Crewe Alexandra v Port Vale
At The Alexandra Stadium
Saturday 13th September 2014
Attendance: 6,357 including 2,240 visiting supporters
Two goals in the opening twenty minutes gave Vale a mountain to climb as George Ray and Vadaine Oliver put the home side well in the driving seat as the home side went looking for their first points of the season.
Jordan Slew had a spot kick saved but was on hand to follow up, slotting the ball into the back of the net to put Vale back in the game, but they struggled to find a much needed equaliser and Crewe got their first points of the season, leaving Vale to ponder about their fifth defeat in a row.
After making five changes to the starting line-up in Vale’s previous game to top of the table Peterborough United, Micky Adams again switched things around for the game against bottom of the table Crewe Alex.
This time he wasn’t quite as ruthless, with four ‘new’ faces to the starting eleven. Adam Yates was recalled to the side, as was Chris Lines and Richard Duffy, whilst Jordan Slew started for the Valiants for the first time.
Making way for that quartet were defenders Frederic Veseli and Chris Robertson, whilst midfielders Michael Brown and Steve Jennings had to sit this one out after starting in the defeat at London Road.
The two sides were feeling each other out in the opening minutes with neither team looking particularly threatening, but that soon changed.
GOAL:Michael O’Connor earned himself a yellow card for a foul on Anthony Grant, 15 yards inside the Vale half and from the resulting free kick GEORGE RAY was able to side-foot home from close range in the 6th minute.
GOAL:The home side doubled their lead in the 19th minute when Alex skipper Matt Tootle sent in a cross from the right and VADAINE OLIVER rose unchallenged to head past Chris Neal.
Vale were in disarray and almost fell further behind when the home side went close twice in a minute. Billy Waters rattled Neal’s crossbar and then thirty seconds later Adam Yates headed off the line with Steve Davis’ side looking to turn the screw.
Vale were given a lifeline in the 31st minute when Jordan Slew went down in the box after Ray pulled at his shirt and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty.
GOAL: SLEWtook the spot kick himself, but Ben Garratt in the Crewe goal guessed correctly, diving to his right to make the save. Fortunately for Vale Slew was able to follow up, putting the ball in to make the scoreline a bit more respectable.
Tootle went close with an angled drive, but the better option would have been to cross, with a couple of red shirts in space.
In first half stoppage time Neal got a touch on a shot from outside the box by Oliver and the home side had to settle for a corner kick.
Vale strolled off the pitch at half time knowing they would receive a stiff talking to in the dressing room and they also knew they needed to approach things differently if they were to turn things around.
It was end to end stuff at the start of the second half. Crewe sent a couple of shots high over Chris Neal’s crossbar, while at the other end Garratt acted smartly to keep out a half volley from Tom Pope.
Vale were having a lot of possession but were doing little to threaten the Crewe goal. The only thing Garrett had to do was to collect a couple of wayward crosses.
At the other end Neal made a good reaction save to deny a close range effort from Grant after the Crewe man had wriggled his way into a shooting position.
A powerful 20 yard left foot shot from Slew wasn’t too far off as Vale looked desperately for an equaliser, but is was beginning to look like it would never come.
Vale made a double substitution in the 74th minute. On came Ben Williamson and Louis Dodds to replace Jordan Slew and Byron Moore.
Garratt produced a brilliant reaction save to deny Pope an equaliser when he touched his back post header over the bar in the dying minutes.
Slew, 31 mins
Ray, 6 mins
Oliver, 19 mins
CREWE ALEX: Ben Garratt, Matt Tootle, Jon Guthrie, George Ray, Adam Dugdale, Oliver Turton, Vadaine Oliver, Billy Waters, Liam Nolan, Marcus Haber, Anthony Grant. SUBS: Scott Shearer, Chris Atkinson, Bradden Inman, George Cooper, Thierry Audel, Greg Leigh, Jamie Ness,
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Adam Yates, Ryan McGivern, Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson, Byron Moore, Michael O’Connor, Chris Lines, Mark Marshall, Jordan Slew, Tom Pope. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Frederic Veseli, Michael Brown, Steven Jennings, Louis Dodds, Chris Birchall, Ben Williamson