Crawley Town v Port Vale
Saturday 20th December 2014
Attendance: 2,320 including 183 visiting supporters
First half goals from Michael Brown and Louis Dodds ensured Vale left the Checkatrade Stadium with the spoils again – a well-deserved three points for Rob Page’s side.
Vale seldom looked in danger after half time, though they were indebted to goalkeeper Chris Neal, whose penalty save from former Valiant Gavin Tomlin prevented the home side from getting themselves back into the game at a crucial time in the game.
Substitute Conor Henderson reduced the arrears with a 89th minute goal from the edge of the 18 yard box, but it was too little too late for the home side.
Rob Page made three changes to the staring eleven for the game at the Checkatrade Stadium, as Vale went into their last game before Christmas.
Michael O’Connor returned from a one-match suspension to take up his place in midfield, with skipper Carl Dickinson returning to his favoured left back slot.
Richard Duffy returned to the back four to partner Fredi Veseli, with Chris Robertson dropping to the bench and Louis Dodds came in to replace Colin Daniel.
Ryan McGivern was ruled out after picking up an injury in the defeat against Coventry City and it was revealed he had undertaken an operation in midweek and had a plate inserted into his arm.
Vale came close to an early opener with their first attack of note when Dany N’Guessan took advantage of a slip by Dean Leacock before bursting into the box to tray a shot.
Goalkeeper Lewis Price was forced into making a near-post save to keep N’Guessan’s fierce shot out and Vale had to be content with a corner kick.
It took a well-timed sliding tackle in front of goal by Carl Dickinson to keep the home side out following a neat passing move by John Gregory’s side as Vale were pushed back.
Neither side was able to stamp their authority on the game in the early stages of the game, though Vale were arguably the more adventurous of the two.
Michael Brown tested Price with a low 20 yard drive the produced a fine savefrom the Crawley ‘keeper to give Vale another flag kick.
Home defender Dean Leacock picked up a yellow card following an unfair challenge on Ben Williamson and Price had to be at his best to save the resulting free kick, with Michael O’Connor trying his luck from all of 35 yards.
GOAL:Vale took the lead on the half hour when Louis Dodds flicked the ball forward for Dany N’Guessan, who ran into the box, and kept his composure to pull the ball back to MICHAEL BROWN, who drove the ball into the net from just outside the box.
Chris Neal did well save a close range effort from Shaun Miller at his near post as the home side looked to hit back quickly from the disappointment of conceding the goal.
Vale doubled their lead three minutes before the interval after a neat move involving Born, Williamson and Dodds.
GOAL:Brown played the ball to the feet of LOUIS DODDS, who quickly played the ball on to Williamson, who knocked it straight back to Dodds and this time the Vale midfielder belted a shot past Price for Vale’s second goal.
There was a scare for the Vale early in the second half when Michael O’Connor went down and stayed down inside the centre circle. He managed to get up after treatment and was soon back in action.
Shaun Miller earned himself a yellow card after he and Fredi Veseli chased the ball as it went out for a Vale goal kick, only for Veseli to receive a shove in the back, causing him to stumble over one of the advertising boards.
Sections of the home side were getting a little disgruntled at times as the game was stopped several times after minor incidents both on and off the ball, but then Vale almost netted a third, when Price took two attempts to make a save from Ben Williamson.
The home side were thrown a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty when O’Connor lifted a foot, dangerously in the opinion of the referee, who pointed straight at the spot.
Former Vale forward Gavin Tomlin placed the ball on the spot and sent the ball to Chris Neal’s right and the Vale ‘keeper responded with a superb save to dent his former team mate.
Dany N’Guessan was unfortunate not to add a third goal for the Valiants when he worked his way into the box, only to be twice denied by the ‘keeper after he had done all of the hard work.
GOAL:The home side pulled a goal back in the 88th minute when substitute CONOR HENDERSON drove the ball hard and low from the edge of the box, but it wasn’t enough to concern Vale too much.
In the end the result was just the tonic Rob Page and his players needed ahead of a tough Christmas period and a win which will give Vale a lot of confidence ahead of their Boxing Day clash with Sheffield United.
CRAWLEY TOWN:Lewis Price, Ryan Dickson, Dean Leacock, Sonny Bradley, Jimmy Smith, Joe Walsh, Lewis Young, Shaun Miller, Bobson Bawling, Gavin Tomlin, Marvin Elliott. SUBS: Brian Jensen, Conor Henderson, Charles Banya, Matt Harold, Emmett O’Connor, Ryan Richefond, Bradley Isaacs
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Adam Yates, Richard Duffy, Fredi Veseli, Carl Dickinson, Louis Dodds, Michael O’Connor, Michael Brown, Mark Marshall, Ben Williamson, Dany N’Guessan. SUBS: Ryan Boot, Chris Robertson, Chris Birchall, Ryan Lloyd, Alex Nimely, Achille Campion, Byron Moore
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