Port Vale v Bury
Monday 28th December 2015
At Vale Park
Attendance: 5,467 including 685 visiting supporters
Vale gave the supporters some festive cheer as their impressive home record continued with a narrow 1-0 win over Bury, despite a late rally from the visitors.
The decisive goal was scored by substitute Sam Kelly, who had replaced the injured Ajay Leitch-Smith at the start of the second half.
Kelly didn’t take too long to make his mark on the game, cutting inside from the left in the 57th minute with an impressive run, to find the net with an even more impressive finish from the edge of the box.
Rob Page made just the one change to the Vale starting line-up for the visit of Bury, and that was an enforced change with the suspension of midfielder Anthony Grant.
Michael Brown came in from the cold for his first league appearance of the season, brought in to occupy a similar role to that of Grant.
While the only other new face came on the bench, with the inclusion of Achille Campion, in for Uche Ikpeazu, who was unavailable through illness.
Former Vale favourite Tom Pope was in the starting line-up for the visitors and as expected, he got a great reception from the home supporters before the game.
The visitors almost had a dream start to the game when Leon Clarke found himelf in the clear with just ten seconds on the clock following a chip over the Vale defence.
Fortunately for the Vale, ‘keeper Jak Alnwick was quick off his line to get a hand to the ball to avert the danger and the home side were able to clear their lines.
There was a scare for the visitors in the 4th minute when Byron Moore made space for a shot – his effort beat Daniel Bachmann in the Bury goal but struck his right hand post.
Vale went close again when Colin Daniel beat Joe Riley on the Vale left to send in a low cross towards the back post, where Ajay Leitch-Smith came sliding in, but despite stretching, couldn’t wuite get that decisive touch.
Vale were doing most of the pressing, pinning Bury deep inside their own half, though rarely threatening Bachmann in the Bury goal.
If Vale were to get the three points they were looking for, then they needed to make the most of their dominance and test the visiting goalkeeper more often.
Ajay Leitch Smith went down injured after challenging for the ball in the 28th minute but was able to continue up until half time, but he was replaced by Sam Kelly at the start of the second half.
The visitors began the second half confidently, with the home side looking a little disorganised and six minutes into the second period Richard Duffy came off worst when he and Pope clashed.
GOAL:In the 58th minute Vale finally broke the deadlock. SAM KELLY picked the ball out on the left ran inside and kept going before finishing in style from the edge of the box.
The visitors made a double substitution five minutes later in an attempt to get themselves back in the game, Danny Rose replacing Pope, who again got a tremendous reception from the home fans, and Reece Brown came on for Danny Pugh.
Vale went close to doubling their lead in the 68th minute when a well struck 25 yard free kick from Michael O’Connor was saved by Bachmann at full stretch to his right.
Reece Brown earned himself a yellow card for a late challenge on Byron Moore and can perhaps be thankful not to have been given his marching orders.
Vale made a change in the 84th minute when striker JJ Hooper came off the bench to replace Colin Daniel and in the 88th minute Chris Birchall came on for Byron Moore.
PORT VALE: Jak Alnwick, Ben Purkiss, Carl Dickinson, Ryan McGivern, Richard Duffy, Michael O’Connor, Sam Foley, Colin Daniel, Byron Moore, Ajay Leitch-Smith, Michael Brown. SUBS: Chris Neal, Remie Streete, Chris Birchall, JJ Hooper, Adam Yates, Sam Kelly, Achille Campion.
BURY: Daniel Bachmann, Danny Mayor, Nathan Cameron, Leon Clarke, Danny Pugh, Criag Jones, Peter Clarke, Kelvin Etuhu, Joe Riley, Tom Pope, Chris Hussey. SUBS: Chris Sedgwick, Reece Brown, Danny Rose, Anthony Dudley, Scott Burgess, George Miller