Friday 25th April 2014
Port Vale v Sheffield UnitedAt Vale Park
Attendance: 6,364 including 937 visiting supporters
PORT VALE:Sam Johnson, Chris Robertson, Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Anthony Griffith, Billy Knott, Chris Lines, Ben Williamson, Louis Dodds. SUBS: Gavin Tomlin, Chris Shuker, Chris Birchall, Nathan Smith, Jordan Hugill, Ryan Lloyd
SHEFFIELD UNITED: Mark Howard, John Brayford, Harry McGuire, Ryan Flynn, Michael Doyle, Jose Baxter, Neill Collins, Conor Coady, Stefan Scougall, Jamie Murphy, Kieron Freeman. SUBS: Matt Hill, Chris Porter, Stephen McGinn, Billy Paynter, George Long, Terry Kennedy
Substitute Chris Porter earned his side all three points in the 89th minute as Sheffield United came from behind in a thoroughly entertaining affair at Vale Park.
Louis Dodds had put Vale in front in the 51st minute and it looked like Vale may finish their home games with a win, but Jamie Murphy levelled with nine minutes remaining, before Porter struck to win the game late on.
Vale made four changes from the side beaten at Rotherham four days earlier as they faced a Nigel Clough side who had made five changes for the game.
In came Anthony Griffith, Ben Williamson, Jennison Myrie-Williams and Chris Lines, whilst Chris Birchall, Ryan Lloyd, Jordan Hugill and Gavin Tomlin had to settle for a place on the bench.
Vale were looking resplendent in next season’s home kit, white with black and gold trim, with black side panels – very smart.
The visitors came out of the traps looking strong and determined, but it was Vale who were looking the more dangerous of the two in the opening minutes of the game.
The Blades were rattled in the 4th minute when former Sheffield Wednesday man Chris Line struck the woodwork with United ‘keeper Mark Howard well beaten.
Lines followed up as the ball rebounded to the right and crossed for Ben Williamson, but Harry McGuire managed to head the ball out for a corner kick.
Vale showed their determination to finish their home fixtures on a high, continuing to press forward menacingly with the visitors forced deep into their own half.
The visitors soaked things up before beginning to assert some pressure of their own - it was certainly making an entertaining affair for the neutral with play switching from one end to the other.
Despite all of the action, there was little for either ‘keeper to do except to come out for the occasional cross and the odd back pass and they went in level at the interval with neither side quite doing enough to break the deadlock.
GOAL:Vale got their noses in front within five minutes of the restart when a defender touched a pass from Adam Yates into the patch of LOUIS DODDS, who finished in style, smashing the ball into the top right hand corner of the net.
The visitor threatened to get themselves back into the game, pushing high up the pitch and playing high tempo football.
Stefan Scougall went close when he hit a low angled drive, but he was denied by a long arm from Sam Johnson, who touched the ball around the upright for a corner.
At the other end Howard got down well to his left to prevent a 25 yard snapshot from Billy Knott from going inside the upright.
It was still looking like anybody’s game in a match that was far removed from a ‘typical end of season’ affair, with both Vale and Sheffield each pressing like it meant something to them.
That was great news from a supporter’s point of view of course, and nothing less the Vale boss Micky Adams had promised in his pre-match press conference.
Vale made a double substitution with fifteen minutes remaining – Ben Williamson being replaced by Jordan Hugill and Ryan Lloyd coming on for goal scorer Louis Dodds.
GOAL:The visitor were finally rewarded for their persistence when they levelled in the 81st minute, Hartshill-born John Brayford crossing low from the right for JAMIE MURPHY to sweep home from 6 yards.
Vale made their final change in the 87th minute, Chris Shuker coming on to take the place of Anthony Griffith in the Vale midfield.
GOAL:Two minutes later it was CHRIS PORTER who won the game for the Blades, slotting home a low cross from Murphy from close range.