Swindon Town v Port Vale
The County Ground
Sunday 28th December 2014
Attendance: 9, 248 including 173 visiting supporters
Vale fell to defeat in their second game in three days despite all of their efforts at the County Ground, with Swindon grabbing all three points thanks to a 56th minute header from Andy Williams.
Vale had matched on of League One’s promotion favourites up to that points and continued to match them for much of the remainder of the game, but sadly it was a familiar result as previous trips to the Swindon Ground, albeit by a more respectable scoreline.
Rob Page named an unchanged starting eleven as Vale looked to improve on their most recent results at the County Ground, a place where they have conceded sixteen goals in their last three visits.
Midfielder Chris Lines had to be content with a place on the bench, where there was just the one change – Byron Moore coming in to replace Alex Nimely.
Although Vale’s last three away games at Swindon had ended in heavy defeats, there was no sign of that happening in the opening exchanges of the match, with Vale more than matching their hosts.
Michael Brown was showing all of his experience in the middle of the Park, breaking up the play and keeping the ball moving for the Valiants.
Louis Dodds forced a save by Robin’s ‘keeper Wes Foderington, with a 20 yard snap shot as Vale looked to daw the first blood, but neither ‘keeper was too busy as the two sides matched each other all over the pitch.
When Jon Obika skipped his way into the Vale box from the Swindon left, things looked ominous for the visitors, but a superbly-times tackle from Adam Yates kept the home side at bay.
Play switched from one end to the other and back, with and effort from Ben Williamson being blocked on the line, as Vale showed they were in a confident and determined mood.
There were chances at both ends, a 35 yard free kick from Ben Gladwin clearing the Vale crossbar and a 20 yard shot from Michael O’Connor doing likewise at the other end.
Vale looked like they may go behind when Andy Williams slid in a nicely weighted ball into the Vale box for Nathan Byrne, who looked odds on the open the scoring, but Chris Neal’s lightening-like reactions saw him race off his line to make the block.
There was a let off for the visitors when Harry Toffolo lifted a 12 yard shot over the Vale crossbar when he really ought to have hit the target for the home side.
Then Moments later Louis Thompson forced a decent save from Chris Neal from a similar distance as the home side attempted to turn the screw.
Vale then survived a goalmouth scramble with half time fast approaching, then in stoppage time Michael Brown hit a 30 yard shot over the Swindon bar.
It is faor to say that the home side edged to opening forty five minutes, but Vale deservedly went in at half time with the scores still level.
The home side started off the second half strongly, but it was Vale who went close to an early lead when Adam Yates almost took advantage of a neat Vale move involving Dany N’Guessan and Mark Marshall, but his close range effort was save at the foot of the post by Foderingham.
The home side had the ball in the net in the 55th minute when Obik met a free kick from the right with a powerful downward header, but the ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside.
GOAL:A minute later, however, Vale fell behind when the ball was played in from the right and this time it was ANDY WILLIAMS, with a similar header, who put the Robins in front.
Rob Page responded by making two substitutions, Colin Daniel and Michael O’Connor making way for Chris Lines.
With Swindon’s tails up, Vale were forced to endure a spell of home pressure as Swindon went looking for a quick second goal to finally sink any hopes their opponents had.
They were not having things all their own way, however, as Vale pushed bodies forward in search of an equaliser, but Foderington wasn’t given too much to do.
Vale made a third substitution in the 77th minute when Louis Dodds was replaced by French striker, Achill Campion, as Vale looked to see if he could repeat his goal scoring antics of the reserves in first team football.
Vale continued to push the home side back with no rewards for their efforts and in the end it wasn’t to be – next up is Gillingham at Vale Park.
SWINDON TOWN:Wes Foderingham, Nathan Byrne, Massimo Luongo, Jack Stephens, Jordan Turnbull, Ben Gladwin, Andy Williams, Harry Toffolo, Louis Thompson, Jon Obika, Raphael Rossi Branco. SUBS: Tyrell Belford, Michael Smith, Amari’i Bell, Jake Reeves, George Barker, Jack Barthram, Anton Rodgers
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Adam Yates, Carl Dickinson, Richard Duffy, Louis Dodds, Ben Williamson, Michael O’Connor, Michael Brown, Mark Marshall, Frederic Veseli, Dany N’Guessan. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Chris Robertson, Chris Birchall, Chris Lines, Colin Daniel, Byron Moore, Achille Campion