Port Vale v Fleetwood Town
Saturday 13th February 2016
At Vale Park
Vale were forced to settle for a single point for the second time in a week as they were held to a goalless draw at home to Fleetwwod Town.
Vale went close to breaking the deadlock on a few occasions but couldn’t quite manage that little bit of magic in the final third of the pitch against a well-organised Fleetwood outfit who have now drawn six of their last seven matches.
Michael O’Connor could only make the bench against Fleetwood as boss Rob Page made just the one change from the side which performed so well against Coventry City in Vale’s previous game.
Ryan McGivern retuned as a substituteto replace Ryan Inniss during that game after serving a one-match suspension, and with Inniss still injured he took his place alongside Richard Duffy in the heart of the Vale defence.
Vale began the game on the back foot as the visitors went flat out in search of an early goal to hopefully unsettle their hosts.
It was important for Vale to keep their discipline and remain patient. They did just that and after five or six minutes the tide began to turn.
While it is fair to say the visitors looked like they could pose a threat at any time should Vale let their guard drop, it was the home side now who were making most of the running.
There can be no doubt that the hoem side were looking the better of the two, yet they struggled to make their mark in the final third and at times it was as if they had run into a brick wall.
It was easy to see why Fleetwood had not lost many of their recent fixtures, they were had-working and organised and very difficult to break down.
Bryon Moore carved out an opening for Ajay Leitch-Smith on 35 minutes when he skipped past his man, leaving him on his backside.
The winger cut inside before slipping the ball into the patch of Leitch-Smith, but Vale’s top scorer uncharacteristically mis-hit his shot and the chance was wasted.
With half time approaching Vale again went close when Theo Robinson gathered a low throughball from Dickinson down the left flank before leaving Nilsson in his wake. He headed for goal but his shot was blocked and Foley’s follow-up shot took a deflection to take it over the bar.
Vale were looking for a good start to the second half, yet it was the visitors who almost broke the deadloch with a 25 yard drive from Sarcevic which beat Jak Alnwick but crashed against the crossbar.
Byron Moore went close at the other end with a bicycle kick, but the visitors went straight up the other end, going close once again when Grant chested the ball down before hitting a shot with his left foot, Alnwick produced a fine save.
Vale made their first substitution in the 58th minute with Theo Robinson leaving the field to be replaced by JJ Hooper.
Vale were beginning to get on top again and twice went close – on each occasion Leitch-Smith getting his head to the ball, but neither header troubled Fleetwood ‘keeper Chris Maxwell.
As we reached the midway point in the second half it was still difficult to predict which side, if any, were going to take the lead, with the two of them attacking seemingly in turn.
It was Vale who again went closest in the 68th minute when Leitch-Smith showed great control and vision, to eventually try a
Low shot, but again Vale had to make do with a corner kick.
Vale made a second stage on the 77 minute mark when Sam Kelly came off the bench to replace Byron Moore in a straight swap.
It was still anybody’s game, but it was looking highly likely it would end goalless, but Vale made a third and final change in the 82nd minute when Michael O’Connor came on for Sam Foley.
PORT VALE: Jak Alnwick, Ben Purkiss, Carl Dickinson, Ryan McGivern, Richard Duffy, Matty Kennedy, Sam Foley, Byron Moore, Ajay Leitch-Smith, Theo Robinson, Anthony Grant. SUBS: Chris Birchall, Michael O’Connor, JJ Hooper, Adam Yates, Michael Brown, Sam Kelly, Ryan Boot.
FLEETWOOD TOWN: Chris Maxwell, Conor McLaughlin, Stephen Jordan, Eggert Jonsson, Amari Bell, Shola Ameobi, Robert Grant, Antoni Sarcevic, David Ball, Marcus Nilsson, Devante Cole. SUBS: JamilleMatt, Tyler Forbes, Victor Nirennold, Ashley Hunter, Nick Haughton, Aleksandar Gogic, Alex Kiwomya