Coventry City v Port Vale
The Ricoh Arena
Saturday 7th March 2015
Attendance: 9,446 including 1,745 visiting supporters
Vale came from behind at the Ricoh Arena to take all three points and to record a third successive away victory and their fourth win in five games to keep on the tail of the play-off contenders.
Rob Page’s side went behind as early as the fourth minute, but turned things around with goals from Tom Pope and Mark Marshall during a five minute spell to lead at the interval.
The home side levelled matters with twenty minutes to go, but the Valiants wrapped up the points with a superb Michael O’Connor free kick just six minutes later.
Understandably, Rob Page went with the same starting eleven as Vale’s previous four fixtures for Vale’s first ever meeting with Coventry City at the impressive Ricoh Arena.
The bench was also unchanged as the Vale management team kept faith in the players who had won three games on the trot before the midweek defeat to Oldham Athletic.
Vale couldn’t have got off to a worse start to the game, going behind after just three and half minutes, when a speculative 25 yard speculative effort from JIM O’BRIEN found the target.
For a side who had conceded just the one goal in over five and a half hours going into the game, it was a shock to say the least and gave Vale everything to do.
Carl Dickinson picked up a yellow card in the 15th minute following a tackle midway inside the Vale half, but the Vale defender protested his innocence, claiming to have played the ball.
With the Vale defence retreating a little too easily, the home side went close to a second goal when Dominic Samuel found himself in space, but thankfully his shot took a deflection to take it out for a corner.
Tom Pope and Ben Williamson both threatened at the other end, but Vale were not looking anything like the side they had done in their previous two away games.
Vale enjoyed a spell of pressure, but found Sky Blues’ ‘keeper in a commanding mood in his area, collecting everything that came into the box.
Ryan Inniss collected his fifth yellow card in five Vale appearances following a lunging tackle which saw the Vale defender come worse off.
He received lengthy treatment on the pitch, before eventually being stretchered off and Ryan McGivern came off the bench to take up his position in the heart of the Vale defence.
We later received information that Inniss had been taken to hospital with a suspected fractured ankle.
GOAL:Five minutes before half time when Michael O’Connor’s shot from outside the box was touched by a Coventry defender and then Ben Williamson before TOM POPE scuffed shot from close range trickled over the line.
GOAL:Four minutes later Vale got their noses in front when Michael O’Connor and MARK MARSHALL combined inside the Coventry box and the winger squeezed the ball past Lee Burge.
Samuel went close with a dipping 25 yard drive in first half stoppage time, but despite a rocky start, Vale were good value for their lead at the interval.
Tom Pope received a bang to the head early in the second half after going up for a challenge with Adam Burton just inside the Coventry half.
Vale went close to a third goal when Tom Pope knocked the ball down to Byron Moore, who controlled, turned and shot in an instant, only to see his shot clear the crossbar.
Vale continued to have the better of things without really threatening the Coventry goal too often and defended solidly as a unit when called upon.
GOAL:But in the 70th minute the home side were back on level terms when the Vale defence backed off, eventually allowing substitute SANMI ODELUSI to crack home the equaliser from 15 yards.
Vale came within a whisker of retaking the lead just moments later when a 25 yard free kick from Michael O’Connor struck the side-netting.
GOAL:That goal seemed to serve as a warm-up for the real thing, because six minutes later, from an identical position, MICHAEL O’CONNOR put the ball the other side of the same upright to put Vale in command once again.
Vale made a change a minute later with the withdrawal of Ben Williamson, as Louis Dodds was thrown into action in the middle of the park.
In the 81st minute Vale made a second substitution when Colin Daniel came off the bench to replace Byron Moore.
Vale had shouts for a spot kick waved away in the 90th minute when Tom Pope went down in the box right under the nose of the travelling supporters.
COVENTRY CITY:Lee Burge, Jon Fleck, Jim O’Brien, Dominic Samuel, Adam Barton, Aaron Phillips, Frank Nouble, Marcus Tudgay, Aaron Martin, Matthew Pennington, Chris Stokes. SUBS: Reice Charles-Cook, Andrew Webster, Luke Wiliams, Simeon Jackson, Sanmi Odelusi, Blair Turgott, Jack Finch.
PORT VALE:Chris Neal, Fredi Veseli, Chris Robertson, Ryan Inniss, Carl Dicksinson, Byron Moore, Michael Brown, Michael O’Connor, Mark Marshall, Ben Williamson, Tom Pope. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Ryan McGivern, Chris Birchall, Louis Dodds, Chris Lines, Colin Daniel
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A match gallery (photos courtesy of Gerard Austin) will also appear on the site soon.