Gillingham v Port Vale
Saturday 28th November 2014
Attendance: 4,799 including 141 visiting supporters
A goal from experienced midfielder Michael Brown deep into added time earned Vale a much deserved point at the Priestfield Stadium, just when it looked like they would be going home empty-handed.
Dany N’Guessan had given Vale an 18th minute lead, only for John Egan to level the scores, somewhat against the run of play eleven minutes later.
Egan netted again in the second half to put the home side in front for the first time and it looked like that might be it until the fourth minute of stoppage time when Brown earned the Valiants a point.
Vale made two changes to the starting eleven. Chris Lines sat out the first of his three-match suspension and Colin Daniel had been feeling under the weather for a few days, so he found himself on the bench.
In came Ben Williamson and Louis Dodds as boss Rob Page showed his attacking options against a Gillingham side captained by former Vale skipper Doug Loft.
Vale dominated affairs during the opening five minutes of the game in terms of possession football, with the home side struggling to win the ball.
The first goal scoring opportunity went to the home side, however, when in the 7th minute the home side won a corner, which was met by a glancing header form Brennen Dickenson and the ball flashed past Chris Neal’s left hand upright.
The visitors continued to have plenty of the ball, but were willing to be patient with their build-up play, content in the knowledge that the Gills could do little damage if they hadn’t got the ball.
GOAL:Vale’s patience paid off in the 18th minute when DANY N’GUESSAN received the ball to feet from Michael O’Connor, shifted slightly to his right and drove the ball low to the keeper’s right to give his side the lead.
The home supporters were beginning to get frustrated as Vale continued to dominate – Gillingham rarely managing to get over the halfway line, and when they did their attempts to get near the Vale goal were soon halted.
Dickenson did go close for Peter Taylor’s side in the 28th minute, however, hitting a curling 20 yard shot over the crossbar after neat work by Doug Loft.
GOAL:A minute later the home side levelled with a goal from nowhere when JOHN EGAN smashed the ball inside Neal’s left hand post from 25 yards – certainly a goal against the run of play.
Obviously lifted by the goal, the home side began to enjoy a spell on top and Loft and McDonald each went close to grabbing a second goal – Chris Neal saving on each occasion.
It didn’t take Vale too long to regain their composure and just to give the home side something new to think about, Mark Marshall, up to that point deployed out on the right, switched flanks with N’Guessan.
Louis Dodds tested the home ‘keeper from the edge of the box, with Stuart Neslon doing well to catch in mid-flight, then Chris Neal was twice tested at th other end.
The Vale ‘keeper got the slightest of touches to a rasping drive from Dickenson to see the ball over his crossbar, then moments later dived to his right to keep out an equally powerful attempt from Doug Loft.
Vale went close to retaking the lead very early on in the second half when O’Connor split the home defence with a delightful through ball, but Nelson just managed to get his fingertips to the ball to deny Ben Williamson.
Neal did well to turn a close range effort from Adam Chicksen around the post,in the 53rd minute, then a minute later the home side got their noses in front.
GOAL:Gillingham won two corner kicks in quick succession and when the second one came in from the right, JOHN EGAN towered above everybody to hit a powerful header past Neal, despite the Vale ‘keeper managing to get a hand to it before it crossed the line.
Although Vale continued to look good in possession, they had a lot more to deal with in the second half, especially once the home side had taken the lead.
Despite having their share of the ball, Vale’s attempts to penetrate the Gillingham defence were rarely successful and Nelson, in-between the sticks, had very little to do.
Midway through the second half Val made their first change when Colin Daniel was introduced from the bench, with Mark Marshall making way.
Daniel almost made his mark on the game just a couple of minutes after coming on when a low 20 yard shot beat Nelson, but came back off the post,
Seconds later N’Guessan did really well to make room for a shot inside the box, but held his head in his hands in disbelief after he blazed over the bar.
At the other end Loft was denied a goal against his former side again when his right foot volley was hit straight at Neal.
Vale made a double substitution in the 81st minute,. Achille Campion got his firs taste of first team football in a Vale shirt as a replacement for Ben Wiliamson an Chris Birchall came on for Dany N’Guessan.
With four minutes of stoppage time signalled by the fourth official, Vale threw bodies forward in search of an equaliser and it almost came when Louis Dodds struck the underside of the crossbar with Nelson well beaten.
GOAL:But in the very last minute of added time, MICHAEL BROWN tried his luck from outside the box and the ball took a slight deflection on its way into the net.
GILLINGHAM: Stuart Nelson,John Egan, Max Ehmer, Leon Legge, Doug Loft, Jake Hessenthaler, Cody McDonald, Michael Doughty, Brennan Dickenson, Adam Chicksen, Gavin Hoyte. SUBS: Danny Kedwell, Jermaine McGlashan, Glen Morris, Antonio German, Amine Linganzi, Bradley Dack, Harry Lennon.
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Adam Yates, Chris Robertson, Fredi Veseli, Carl Dicksinson, Louis Dodds, Ben Williamson, Michael O'Connor, Michael Brown, Mark Marshall, Dany N'Guessan. SUBS: Ryan Boot, Ryan McGivern, Richard Duffy, Colin Daniel, Chris Birchall, Ryan Lloyd, Achille Campio