Port Vale v Doncaster Rovers
Saturday 21st February 2015
Attendance: 5,173 including 740 visiting supporters
Vale put in another gritty performance to take all three points and to complete a league double at the same time, against an impressive Doncaster Rovers side who had occupied one of the play-off places going into the game.
First half strikes from Mark Marshall and Fredi Veseli put the Valiants in the driving seat, but the visitors came back strongly in the second half.
But with three minutes of normal time remaining, Byron Moore netted from an acute angle with his first goal for the club, which, along with another clean sheet put the icing on the cake.
There were no surprises when the team was announced before the game with Rob Page naming an unchanged starting eleven to face an in-form Doncaster Rovers.
There was just one change on the bench with on loan Greg Luer making way for fit-again Louis Dodds, back in the squad after nursing a broken toe for the past few weeks.
The two sides looked equally determined to get to grips with the game early on
In a battle for supremacy, but it was Vale who struck the first blow in the 6th minute of the game.
GOAL: Byron Moore played the ball out wide to Tom Pope from inside the centre circle and Pope’s raking pass saw MARK MARSHALL get in behind the Doncaster defence and he made no mistake from the edge of the box.
The visitors almost pulled a goal back four minutes later when Chris Robertson misjudged a back pass to Chris Neal, allowing Kyle Bennet to nip in, but he over ran the ball for a goal kick.
Marshall went close to netting a second goal for the Valiants, firing in a shot after again being set up by Pope, but this time Rovers’ ‘keeper Stephen Bywater reacted, touching Marshall’s effort over the crossbar for a corner.
The visitors began to enjoy a spell of pressure, but despite creating a couple of half chances, they gave Vale ‘keeper Chris Neal very little to do.
The visitors had half-hearted appeals for a penalty turned down, after they claimed Bennet’s shot from just outside the box had struck a hand.
But it was Vale who were looking marginally the better of the two sides and the more likely to score the game’s second goal.
The visitors were certainly enjoying their share of the ball, but Vale were looking well-organised and robust at the back.
Ryan Inniss was looking equally as impressive on his home debut as he was at Walsall in Vale’s previous game, adopting a no-nonsense approach and not over complicating things.
The winter conditions – icy cold blustery wind and the occasional hail did neither side any favours. GOAL: But it was during such a spell that Vale increased their lead, thus warming up the Vale supporters at least, when FREDI VESELI’S 30-yard shot slipped through Bywater’s hands.
The visitors had no option other than to attack and they certainly showed their intentions earl in the second half, giving Vale plenty to think about at the back.
One particular incident saw the referee nd his assistant intervene when things threatened to get out of control following a goalmouth scramble.
The eventual outcome was yellow cards issued to Rovers’ Nathan Tyson and to Vale’s Ryan Inniss, before the game was finally underway once again.
A few minutes later Tyson was left writing on the floor holding his face, but the referee hadn’t spotted any infringement so no action was taken.
In the 64th minute Vale were given food for thought when Uche Ikpeazu, who had caused the home side no end of problems when playing at Vale Park for Crewe Alex, came off the bench for the visitors.
Questions were being asked of the Vale team as a whole, not just the defence, as Paul Dickov’s side continued to press, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking at was all Doncaster.
Vale were battling for every ball and on a difficult pitch were playing a bit too, but Rob Page felt they needed fresh legs in there.
He introduced Louis Dodds into the action in the 71st minute, giving Ben Williamson a deserved rest after all of his tireless running.
He weather had taken its toll on the pitch, which had cut up quite badly and that was causing problems for both sides at times.
There was a disturbing sight for the home supporters when, limping rather badly, winger Mark Marshall was forced to leave the action – he was replaced by Chris Birchall.
GOAL: In the 87th minute Vale made sure there was to be no Rovers comeback, when BYRON MOORE cut in from the left before netting Vale’s third from the tightest of angles to sew up three valuable points for the Valiants.
PORT VALE: Chris Lines, Fredi Veseli, Ryan Inniss, Chris Robertson, Carl Dickinson, Byron Moore, Michael Brown, Michael O’Connor, Mark Marshall, Ben Williamson, Tom Pope. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Ryan McGivern, Chris Borchall, Chris Lines, Tommy O’Sullivan, Louis Dodds
DONCASTER ROVERS: Stephen Bywater, Dean Furman, Jamie McCombe, Abdul Razak, Harry Forrester, Nathan Tyson, Andy Butler, Enda Stevens, Richie Wellens, Reece Wabara, Kyle Bennett, SUBS: Marko Marosi, Cedric Evina, Theo Robinson, Curtis Main, Luke McCullough, Uche Ikpeazu, Billy Whitehouse
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