Saturday 12th April 2014
Notts County vPort Vale
At Meadow Lane
Attendance: 5,613 including 1,059 visiting supporters
NOTTS COUNTY:Bartosz Bialkowski,Alan Sheehan, Gary Liddle, Jack Grealish, Hayden Mullins, Jimmy Spencer, Ronan Murray, Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Curtis Thompson, Josh Vela, Gareth Roberts. SUBS: Fabian Spiess, Mustaphe Dumbuya, Manny Smith, Callum McGregor, Andre Boucaud, Kyle Dixon, Nathan Tyson.
PORT VALE:Sam Johnson, Richard Duffy, Chris Robertson, Jow Davis, Carl Dickinson, Chris Birchall, Anthony Griffith, Billy Knott, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Gavin Tomlin, Tom Pope. SUBS: Adam Yates, Louis Dodds, Ben Williamson, Rob Taylor, Nathan Smith, Jordan Hugill, Ryan Lloyd.
Vale let a two-goal lead slip at Meadow Lane as the home side took a big step towards retaining their status as a League One club next season with four goals of their own.
Vale lead after 13 minutes when Curtis Thompson inadvertently turned the ball past his own ‘keeper and looked like they would possibly go on and win it when Gavin Tomlin extended their advantage.
But the home side’s fighting spirit prevailed and they deservedly took all three points to give themselves some hope with four games remaining.
Vale made two changes for the game against a Notts County side fighting to stay in League One. With skipper Doug Loft and Danny Jones both out, in came Anthony Griffith and Joe Davis.
Davis slotted in at centre half alongside Chris Robertson, while Carl Dickinson moved out to left back and Griffith partnered Billy Knott in the centre of the Vale midfield.
Nathan Smith, a second year youth player, was drafted in to take up a place on the bench for his first taste of first team football.
As a mark of respect to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster 25 years to the day earlier, the game kicked off at 3.07pm, with matches throughout the country doing likewise, delaying the kick off by seven minutes.
The home side went out looking for an early opener but Vale looked completely unruffled, keeping their composure and passing their way around the pitch.
It was Vale who soon looked the more threatening of the two sides on show, thow the home side had an early opportunity when Gary Liddle met a right wing corner from Alan Sheenan, only to send his header straight as Sam Johnson.
It was no surprise when Vale took the lead in the 13th minute, though the home side were a little unfortunate in terms of how the goal was scored.
GOAL:Jennison Myrie-Williams sent an inswinging free kick into the Magpies’ box and in an attempt to clear, County defender CURTIS THOMPSON only succeeded to end the ball past his own ‘keeper.
Vale went close to increasing their lead when midfielder Billy Knott hit a firm 15 yard shot, but home ‘keeper Bartosz Bialkowski was its equal, touching the ball over his crossbar.
The visitors continued to press and they got their rewards in the 25th minute, with the home crowd screaming for a free kick to be awarded to their side.
GOAL:Jennison Myrie-Williams shrugged off the attentions of Thompson – fairly according to the referee – and pulled the ball back for GAVIN TOMLIN to tap home from close quarters.
GOAL :Vale could only hold on to their two-goal advantage for under two minutes, JIMMY SPENCER pulling a goal back with a header form 6 yards.
Sam Johnson pulled off a superb reaction save to keep the home side at bay, pushing Josh Vela’s sweetly stuck angled drive around the upright after County had suddenly rediscovered their belief.
GOAL:That belief was clearly illustrated in the 33rd minute when Jamal Campbell-Ryce weaved his magic, running at the Vale defence before slipping the ball to JIMMY SPENCER, who swept the ball home from 12 yards.
Vale were forced into a change on 37 minutes after Joe Davis appeared to have tweaked a hamstring. Adam Yates came off the bench and Richard Duffy took up the centre half role.
Vale went straight on the attack from the kick off in the second half, but within three minutes of the restart found themselves trailing for the first time in the game.
GOAL:Jack Grealish danced his way to the byeline before pulling the ball back and JAMAL CAMPBELL-RYCE was handily placed to smash the ball past Sam Johnson from close range.
Vale made a second substitution in the 61st minute, taking off midfielder Anthony Griffith and replacing him with a striker in Ben Williamson.
Vale were still having marginally the better of things in terms of possession, but the home side had what appeared to be a legitimate penalty appeal turned down after what looked like a push in the back inside the box.
Vale made their third and final change in the 69th minute when Louis Dodds came off the bench, with Chris Birchall going in the opposite direction.
A 25 yard snapshot from Dodds saw Bialkowski make a fairly routine save bwfore the home side mounted another attack, from which Duffy twice made blocks, firstly to keep out Murray and seconds later to deny Campbell-Ryce.
Vale were still having plenty of the ball but were not giving the home ‘keeper an awful lot to do, though he did well to stop a far post header from Tom Pope when it seemed he had lost his balance slightly.
Tomlin rattled the upright with an angled drive and Williamson couldn’t quite get the vital touch to tuck away the rebound, with nerves jangling amongst the home crowd.
GOAL:Vale were looking to finish strongly, but were caught out pushing numbers up the pitch and Grealsish sent in a low cross for JAMAL CAMPBELL-RYCE to apply the coup de grace five minutes from time.