Port Vale v Notts County
At Vale Park
Saturday 23rd August 2014
Attendance: 5,090 including 381 visiting supporters
Vale slipped to their first defeat of the season, losing to a hard-working Notts County side who netted a goal in each half.
After two great away results, Vale looked out of sorts in the opening forty five minutes and the visitors deserved their half time lead after veteran Gary Jones fired County ahead.
Despite all of Vale’s second half attempts to get themselves on level terms, the visitors wrapped it up with a late deflected goal from Liam Noble.
There were no surprises when Micky Adams named an unchanged eleven again to face Notts County, but the Vale boss made one change on the bench
Adam Yates, without a start so far this season, making way for Byron Moore, who was included in the Vale squad for the first time since signing in the summer.
Defender Carl Dickinson thought he had given his side the perfect start when he beat Roy Carroll from close range in the fifth minute, but the referee’s whistle had blown for an infringement and the ‘goal’ was ruled out.
Play switched from one end to the other in the opening stages of the game, with both sides looking for an early opener.
GOAL:The visitors didn’t have too long to wait. In the 11th minute experienced midfielder GARY JONES hit a 30 yard volley which looked to have got a slight deflection on its way into the net as Vale fell behind for the first time this season.
Vale were having plenty of possession but the final touch was lacking a little and the visitors were quite content to hit Vale on the break in numbers.
And when they did push forward Vale looked all over the place at times, though in fairness they didn’t give Vale ‘keeper Sam Johnson a lot to do.
Micky Adams’ men were finding it increasingly difficult to break down a hard working and well organised Notts County side and began to get a little frustrated with their lack of success.
The visitors had a golden opportunity to increase their lead in the 50th minute following a mix-up between Richard Duffy and Fredi Veseli.
It left Liam Noble one-on-one with Johnson in the Vale goal. Johnson went down early and looked to be beaten, but the Vale ‘keeper stuck out a foot to deflect the ball over his crossbar.
It was a let off as far as Vale were concerned and a warning that the visitors meant business and they were not prepared to just sit on their lead.
If Vale needed a kick up the backside then perhaps that was it. They did press the visitors back for a spell, but nothing came of it and again the frustration persisted.
Johnson was forced to go full length to touch a long range effort from Ronan Murray around the post, before Micky Adams made a double substitution.
With 53 minutes on the clock he took off Ben Williamson and Chris Birchall and off the bench came Colin Daniel, and Byron Moore for his first appearance in a Vale shirt.
It seemed to liven things up as far as the Vale were concerned. Tom Pope’s low shot hit the ‘keeper before rolling across the face of goal and going out for a corner.
The crowd were then on their feet as Vale put the visitors under immense pressure with an almighty goalmouth scramble with Shaun Derry’s side breathing a collective sigh of relief when they finally managed to clear.
Carroll then touched a goal-bound far post header over the bar, with the seemingly well-placed referee failing to see the touch and awarding a goal kick.
Vale were now going at County like a dog at a bone, getting their teeth into them and refusing to let go
Daniel had what looked all the way a goal deflected around the upright then Mark Marshall had a powerful header blocked on the line.
With ten minutes remaining Vale made their final change, throwing on Louis Dodds for defender Fredi Veseli as the home went in search for an equaliser.
GOAL:Despite all of Vale’s efforts it was the visitors who struck the final blow with a fortuitous goal to say the least. NOBLE’S 87th minute 25 yard free kick took a wicked deflection on its way into the net, giving Johnson no chance of saving it.
Jones 11 mins
Noble 87 mins
PORT VALE: Sam Johnson, Frederic Veseli, Carl Dickinson, Richard Duffy, Ryan McGivern, Chris Birchall, Chris Lines, Michael O’Connor, Mark Marshall, Ben Williamson, Tom Pope. SUBS: Chris Neal, Chris Robertson, Colin Daniel, Louis Dodds, Michael Brown, Steve Jennings, Byron Moore.
NOTTS COUNTY: Roy Carroll, Mustapha Dumbuya, Blair Adams, Alan Smith, Hayden Mullins,Haydn Hollis, Zeli Ismail, Ronan Murray, Jake Cassidy, Gary Jones, Liam Noble. SUBS: Curtis Thompson, Fabian Speiss, Jeremy Balmy, Adam Dawson, Elliott Whitehouse, Mike Edwards, Shaun Harradd.