Doncaster Rovers v Port Vale
At The Keepmoat Stadium
Saturday 16th August 2014
Attendance: 6,473 including 600 visiting supporters
First half goals from Ben Williamson, Tom Pope and skipper Carl Dickinson put Vale well in the driving seat at the Keepmoat Stadium against a Doncaster outfit widely tipped for a quick return to the Championship.
It was no more than the Vale deserved and although the home side pulled a goal back on 74 minutes, Vale went on to deservedly record their first away win of the season.
Richard Duffy returned to the starting line up at the Keepmoat Stadium in an otherwise unchanged side following Vale’s convincing midweek victory over Hartlepool United.
The visitors were in search of their first away win over Rovers in nine attempts, their last win coming at Doncaster’s Belle Vue ground back in January 1980.
An intriguing opening few minutes to the game saw both sides committed to attacking football, though neither managed to make any headway.
There was very little between them and certainly nothing to indicate whether the match would swing one way or the other in what can only be described as an open game.
The home side did go close to breaking the deadlock on 17 minutes, however, when Nathan Tyson found himself in space inside the Vale penalty area, but Sam Johnson did exceptionally well, racing off his line to make the block.
Rovers’ skipper Rob Jones looked formidable in the heart of the home defence and it was he alone who often halted Vale’s attacks, his huge frame proving to be a problem for the Valiants.
All that was to change in the 27th minute. Vale won a corner kick, taken on the right by Michael O’Connor.
GOAL:Although Rovers’ ‘keeper Jed Steer managed to keep out a Chris Lines header, BEN WILLIAMSON was on hand to nod home from close range.
It was no more than Vale deserved. They had attacked at every opportunity and had been pressing for an opener, having slightly the better of the game up to that point.
The home side’s hopes of getting themselves back on level terms before half time were dealt a huge blow when Vale scored a second goal in the 39th minute.
GOAL: TOM POPEpulled the ball inside to Ben Williamson from the left and he immediately played it back to his strike partner, who drove a low angled drive back across goal and inside the ‘keeper’s left hand post.
GOAL:Just to rub salt in Doncaster’s wounds, Vale added another goal in the 41st minute. Chris Line’s corner was only half cleared and skipper CARL DICKINSON smashed the ball into the back of the net.
Vale were looking rampant at this stage and they almost added a fourth goal when Williamson got in behind the home defence, only for Steer to make the save.
The home side made two changes at the start of the second forty-five minutes, Theo Robinson replacing Nathan Tyson and Dean Furman making way for Marc De Val.
A challenge on Luke McCullough by Carl Dickinson gave the home side an early opportunity. The resulting free kick was met by Harry Forrester, but Johnson was well-placed to save his close range header.
Whilst most people in the stadium had been expecting the home side to lay siege on the Vale goal, despite the odd bit of pressure it just didn’t happen.
Vale were in no mood to relinquish their three-goal advantage and the home crowd were getting increasingly frustrated with their team.
Paul Dickov’s last throw of the dice was to send on Kyle Bennett for Curtis Main, but Vale were determined not to let things slip.
Not just content with that, Vale were looking to add to their three-goal total and Marshall, Birchall, Dickinson and Pope all went close to a fourth goal for the Valiants.
GOAL:The home side eventually struck gold on 74 minutes when a speculative 25 yard effort from KYLE BENNETT dropped over the head of Sam Johnson to reduce the deficit.
Vale immediately made their first change with the introduction of substitute Steve Jennings for Ben Wiliamson, a change Vale had been trying to make just before the home side’s goal.
The game threatened to explode in the 79th minute following a challenge on Johnson by Forrester, who was red-carded for his troubles.
Vale then made a double substitution. On came Michael Brown and Louis Dodds, with Michael O’Connor and Chris Birchall going off.
A cross-come-shot from Evina rattled Sam Johnson’s goal in the first of five minutes of stoppage time, but his goal was otherwise seldom threatened and Vale returned home with three valuable away points.
DONCASTER ROVERS: Jed Steer, Reece Wabara, Cedric Evina, Dean Furman,Rob Jones, Harry Forrester, Curtis Main, Luke McCullough, Nathan Tyson, Paul Keegan, James Coppinger. SUBS: Marko Marosi, Theo Robinson, Marc De Val, Billy Whitehouse, Kyle Bennett, Liam Wakefield, Ben Askins.
PORT VALE: Sam Johnson, Frederic Veseli, Richard Duffy, Ryan McGivern, Carl Dickinson, Chris Lines, Michael O’Connor, Ben Williamson, Louis Dodds, Mark Marshall, Tom Pope. SUBS: Chris Neal, Chris Robertson, Colin Daniel, Louis Dodds, Michael Brown, Steven Jennings, Ryan Lloyd.