect, with the home side looking much sharper then they did in the opening forty-five minutes.
Pope couldn’t quite capitalise after Williamson had used his pace to get to the ball before Adam Barrett and cross the ball low into the box from the byline.
With defenders snapping at his ankles, Pope struggled to the ball under control as he attempted to line up a chance and the visitors eventually managed to clear the danger.
GOAL:Vale got their just rewards for their attacking play in the 63rd minute when Dickinson sent the ball into the Gillingham box from the halfway line and TOM POPE reacted first, getting in behind the visitors’ defence to head home.
Although Val kept on pushing, their attacking play was less intense once they managed to get their noses in front.
Despite that, the visitors seldom threatened with Vale getting bodies behind the ball quickly and with Carl Dickinson showing a real determination to lead the way.
Vale, however, were almost caught napping when Anthony Griffith gave the ball away needlessly in the centre circle and Gillingham set off on the counter attack, only for Antonio German to fire across the face of goal when he perhaps should have done better.
Griffith atones for his error moments later with a well-timed tackle inside the box to deny Bradley Dack a shooting opportunity, at the expense of a corner kick.
Nelson then spilled a shot from Loft at the other end, but with Pope closing in, managed to get hold of the ball at the second attempt.
Despite a late rally from the visitors, Vale deservedly took the three points and will go into next week’s game against Swindon Town full of confidence.