Sunday 5th January 2014
Port Vale v Plymouth ArgyleAt Vale Park
FA Cup Third Round
Attendance: 5,511 including 591 visiting supporters
PORT VALE:Chris Neal, Adam Yates, Chris Robertson, Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Louis Dodds, Anthony Griffith, Doug Loft, Gavin Tomlin, Tom Pope. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Liam Chilvers, Chris Shuker, Ben Williamson, Ryan Lloyd, Chris Birchall, Jordan Hugill.
PLYMOUTH ARGYLE:Jake Cole, Durrell Berry, Maxime Blanchard, Conor Hourihane, Lewis Alessandra, Reuben Reid, Dominic Blizzard, Neal TrormAN, Curtis Nelson, Tope Obadeyi, Andres Gurrieri. SUBS: Luke McCormack, Guy Branston, Romauld Boco, Luke Young, Paul Wotton, Nathan Thomas, Ben Purrington.
Gavin Tomlin netted for the fourth consecutive game to put the Vale ahead in the 15th minute and Vale looked like they would go on and win it when Tom Pope headed home Vale’s second in the 35th minute.
But the visitors were having none of it, forcing a replay at Home Park thanks to strikes from Rueben Reid in the 51st minute and Ben Purrington’s 73rd minute equaliser.
Vale made four changes from the side that were beaten at Preston on New Year’s Day as they faced up to take on Plymouth Argyle – a home tie against Brighton & Hove Albion the prize for the winners.
Chris Neal returned after a spell out injured and he was joined by Chris Robertson, Anthony Griffith, and Jennison Myrie-Williams.
The unlucky four to miss out were Sam Johnson, Liam Chilvers, Chris Shuker and Chris Birchall, who were all on the bench for the game.
The two sides each started the game with obvious attacking intentions but were cancelling each other out in the opening minutes of the game.
The visitors fired a warning in the 11th minute when Neil Trorman wasn’t too far off the mark with a left-foot volley and seconds later Argyle went even closer when Andres Gurrieri struck the base of the post.
Vale had been put under a bit of pressure for a short while but answered in style in the 15th minute when they got their noses in front.
GOAL:Vale won a free kick on the left, which Jennison Myrie-Williams curled in invitingly and GAVIN TOMLIN did the rest, sending a glancing header past Jake Cole to put Vale in front.
It was Tomlin’s fifth goal of the season and the former Southend striker’s fourth goal in four games, having scored against Notts County, Rotherham United and Preston North End.
The visitors continued to show why they were unbeaten in their last four outings with a spirited display, causing problems for Vale at times and forcing the home side on the back foot.
GOAL:Despite that, Vale gave themselves some breathing space with a second goal on 35 minutes when TOM POPE headed home.
Doug Loft got down the left and sent in a teasing cross and Pope, leaning back slightly, powered a close range header past Cole and into the net.
A minute later the game was halted for Richard Duffy to receive treatment after he collapsed in a heap, obviously in severe pain, inside the Vale half.
Duffy was subsequently stretchered off and his place was taken by Liam Chilvers in a straight swap in the 40th minute.
The first half came to an end just as Myrie-Williams shot into the ‘keeper’s hand after a knock on by Pope, but Vale will have been happy with the performance in the opening forty-five minutes.
GOAL:The visitors never lost heart and got themselves back in the game in the 51st minute. Durrell Berry fed Lewis Allessandra who drew Chris Neal off his line and then squared for REUBEN REID to crack home from 12 yards.
All of a sudden the visitors seemed to have got their belief back and they went looking for a quick equaliser to rock the Vale, pressing the home side back deep inside their own half.
The game continued to swing from one end to the other, Tomlin going close on two occasions for the Vale, goalkeeper Cole denying him on each occasion.
Vale made a change in the 65th minute with Louis Dodds making way for Ben Williamson, with Vale hoping his pace could make a difference.
Two minutes later Vale ‘keeper Chris Neal made a superb reaction save to keep the visitors out when Conor Hourihane drilled a fierce free kick through a sea of bodies, with the Vale ‘keeper diving full length to his left to make the save.
Vale made a second substitution in the 67th minute with the introduction of Jordan Hugill for Jennison Myriw-Williams with the manager hoping fresh legs could do the trick.
GOAL:But the visitors were rewarded for their continuous pressing when substitute BEN PURRINGTON swept the ball home at the back post for a deserved equaliser with 73 minutes gone.
Chris Neal made another terrific stop, this time to keep out Nathan Thomas and it was the visitors who looked the more likely to grab the all-decisive goal.
Andres Gurrieri almost snatched it for the visitors in stoppage time when his shot beat Chris Neal, but thudded against the foot of the post before being cleared.
In the end if Vale are to go through to the fourth round they will have to it the hard way down at Home Park, but they will have to play better in the replay if they are to succeed.