Port Vale v Coventry City
At Vale Park
Saturday 13th December 2014
Attendance: 5,321 including 708 visiting supporters
Vale’s recent home form was finally beached when visitors Coventry City left Burslem with all three points following a 2-0 victory at Vale Park.
Sky Blues defender Reda Johnson netted for the visitors 12 minutes into the second half and Vale struggled to hit back.
With five minutes of added time, Vale pushed bodies forward in search of an equaliser and were hit on the break just seconds before the final whistle was blown, and Gary Madine delivered the coup de grace in front of the travelling fans.
Vale made two changes to the starting eleven to face Coventry City in Vale’s final home game before Christmas, but there were positional changes too.
With both Chris Lines and Michael O’Connor suspended, skipper Carl Dickinson moved into midfield in place of O’Connor while his left back spot was filled by the returning Ryan McGivern.
There was a place on the bench for recent signing Alex Nimely and he was joined by Achille Campion, who has yet to start a game for the Vale.
Vale set off at a frenetic pace, putting the visitors under intense pressure from the kick off and dominating possession in the opening minutes of the game.
Vale defender Fredi Veseli almost gave the home side an early lead when Mark Marshall rolled the ball out to him from a corner on the Vale right, and his low drive wasn’t too far off the target.
Josh McQuoid shot well wide from distance in the Sky Blues first real attack of the game, as if to warn the Vale against complacency at the back.
But it was Vale who were forcing the pace, snapping at the heels of the visitors like excited Jack Russells in the right areas of the pitch.
The Sky Blues went close when Adam Barton’s 20 yard shot took a slight deflection from Veseli, to take the ball wide of the upright to Chris Neal’s right.
Vale had a penalty appeal waved aside when Michael Brown went down following a challenge inside the visitors 18 yard box, with the referee having none of it.
A timely intervention from Chris Robertson kept the visitors at bay after Reda Johnson cut in from the left to play the ball low into the area, but the outstretched leg of the Vale defender robbed Gary Madine of the chance to shoot.
Vale defender Chris Robertson was the next to be denied after plant a glancing downward header towards the back post following Marshall’s flag kick on the right, only to see the boot of a Coventry defender get in the way.
Madine earned himself a yellow card when he hacked down Mark Marshall in the centre circle with half time approaching.
It was an opening forty-five minutes in which Vale didn’t exactly have everything their own way, but they could lay claim to have been slightly the better of the two sides.
It was the visitors who started the better of the two sides in the second half, pressing Vale deep inside their own half in the opening few minutes.
Vale stood strong, however, and before long they began to cause problems at the other end, although Ryan Allsop in the Coventry goal was given little to do.
GOAL: It was the Sky Blues who drew first blood, however, taking the lead on 57 minutes when REDA JOHNSON met Matthew Pennington’s right wing cross with a firm downward header, planting the ball into the back of the net.
Vale made a change in the 66th minute with the introduction of Alex Nimley for his first appearance for the Valiants, with Colin Daniel making way.
And two minutes later, Michael Brown was taken off and replaced by Louis Dodds, as Vale boss Rob Page went for more attacking options.
There was a pause in player when Ryan McGivern went down on the halfway line following a crunching tackle, but thankfully after treatment he was able to continue.
Moments later he was involved in another tackle in which he came worse off and he was forced to leave the field of play, with Chris Birchall coming off the bench as a replacement.
Ben Williamson fired over the bar following a strong run from N’Guessan, but it was difficult to see where an equaliser was going to come from.
Vale were venturing over the halfway line often enough, but failing to breach a robust Coventry defence and rarely giving ‘keeper Allsop anything to do.
GOAL: Vale were committed to throwing bodies forward and were hit on the break in the final minute of stoppage time, when GARY MADINE stroked to ball home in front of the visiting supporters.
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Fredi Veseli, Chris Robertson, Ryan McGivern, Mark Marshall, Michael Brown, Carl Dickinson, Colin Daniel, Ben Williamson, Dany N’Guessan. SUBS: Ryan Boot, Louis Dodds, Chris Birchall, Ryan Lloyd, Richard Duffy, Alex Nimely, Achill Campion.
COVENTRY CITY: Ryan Allsop, Andrew Webster, Reda Johnson, John Fleck, Gary Madine, Josh McQuoid, Danny Swanson, Jim O’Brien, Adam Barton, Aaron Martin, Matthew Pennington. SUBS: Lee Burge, Jordan Willis, Conor Thomas, Simeon Jackson, , Ryan Haynes, Jack Finch, James Maddison