Port Vale v Sheffield United
At Vale Park
Saturday 3rd October 2015
League OneAttendance: 6,822 including 1,826 visiting supporters
Vale took their tally to seven points in eight days with an excellence performance against much fancied Sheffield United at Vale Park and a two-one win.
Byron Moore put Vale in front when he netted from close range in the 27th minute and the home side went on to dominate the opening forty five minutes.
Uche Ikpeazu hit a cracker of a goal – his sixth goal of the season – right on half time to put Vale well in command.
Predictably the visitors came out all guns blazing in the second half but just as Vale looked like getting a well-deserved clean sheet, substitute Matt Done pulled a goal back deep into stoppage time.
Rob Page made one change to his starting eleven as the Vale geared up to take on one of the manager’s former sides.
Ajay Leitch-Smith was the unfortunate one who stepped down to the bench, making way for the return to the starting eleven for Uche Ikpeazu.
Louis Dodds, who missed the midweek game against Oldham Athletic with a calf strain, was back in the squad, but he had to settle for a place on the Vale bench.
There was little to separate the two sides in the opening minutes of the game, wit the two of them cancelling each other out.
The visitors could have taken an early lead had David Edgar managed to keep his close-range header down, but he could only manage to direct it over the Vale crossbar.
Billy Sharp almost got in behind the Vale defence, but Richard Duffy came in with a well-times sliding tackle to avert the danger.
Vale were working the ball up well, but were not doing quite enough in the final third to cause Blades’ ‘keeper Mark Howard too many problems.
That was all to change in the 17th minute, however, when Enoch Andoh slipped past his man to put in a cross from the left and was met by a firm stooping header from Colin Daniel, with the ‘keeper only able to parry.
GOAL:Daniel reacted quickly to the loose ball, pushing the ball to his right to BYRON MOORE, who made no mistake, side-footing home from close range to give Vale the lead.
Vale then began to enjoy a period in which they were well on top, with the visitors starting to rely more and more on the counter-attack.
Ideally, Vale needed to add to their tally to take full advantage of their superiority, with both Sharp and Sammon lurking dangerously whenever the visitors managed to get the ball forward.
The Vale players were clearly well up for the game, with a lot of good work being done on and off the ball all over the park.
Sharp went close with a back post header when he met a cross from Ryan Flynn on the left, but with Duffy in close attendance he was unable to direct his effort on target.
GOAL:Vale got the cushion they had been looking for, going into a two-nil lead in the 45th minute with a superb strike from UCHE IKPEAZU, who dug the ball from under his feet on the edge of the box and thundered in a shot via the underside of the crossbar.
The visitors went looking for a quick replay after the interval and within two minutes of the restart they really ought to have pulled a goal back.
Vale were carved open and Sammon pulled the ball back from the byeline on the right for Sharp to slot home from just a couple of yards out.
That is what was in the script for what looked like a bread and butter goal for the striker, but somehow Vale ‘keeper Jak Alnwick managed to get down to make the save.
Alnwick got down to make a comfortable save from a rather feeble shot by Blades’ substitute Che Adams and then former Vale loanee Neill Collins sent a looping header onto the top of the net with the visitors now on the front foot.
Vale had what looked like a good shout for a penalty kick turned down when Enoch Andoh went down under pressure inside the Sheffield United box – the referee clearly not convinced.
Vale were far from finished and they went close to a third goal when both Andoh and Ikpeazu were denied a clear shooting chance from close range.
The ball ricocheted out to Colin Daniel just outside the box, who hit a thunderous shot against the visitors’ crossbar with Howard flat-footed.
With nothing to lose, the visitors pushed men forward at every opportunity, but Vale remained well-organised and resolute at the back.
Vale made their first change of the game in the 74th minute when Uche Ikpeazu was taken off and fresh legs introduced in the shape of Louis Dodds.
The visitors continued to throw bodies forward and by now Vale were defending for their lives as they came under more and more pressure.
In the 90th minute Vale made a second substitution with manager Rob Page again deciding fresh legs were required. Ajay Leitch-Smith came on for Colin Daniel.
The Blades almost relentless pressure finally paid off five minutes into stoppage time when Matt Done pulled a goal back, but as soon as the match re-started the referee blew his whistle for full time.
PORT VALE:Jack Alnwick, Ben Purkiss, Remie Streete, Richard Duffy, Carl Dickinson, Byron Moore, Antony Grant, Sam Foley, Enoch Andoh, Uche Ikpeazu, Colin Daniel. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Chris Birchall, Ryan McGivern, JJ Hooper, Ajay Leitch-Smith, Michael Brown, Louis Dodds
SHEFFIELD UNITED:Mark Howard, Kieron Freeman, David Edgar, Neill Collins, Kieran Wallace, Paul Coutts, Jose Baxter, Chris Basham, Ryan Flynn, Billy Sharp, Conor Sammon. SUBS: George Long, Jay McEveley, Terry Kennedy, Louis Reed, Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Che Adams, Matt Done