Fleetwood Town v Port Vale
At The Highbury Stadium
Saturday 26th September 2015
Attendance: 3,560 including 891 visiting supporters
Vale came from behind to record their first away win of the season, answering their critics after losing their two previous games.
They were made to work hard for the three points. Despite starting the game well, vale trailed at the interval and to be honest, looked second best.
But Colin Daniel, who came off the bench to replace Uche Ikpeazu at the start of the second half, levelled the scores in the 56th minute and Vale knew they were right back in the game.
Eight minutes later Vale were awarded a spot kick when Anthony Grant was brought down inside the box, and Sam Foley tucked it away to put Vale in the driving season.
Despite a few scares at the other end, when ‘keeper Jak Alnwick had to earn his corn, Vale were in the end good value for the three points.
Vale made one change to the starting line-up to face Fleetwood Town at the Highbury Stadium following successive defeats.
Manager Rob Page decided to partner Uche Ikpeazu with Ajay Leitch-Smith up front, with Louis Dodds playing on the right and Byron Moore on the left, leaving Enoch Ando to start on the bench.
There was a scare for the Vale early on in the game when skipper Carl Dickinson knocked the ball back to his ‘keeper, but didn’t quite put enough pace on it.
Jek Alnwick raced off his line and with Fleetwood striker Jamille Matt going for the same ball, the Vale ‘keeper came worse off when the pair of them clashed.
Matt was shown the yellow card for his part in the incident and thankfully, the Vale ‘keeper was able to resume after receiving treatment from physio James Rowland.
Vale were looking every bit as sharp as their hosts and went close to taking the lead in the 12th minute when a flowing Vale move involving Foley, Leitch-Smith and Ben Purkiss presented Louis Dodds with a half chance.
Dodds turned sharply and was forced to shoot early, dragging his shot across goal and beyond the far post with 13 minutes on the clock.
A minute later Vale were to rue that miss when Bobby Grant worked his way into the Vale box before slotting the ball into the far corner of the net, inside Alnwick’s right hand upright.
Vale continued to have much of the possession, but without finding that all-important cutting edge in the final third.
A neat bit of footwork by Byron Moore inside the Fleetwood box was followed by a nicely weighted ball to Sam Foley, just outside the 18 yard area, but his shot floated harmlessly over Chris Maxwell’s crossbar.
Vale were not hitting the standards they had set themselves earlier in the season and although they had their fair share of possession, they did little to suggest they were about to get back on level terms before half time.
In the 45th minute of the game Ryan Inniss went down injured after winning a header just over the halfway line and immediately informed the bench he was in trouble, whilst pointing at his right shoulder.
The Vale physio ran on to give treatment and within seconds called his Fleetwood counterpart onto the field of play to assist him.
Unfortunately the big defender was unable to continue after treatment and was helped off, with Remi Streete coming off the bench to replace him.
Vale almost conceded a second goal in stoppage time, but thankfully Anthony Grant was well positioned to clear off the line.
Shortly after that, Matt headed a right wing corner of, and David Ball headed against the Vale crossbar. There were no doubt harsh words to be voiced in the dressing room at half time.
Vale made a second change at the start of the second half. Uche Ikpeazu was replaced up front by Colin Daniel as Vale looked to freshen things up.
Vale began the second half brightly, looking to have more purpose in the final third than they had in the opening forty-five minutes.
GOAL: Sure enough, Vale drew level in the 56th minute when Leitch-Smith played a short ball into the path of COLIN DANIEL, whose powerful low drive from the edge of the box gave Maxwell no chance.
When Vale were awarded a penalty in the 65th minute of the game it was no more than they deserved after an impressive turnaround.
GOAL: Anthony Grant was the Vale man upended on the edge of the six yard box and SAM FOLEY calmly tucked away the resulting spot kick to give Vale the lead.
Alnwick’s point blank save from a close range header by Fleetwood substitute Jamie Proctor ensured Vale kept their noses in front.
The Vale ‘keeper then needed two attempts to get hold of a 25 yard free kick by Bobby Grant with Vale forced to endure a short spell of pressure.
Fleetwood’s Bobby Grant was perhaps a little fortunate to get away with just a yellow card after diving in on his Vale namesake, Anthony, as things started getting heated.
Then seconds later Fleetwood substitute Declan McManus also received a yellow card after a nasty challenge in Richard Duffy, which left the Vale defender requiring treatment.
Vale were forced to change their game slightly as the home side pressed for an equaliser. Vale were looking to hit Colin Daniel nice and early to relieve the pressure and to keep the home side on their toes.
Ajay Leitch Smith was replaced by Chris Birchall in the fifth minute of seven indicated minutes of stoppage time, probably a move designed to waste a bit if time.
FLEETWOOD TOWN: Chris Maxwell, Conor McLaughlin, Jimmy Ryan, Jamill Matt, Tyler Forbes, Bobby Grant, Victor Nirennold, Antoni Sarcevic, David Ball, Nick Haughton, Richard Wood. SUBS: Stephen Jordan, Eggert Jonsson, Jamie Proctor, Lyle Della-Verde, Declan McManus, Ashley Hunter, Andreas Arestidou
PORT VALE: JakAlnwick, Ben Purkiss, Ryan Inniss, Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson, Louis Dodds, Sam Foley, Anthony Grant, Byron Moore, Ajay Leitch-Smith, Uche Ikpeazu. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Remie Streete, Chris Birchall, Jak McCourt, Colin Daniel, JJ Hooper, Enoch Andoh