MK Dons v Port Vale
Saturday 22nd November 2014
Attendance: 12,007 including 762 visiting supporters
Vale suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of MK Dons, in a game where they were forced to play the whole of the second half with ten men after midfielder Chris Lines was red-carded in the 38th minute.
Lines appeared to shove his head into the face of Dons’ misfielder Dele Alli, leaving Vale with an up-hill battle to come from behind against a very good MK Dons side.
Vale upped their ideas in the second forty-five, despite their numerical disadvantage, but couldn’t find that elusive equaliser and returned home empty-handed.
Rob Page may have surprised a few when he named an unchanged starting eleven, with both Richard Duffy and Ryann McGivern available to him.
It was a reward to the eleven who fought out a win against Rochdale in Vale’s previous game, and in doing so, keeping only their second clean sheet of the season.
Vale’s hopes of keeping it tight at the back were blown open after just three minutes when Carl Baker struck with a low angled drive from just outside the box, to leave Vale with an up-hill battle on their hands.
Vale needed to remain disciplined and stay patient if they were to keep themselves in the game and not capitulate after conceding so early on in the game.
Vale had a let off when the home side worked the ball into the box for Ben Reeves, but fortunately he shot straight at Chris Neal when he looked certain to add a second for the Dons.
Although Vale looked reasonably comfortable when in possession, they at times looked equally vulnerable when the home side were on the attack.
It is fair to say that home ‘keeper David Martin has had busier afternoons. He had very little to do in the opening half hour of the game, apart from the occasional goal kick.
Shortly after the half hour Martin was called upon to make a fairly comfortable save to keep out a 20 yard curling shot by Dany N’Guessan.
Vale at times threatened to threaten, but they knew at the same time the need to keep to their shape and keep things tight at the back - that meant there were always going to be limited chances at the other end.
An off the ball tussle between Chris Lines and Dele Alli continued when they were both challenging close to the touchline and the Vale midfielder earned himself a 38th minute red card for his troubles.
Lines appeared to push his head in the face of the Dons’ midfielder and the referee, who was not too far away, had no option other than to send the Vale midfielder off.
Vale had an escape on forty-five minutes when a back post header from Benik Afobe went the wrong side of the upright.
Vale came out for the second half knowing there was no point of going ‘gung-ho’. Although they needed a goal from somewhere, there was still a need to keep things tight at the back.
Despite that thought, Vale began the second period brightly. It was almost as if they had decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it.
The home side had other ideas, of course, yet Vale continued to look a better attacking force than at any time during the opening forty five minutes.
Vale made their first substitution of the game in the 62nd minute. On came Ben Williamson for Dany N’Guessan, with Rob Page hoping the striker’s pace could unlock the door for the visitors.
Although Vale lived dangerously at times, they also played some really neat football and continued to attack at every opportunity.
Rob Page made a second change on 69th minute, injecting fresh legs into the fray with the introduction of Louis Dodds for Michael O’Connor.
Williamson went close to an equaliser when he got on the and of a cross whipped in by Adam Yates, sending a glancing header just wide of the target.
Vale made a third change in the 84th minute with the withdrawal of Colin Daniel – Chris Birchall taking to the field from the bench.
MK DONS:David Martin, Dean Lewington, Kyle McFadzean, Antony Kay, Darren Potter, Ben Reeves, Jordan Spence, Carl Baker, Dele Alli, Daniel Powell, Benik Afobe. SUBS: Ian McLoughlin, Lee Hodson, Tom Flanagan, Danny Green, Dean Bowditch, Will Grigg, Mark Randall.
PORT VALE:Chris Neal, Adam Yates, Chris Robertson, Fredi Veseli, Carl Dickinson, Michael Brown, Colin Daniel, Chris Lines, Michael O’Connor, Mark Marshall, Dany N’Guessan. SUBS: Ryan Boot, Ryan McGivern, Richard Duffy, Chris Birchall, Louis Dodds, Ben Williamson, Achille Campion
Follow our Audio Boom Channel and get audio clips to your phone or pc, including team news, interviews and lots more, all completely FREE.
Why not follow us?https://audioboom.com/channel/officialpvfc
Can’t get to the game? Why not listen to full match commentary, courtesy of Radio Stoke, on Valiant Player? Click Here to subscribe
Follow us on Twitter - @OfficialPVFC - for team news and regular match updates straight from the press box
Like us on Facebook - team news and regular match updates straight from the press box
There will be a full match report on the official website moments after the final whistle, with player and manager interviews to come later.
A match gallery (photos courtesy of Gerard Austin) will also appear on the site soon.