Yeovil Town v Port Vale
Saturday 25th April 2015
Attendance: 4,127 including 523 visiting supporters
Vale took all three points from already-relegated Yeovil Town to send the 523 supporters from the Potteries home in a good mood as the result finally ended any talk of relegation.
Tom Pope had given the Valiants the lead early on in the game and the visitors were looking comfortable, but the home side levelled with 10 minutes to go.
Vale got their noses in front for a second time just three minutes later, with Michael Brown credited for the goal, but it took a terrific reaction save from ‘keeper Chris Neal in the dying seconds to ensure a Vale victory.
Rob Page made two changes for the trip to Somerset where Vale faced a resurgent Yeovil side at Huish Park, as the Valiants went looking to ensure League One football at Vale Park next season with a game spare.
One of the changes was enforced with Richard Duffy serving a one-match suspension, making way for Chris Robertson to come in at the heart of the Vale defence.
The other change saw the return of Tom Pope to the starting line-up after having such an influence against Preston last weekend – he came in to replace Achille Campon, who had to settle with a place on the Vale bench.
There was little to separate the two sides in the opening minutes of the game with play switching from one end to the other, though neither ‘keeper was called into action, other than to take goal kicks.
Glovers’ stopper Chris Weale was called upon to punch away an inswinging corner kick taken from the left by Michael O’Connor,
Vale had the ball in the Yeovil net in the 11th minute when Tom Pope met a right wing cross from Ben Williamson to send a powerful header into the net, only to see his effort ruled out by the referee.
GOAL: Two minutes later there were no arguments from anybody when TOM POPE made sure, sending a 15 yard shot into the top left hand corner of the net to put his side in front.
Mark Marshall picked up a harsh booking following a challenge on Shephard, when the Vale winger appeared to have played the ball and not the man.
Vale were at times living dangerously at the back, failing to clear with the ball bouncing back and forth inside the 18 yard box.
Weale did well to push out a fierce free kick from Michael O’Connor after Mark Marshall had won a free kick just outside the area. Play then switched to the other end, where Fergus Bell shot well over Chris Neal’s crossbar.
The Huish Park playing surface wasn’t conducive to fast or pretty flowing football – it was a case of winning the fifty-fifty balls and grafting hard for your team mates.
Vale weren’t doing too badly in those departments. Everybody was playing their part, with willing runners all over the pitch and each of them more than capable of sticking a foot in when needed.
The half time lead may have been slender, but it had been hard-earned and nothing more than the visitors deserved going in at the interval.
Neither side looked too impressive in the opening minutes of the second half, but it was Vale who were enjoying the biggest share of possession.
If the home side had played a part in the opening forty five minutes, Vale were doing all they could to make sure the Glovers made little or no impact during the second half.
The substitutions of Colin Daniel for Louis Dodds (54 minutes) and Chris Birchall for Ben Williamson in the 73rd minute gave the home side something else to think about.
GOAL:But with 10 minutes remaining the home side levelled the scores when CHIGOZIE UGWU hooked the ball home from close range at the back post.
GOAL:The home side’s celebrations didn’t last long, however, as three minutes later a free kick from Michael O’Connor was flicked on by MICHAEL BROWN to put Vale back in front.
With five minutes to go, Vale made a third change when Michael O’Connor went off and was replaced in the middle of the park by Tommy O’Sullivan.
Right at the death, in the final action of the game, Chris Neal was called upon to make a save, pushed Ugwu’s shot onto the post. The referee then blew for full time.
YEOVIL TOWN: Christopher Weale, Fergus Bell, James Berrett, Samuel Foley, Kieffer Moore, Chigozie Ugwu, Stephen Arthurworrey, Byron Webster, Josh Sheehan, Liam Shephard, Stephen Kingsley SUBS: Artur Krysiak, Nathan Smith, Joe Edwards, James Hayter, Ajay Leitch-Smith, Seth Twumasi, Joel Grant
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Fredi Veseli, Chris Robertson, Neill Collins, Carl Dickinson, Louis Dodds, Michael O’Connor, Michael Brown, Mark Marshall, Ben Williamson, Tom Pope. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Chris Birchall, Colin Daniel, Tommy O’Sullivan, Mohamed Coulibaly, Achille Campion.
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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.