Sunday 29th December 2013
Port Vale v Rotherham UnitedAt Vale Park
Attendance: 6,738 including 1,205 visiting supporters
PORT VALE:Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Liam Chilvers, Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson, Chris Lines, Anthony Griffith, Doug Loft, Louis Dodds, Tom Pope, Gavin Tomlin. SUBS: Ryan Boot, Chris Shuker, Ryan Lloyd, Ben Williamson, Chris Birchall, Jordan Hugill, Lee Hughes.
ROTHERHAM UNITED:Adam Collin, Joe Skarz, Kari Arnason, Claude Davis, Alex Revell, Michael O’Connor, Ben Pringle, Craig Morgan, Kieran Agard, James Tavernier, Haris Vuckic. SUBS: Scott Shearer, Richard Brindley, Pablo Mills, David Worrall, Matt Tubbs, Michael Tidser
A first half strike from Louis Dodds – his third goal of the season, and Gavin Tomlin’s second half goal were enough to move Vale into seventh spot in the table, two points behind the Millers.
With the score at one-nil, the visitors went down to ten men when Claude Davis was red-carded midway through the second half, but Vale were good value for the three points regardless.
Micky Adams made three changes to the starting eleven, two of them enforced, as Vale lined up to face a Rotherham United side riding high in the League One table.
Lee Hughes was rested, while Chris Robertson was serving a one-match suspension and Jennison Myrie-Williams missed out with a knee injury.
The three to come in were Liam Chilvers in the heart of the defence, Chris Lines who returned from a one-match suspension, and Louis Dodds.
There was a late change in the Rotherham line-up when Lee Frecklington was withdrawn. Claude Davis came off the bench to take his place.
Both sides looked up for a fight in the opening minutes of the game but it was the home side who were marginally the sharper of the two sides.
Tom Pope headed straight at Millers’ ‘keeper Adam Collin in the fourth minute and then Louis Dodds dribbled his way into the box but his low cross was cut out by the stopper.
GOAL:Vale continued to press and were rewarded in the 8th minute when Pope nodded the ball down for LOUIS DODDS and he again ran into the box before slotting home from 15 yards.
The visitors were given a golden opportunity to level the scores in the 17th minute when James Tavernier went down rather easily inside the box and the referee didn’t hesitate to point to the penalty spot.
Kieran Agard took the penalty, driving the ball low inside the left hand post, but Sam Johnson got down well to his right to make a superb save.
Richard Duffy picked up a yellow card for a rash challenge on Vuckic, which the Rotherham man made a meal of, perhaps influencing the referee’s decision to produce a card.
With the visitors looking to find their way back into the game Vale were forced to soak up a short spell of pressure, but were soon pressing again up the other end.
The man in the middle was finding it difficult to get to grips with things at times with off the ball incidents that were rather unsavoury.
But he had an easy decision to make when Vale ‘keeper Sam Johnson was flattened by Michael O’Connor as he went up for a cross. The Rotherham man was rightly yellow-carded.
Vale skipper Doug Loft was unlucky not to double Vale’s lead in the 38th minute when Dodds received a pass from Chris Lines and played the ball inside to his skipper.
Loft was surrounded by three grey shirts but showed some great footwork to create a space for himself, but his shot flew inches wide of the far post.
In first half stoppage time Rotherham were awarded a free kick just outside the box after a tackle from Anthony Griffith, which earned the Vale man a booking. He will now be suspended for the Preston game on New Year’s Day.
The visitors took their time in lining up the free kick and when it was eventually taken, Michael O’Connor clipped the ball off Sam Johnson’s left hand upright.
Vale had the ball in the net for a second time in the 47th minute when a rasping shot from Loft was parried by Collin and Pope was on hand to stab the loose ball into the net, only to be flagged offside.
The visitors were now going flat out for an equaliser and it was all hands to the deck as far as Vale were concerned with the next goal of the gaol surely proving crucial.
Rotherham were then reduced to ten men when Claude Davis stupidly kicked the ball at Tom Pope, who was on the ground after being fouled by the Millers’ man, earning himself a straight red card.
A header from Loft flashed inches wide of the target as Vale kept up the pressure, then Dodds hit the side-netting when perhaps he ought to have hit the target.
GOAL:Vale finally grabbed a deserved second goal in the 68th minute when Chris Lines touched the ball to Tom Pope, who helped the ball on to GAVIN TOMLIN and the striker kept his cool to slot home from 8 yards.
Vale made a change in midfield in the 73rd minute with Chris Birchall coming off the bench to replace Anthony Griffith.
Five minutes later Vale made another change, Gavin Tomlin being replaced by Chris Shuker and in the 84th minute Ben Williamson came on for Louis Dodds.