Port Vale v Swindon Town
Saturday 14th March 2015
Attendance: 5,120 including 593 visiting supporters
Vale’s hopes of a play-off place come the end of the season were dealt a blow when they were beaten by a determined Swindon Town side who are very much still in the mix for automatic promotion.
The visitors started strongly, running Vale ragged in the opening minutes and they took the lead in the 8th minute when Raphael Rossi Branco headed home from close range.
Vale gradually picked up and became stronger as the game went on. In the end their play deserved an equaliser, but they just couldn’t find a way past a hard-working Swindon defence.
Rob Page made just the one enforced change to the Vale starting eleven following the injury and subsequent departure to his parent club, Crystal Palace, of Ryan Inniss.
He was stretched off during Vale’s 3-2 win against Coventry City last weekend, leaving the door open for Ryan McGivern to come back after a lengthy spell out of the Vale starting eleven.
Vale were carved open with just a minute on the clock when Andy Williams found himself with space to shoot from inside the box, but to Vale’s relief he fired wide of the target when perhaps he ought to have done better.
A well-timed tackle inside the Vale box by McGivern on Williams prevented the Swindon striker from getting a shot in, with the visitors going all out for an early opener.
GOAL:They managed to get it just a few seconds later, in the 8th minute, when Harry Toffolo’s flag kick from the right was met at the far post by RAPHAEL ROSSI-BRANCO.
It was the Brazilian’s third goal of the season for the Robins and perhaps the easiest he will have scored, with the ball appearing to strike him on the forehead, rather than the other way round.
Massimo Luongo saw his hot come off Chris Neal’s right upright with the Vale ‘keeper well beaten as the visitors threatened to run riot early in the game.
The action soon switched to the other end, when Ben Williamson and Tom Pope both threatened to level the scores, though neither managed to test Robin’s ‘keeper Wes Foderingham.
Vale began to show signs they could get themselves back into the game, with a low drive from Ben Williamson being saved by Foderingham, but he threat the visitors posed at the other end refused to go away.
As the first half went on Vale were gradually looking stronger and more likely to get themselves a goal before half time.
Ben Williamson went close when he met a left wing cross from Mark Marshall with a stooping header which wasn’t too far off the target, dropping inches over the crossbar.
That equaliser didn’t come before the interval, but Vale will have gone in at the break knowing that if they could continue to play pretty much the same in the second half, providing they could keep it tight at the back, they stood a chance of getting something from the game.
Vale almost levelled in the 5th minute when Tom Pope was brought down just outside the box, winning a free kick and an obvious shooting opportunity.
Michael O’Connor lined up the free kick, 23 yards out and he proceeded to beat the Robin’s ‘keeper Foderington, but the ball struck the crossbar.
Vale made a double substitution on 62 minutes with Louis Dodds and Colin Daniel coming off the bench to replace Tom Pope and Byron Moore.
Foderingham kept out Williamson at his near post after the Vale striker had come in from the right, but in truth perhaps the better option for Williamson would have been to pick out the unmarked Daniel at the far post.
Foderingham again frustrated Vale, get down rather smartly to his left to touch away a low drive from the edge of the 18 yard box by Dodds.
The home side continued to press hard for an equaliser, piling on the pressure almost relentlessly, but they still couldn’t find a way through.
Vale threw everything but the kitchen sink at the visitors, but just couldn’t find a way past a stubborn and resilient Swindon defence.
Robins’ substitute Michael Smith went close to doubling the visitors’ lead in the fifth minute of stoppage time, striking the upright from close range, but in the end it didn’t matter as Mark Cooper’s side took the three points.
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Fredi Veseli, Chris Robertson, Ryan McGivern, Carl Dickinson, Byron Moore, Michael Brown, Michael O’Connor, Mark Marshall, Ben Williamson, Tom Pope. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Richard Duffy, Chris Birchall, Louis Dodds, Colin Daniel, Ryan Lloyd.
SWINDON TOWN:Wes Foderington, Nathan Thompson, Nathan Byrne, Massimo Luongo, Jack Stephens, Jordan Turnbull, Ben Gladwin, Andy Williams, John Swift, Harry Toffolo, Raphael Rossi-Branco. SUBS: Yaser Kasim, Michael Smith, Jon Obika, Jack Barthram, Jermaine Hylton, Anton Rodgers, Connor Johns
Follow our Audio Boom Channel and get audio clips to your phone or pc, including team news, interviews and lots more, all completely FREE.
Why not follow us?https://audioboom.com/channel/officialpvfc
Can’t get to the game? Why not listen to full match commentary, courtesy of Radio Stoke, on Valiant Player? Click Here to subscribe
Follow us on Twitter - @OfficialPVFC - for team news and regular match updates straight from the press box
Like us on Facebook - team news and regular match updates straight from the press box
There will be a full match report on the official website moments after the final whistle, with player and manager interviews to come later.
A match gallery (photos courtesy of Gerard Austin) will also appear on the site soon.