Port Vale v Fleetwood Town
Sunday 3rd May 2015
Attendance: 5,355 including 165 visiting supporters
It was a disappointing end to the season at Vale Park as visitors Fleetwood Town prevented Vale from finishing on a high, taking all three points from the game.
The visitors went in front on 17 minutes thanks to a well struck volley from Josh Morris from just inside the Vale 18 yard box.
Just eight minutes later the Lancashire outfit doubled their advantage after David Ball rose to met a right wing corner and his header was stabbed over the line by Mark Roberts.
Vale pulled a goal back deep into stoppage time when Michael O’Connor’s 15 yard shot took a deflection on its way past Chnris Maxwell in the Fleetwood goal.
Rob Page made two changes for the final home game of the season, opting for Richard Duffy at the heart of the Vale defence and a first start for Mohamed Coulibaly.
Duffy came in as a straight replacement for Chris Robertson, who had to settle for a place on th bench, whilst Coulibaly came in for Louis Dodds, who picked up an injury at Yeovil in Vale’s previous game.
Vale, wearing next season’s home kit for the first time – and looking quite resplendent too – showed their attacking intentions right from the off in a game which they desperately wanted to win.
With League One football already assured for the 2015-16 season, there was nothing riding on the result of the game.
But pride and the thoughts of the possibility of a new contract, for most of the players at least, will have been enough to drive the Vale players on.
There were half chances to be had at both ends, but Vale were having most of the ball and the visitors spent much of the time camped deep inside their own half.
The nearest Vale came to opening the scores came in the 16th minute after Michael Brown was brought down 25 yards from goal. A curling free kick taken by Michael O’Connor wasn’t too far off target.
GOAL:A minute later though Vale were caught out when David Ball sent the ball into the Vale box from the right and JOSH MORRIS connected to volley the ball past Chris Neal from 15 yards out.
GOAL:Seven minutes later the visitors doubled their lead when David Ball nodded down a right wing corner and MARK ROBERTS was on hand to prod the ball over the line.
Despite all their pressing early on, Vale didn’t quite have the necessary cutting edge and at times it looked like too many of the players were already on the beach.
The visitors went close to adding a third goal on a couple of occasions, but with a two-goal cushion they seemed to take their foot off the gas a little.
Vale made two changes at the start of the second half. On came Achille Campion for Benm Williamson and Tommy O’Sullivan replaced Michael Brown in the middle of the park.
Vale had proved in their previous two home games, against MK Dons and Preston North End, thay can play against the better teams in League One.
They needed to do a lot more against Fleetwood Town to prove they can do it on a more consistent basis. Yes, relegation was no longer hanging over them, but supporters demand the effort is put in.
Vale were not exactly lacking in effort, they were putting in shift during the second half, but their play certainly seemed devoid of quality at times,
Vale made their third and final substitution with twenty minutes to go when Chris Birchall came on to replace Mohamed Coulibaly.
Two minutes later there were concerns over Michael O’Connor, who went down inside the Vale 18 yard box. After receiving treatment, he eventually resumed playing, but was obviously struggling.
To Vale’s credit they kept plugging away and almost pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute when Tom Pope got on the end of a right wing corner taken by O’Sullivan, forcing Fleetwood ‘keeper Chris Maxwell to claw the ball away from under his crossbar.
GOAL:Three minutes into stoppage time Vale finally pulled a goal back when MICHAEL O’CONNOR drilled a low 25 yard drive through a sea of bodies. The ball took a slight deflection on its way into the back of the net.
PORT VALE:Chris Neal, Fredi Veseli, Richard Duffy, Neill Collins, Carl Dickinson, Mark Marshall, Michael O’Connor, Michael Brown, Mohamed Coulibaly, Ben Williamson, Tom Pope. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Adam Yates, Chris Birchall, Enoch Andoh, Chris Robertson, Tommy O’Sullivan, Achille Campion.
FLEETWOOD TOWN:Chris Maxwell, Danny Andrew, Mark Roberts, Nathan Pond, Gareth Evans, Steven Schumacher, Josh Morris, Antoni Sarcevic, Jamie Proctor, Tyler Hornby-Forbes, David Ball. SUBS: Conor McLoughlin, Jeff Hughes, Brendan Moore, Stephen Jordan, Nick Haughton, Ashley Hunter, Stephen Crainey