Bristol City v Port Vale
Tuesday 19th February 2015
Attendance: 10,890 including 136 visiting supporters
Despite a spirited Vale display against league leaders Bristol City, Rob Page’s side returned home empty handed following a 3-1 defeat.
Jay Emmanuel Thomas gave the home side a 34th minute lead but although the Valiants trailed at the interval, there was every reason to believe they could pull something back.
Bristol had a bit of luck in the second half when a wicked deflection handed them a second before they increased their lead thanks to a misplaced back pass.
Vale pulled a goal back through Mark Marshall, but despite their efforts couldn’t manage to claw back the two goals needed to earn themselves a point.
Vale made two changes for the game against league leaders Bristol City, with Achille Campion starting for the first time and Chris Birchall coming in.
The two players to miss out were midfielder Chris Lines, who had to make do with a place on the bench, and Colin Daniel, who suffered an ankle injury at the weekend,
The first chance of the game fell to Vale midfielder Chris Birchall, who got on the end of a left wing cross from Carl Dickinson but couldn’t keep his header down from 12 yards.
Moments later the home side threatened when a long throw caused the Vale all sorts of problems, and Aden Flint’s shot was cleared off the line by Dickinson.
Despite the obvious class of the home side, Vale were giving every bit as good as they got in the early stages of the game, breaking up the play and knocking it about a bit as well.
Birchall was seemed to be enjoying the contest and had a shot blocked with Vale showing they were not afraid to take the home side on inside their own half.
Play switched to the other end and this time City skipper Wade Elliott tried a shot which was parried by Chris Neal, before Vale began to build again.
Vale went close again in the 33rd minute when Mark Marshall cut inside and elected to shoot from the edge of the box, but this time it was City ‘keeper Frank Fielding whose turn it was to parry.
GOAL:Less than a minute later Vale found themselves trailing when JAY EMMANUEL-THOMAS smashed in a shot against the underside of the bar from the edge of the box.
With their tails up, the home side began to put Vale under pressure as they looked to add a second goal before half time and the visitors had Neal to thank when he turned away an angled drive from Joe Bryan for a corner.
Typical of the game to that point, it was Vale who then went close, this time a low drive by Michael O’Connor on the edge of the box testing Fielding, who could only push the ball away before it was hacked away.
Once again play switched to the other end where Neal denied Luke Freeman and then the same player followed up, only for Fredi Veseli to clear off the line.
Marshall again cut inside from the right early in the second half to test Fielding, this time from 25 yards, with the Bristol ‘keeper happy to turn it away for a Vale corner.
Three minutes later Neal pushed a 25 yard pile driver from Freeman over his crossbar as play again switched to the other end.
It was still anybody’s game. Although the home side were in the driving seat, you sensed that Vale were capable of pulling a goal back if they could just keep it tight at the back.
Unfortunately they only managed to do that until the 59th minute, when they fell further behind thanks to a rather fortuitous second goal for the home side.
GOAL:JOE BRYAN picked the ball on the left and what looked to be intended for a cross took a wicked deflection off Veseli to send the ball looping over Chris Neal and into the Vale net.
Vale made a double substitution in the 63rd minute with the introduction of Chris Lines and Greg Luer for Michael Brown and Achille Campion.
GOAL:In the 67th minute the home side added a third when a poor back pass by Richard Duffy was intercepted by MATT SMITH, who had time to pick his spot.
A minute later Vale made their third and final substitution when Byron Moore came off the bench for a rare appearance, replacing Chris Birchall.
GOAL:Vale looked down and out trailing by three goals, but they managed to pull one back in the 76th minute when MARK MARSHALL finally got the goal he had been threatening to get when he fired past Fielding from the edge of the box.
Emmanuel-Thomas went close to grabbing his second and Bristol’s fourth when he kept his cool to shoot from twenty yards, beating Chris Neal, but his shot his the ‘keeper’s left hand upright before flashing across the face of goal with nobody following up.
Tom Pope and Chris Lines each had chances cleared off the line as Vale continued to believe they could get a second goal back and give the home side something to think about.
BRISTOL CITY: Frank Fielding, Derrick Williams, Aden Flint, Korey Smith, Wade Elliott, Matt Smith, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Luke Freeman, Luke Ayling, Joe Bryan, James Taverner. SUBS: Dave Richards, Mark Little, Scott Wagstaff, George Saville, Greg Cunningham, Kieran Agard, Marlon Pack.
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Carl Dickinson, Chris Robertson, Richard Duffy, Chris Birchall, Tom Pope, Michael O’Connor, Michael Brown, Mark Marshall, Frederic Veseli, Achille Campion. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Ryan McGivern, Chris Lines, Greg Luer, Tommy O’Sullivan, Byron Moore.
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