Port Vale v Sheffield United
Friday 26th December 2014
Attendance: 8,524 including 2,594 visiting supporters
Vale celebrated Christmas in style with another three points on a snowy afternoon in Burslem, with a 2-1 victory over Sheffield United.
Ben Williamson gave Vale a 16th minute lead and Vale had generally the better of things for the remainder of the first half.
The visitors were forced to play the entire of the second half with ten men after Chris Basham received a red card in the 44th minute, but were on level terms shortly after half time when Campbell-Ryce slammed home from close-range.
But when Bob Harris upended Mark Marshall inside the box in the 78th minute, Dany N’Guessan celebrated his new contract with a goal from the penalty spot to sew up the points for the Vale.
Midfielder Chris Lines returned from a three-match suspension but he had to settle for a place on the bench as Rob Page went with the same starting eleven who performed so well during the win at Crawley in Vale’s previous match.
Vale certainly looked ‘up for it’ right from the kick off and former Blade Michael Brown showed his determination to do well with two early biting tackles inside the centre circle.
Both sides had spells of pressure, pressing hard for an opener, but the the two defences stood firm until the 16th minute when Vale edged in front.
GOAL: Mark Marshall rolled the ball into the box from a corner kick on the right, Dany N’Guessan hit it towards goal and BEN WILLIAMSON was on hand to apply the finishing touch right under the noses of the large contingent of visiting supporters.
The visitors came close to an equaliser just a couple of minutes later when Chris Neal found himself going the wrong way when a shot from the visitors took a wicked deflection, but the Vale ‘keeper somehow twisted his body to make a superb save, palming the ball away to his left.
Neal was at it again in the 28th minute when he got down sharply to deny Stefan Scougill’s close range effort with a save to grace any football ground in the country.
Vale went close to doubling their lead in the 34th minute when Michael O’Connor put the ball into the United box from the left, Dany N’Guessan got up well to power a header towards goal, but Harrison McGahey was on hand to hack the ball off the line.
Then, when Jamal Campbell-Ryce managed to work his way to the byeline at the other end, Blades’ defender Chris Basham’s near-post header flashed just inches wide of the target.
Despite the visitors’ strong start to the game, it was Vale who had bossed most of the opening forty five minutes and in the 44th minute, things worsened for the Blades when they were reduced to ten men.
A rash tackle on Michael Brown by central defender Chris Basham 12 yards inside the Vale half saw the United man banished to the stands after receiving a deserved red card.
Vale expected to have to defend at the beginning of the second half and they were not disappointed as the visitors pressed hard, but it was the home defence who came out on top and before long Vale were on the attack once again.
Vale players appealed loudly for a penalty kick when McGahey appeared to have handled inside the box but they had to settle for a corner and from the flag kick Louis Dodds went close with a powerful header.
GOAL: However, the Blades were soon on level terms when the Vale defence were exposed and JAMAL CAMPBELL-RYCE netted from close range to give his side a deserved lift.
Despite that setback, Vale continued to pour forward, looking to get their noses back in front with wave after wave of attacks, but the visitors looked extremely dangerous on the break.
Midfielder Chris Lines returned to the action when he came off the bench in the 74th minute, with Louis Dodds going the other way.
Vale were presented with the perfect opportunity to re-take lead when Mark Marshall was brought down in the box in the 78th minute by Bob Harris.
GOAL: DANY N’GUESSANplaced the ball on the spot before hitting it to Mark Howard’s right. The Blades’ ‘keeper guessed correctly and got a touch, but there was too much power on the shot and Vale were once again in front.
N’Guessan was replaced in the 84th minute when Vale went for the fresh legs of Colin Daniel as the snow continued to fall heavily over Vale Park.
The visiytors fought desperately for an equaliser but it wasn’t to be and Vale finished with a well-deserved three points to give everybody in Burslem something else to celebrate over Christmas.
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Adam Yates, Fredi Veseli, Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson, Louis Dodds, Michael O’Connor, Michael Brown, Mark Marshall, Ben Wiliamson, Dany N’Guessan. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Chris Robertson, Chris Birchall, Chris Lines, Colin Daniel, Alex Nimely, Achille Campion.
SHEFFIELD UNITED: Mark Howard, Bob Harris, Chris Basham, Michael Doyle, Jamie Murphy, Stefan Scougall, Harrison McGahey, Jay McEverley, Jamal Campbell-Rice, Chris O’Grady, Flo Cuvelier. SUBS: Jose Baxter, Marc McNulty, Michael Higdon, Louis Reed, Iain Turner, Paddy McCarthy, Che Adams
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