Saturday 5th April 2014
Port Vale v WalsallAt Vale Park
Attendance: 5,569 including 649 visiting supporters
PORT VALE: Sam Johnson, Richard Duffy, Chris Robertson, Carl Dickinson, Daniel Jones, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Chris Birchall, Billy Knott, Doug Loft, Gavin Tomlin, Tom Pope. SUBS: Adam Yates, Louis Dodds, Rob Taylor, Ben Williamson, Joe Davis, Anthony Griffith, Jordan Hugill
WALSALL:Richard O’Donnell, Andy Taylor, Andy Butler, Adam Chambers, Sam Mantom, Paul Downing, James Chambers, James Baxendale, Romaine Sawyers, Fabian Brandy, Michael Ngoo SUBS: Ben Purkiss, Nicky Featherstone, Milan Lalkovic, Shane Lewis, Troy Hewitt, James McQuilkin, Amadou Bakayoko
A second half spot kick slammed home by winger Jennison Myrie-Williams six minutes after the interval was enough to separate the two sides in an evenly matched game at Vale Park.
There was very little between the two team during a game in which both sides has spells when they were on top, but Vale just about deserved the three points.
Vale made two changes to the starting line-up to face Walsall, as the home side went looking to record a rare double over the Saddlers.
Chris Birchall came back into the midfield spot vacated by the suspended Chris Lines and Carl Dickinson returned from suspension to take the place of Joe Davis in the heart of the Vale defence.
It was a slow start from a Vale point of view when they were made to work inside their own half to keep the visitors, who were knocking the ball about well, at bay.
Midfielder Billy Knott took advantage of a break in play in the 5th minute to change his footwear, whilst defender Chris Robertson was receiving treatment.
Vale went close a few minutes later after good hold up play from Tom Pope then saw the Vale striker thread the ball through for Chris Birchall to run at goal.
Birchall took the ball in his stride then elected to shoot early and the ball whizzed just a matter of inches over Richard O’Donnell’s crossbar.
More good work from Pope freed Jennison Myrie-Williams on the left and the winger’s cross eventually fell to skipper Doug Loft, whose half volley from outside the box zipped over the bar, narrowly missing the target.
Vale were enjoying the majority of the play, forcing the visitors to defend deep inside their own half, yet Sam Johnson was the busier of the two ‘keepers in the opening half hour.
In the 33rd minute Loft spotted an opportunity, cutting out a pass intended for Sam Mantom, he headed for goal, but shot wildly over the bar.
Vale were awarded a penalty early in the second half after Pope was fouled by Paul Downing right in front of goal – however, the Walsall man was adjudged not to have prevented a clear goal scoring opportunity.
GOAL:Winger JENNISON MYRIE-WILLIAMS placed the ball on the penalty spot and proceeded to hammer the ball into the back of the net to give O’Donnell no chance of making the save.
Vale continued to pile on the pressure and a second goal looked forthcoming, but Walsall rode the storm and were soon pressing in search of an equaliser.
Sam Johnson was forced to dive to his right to push a shot away from substitute Milan Lalkovic before the ball was cleared, with the visitors looking increasingly dangerous.
Vale made their first change of the afternoon on 74 minute. Ben Williamson came off the bench to replace Gavin Tomlin, with boss Micky Adams deciding to inject some pace into the attack.
Vale made a double substitution in the 82nd minute. Off came Jennison Myrie-Williams and Billy Knott, their places being taken by Rob Taylor and Louis Dodds.
Vale were being forced to defend for their lives in the latter stages of the game as the Saddlers thew bodies forward as they looked to earn themselves a point from the game.