Scunthorpe United v Port Vale
Saturday 30th April 2016
Attendance 7,275 (the number of visiting supporters not given).
Vale’s play-off hopes, however slender, were finally put to bed following a defeat at Glanford Park following a second half close range header from Paddy Madden.
Vale had arguably had the better of things in the first forty-five minutes without managing to put too much pressure on home ‘keeper Luke Daniels.
The second half saw an improved performance from the home side, still with play-off aspirations of their own, and when Madden was allowed space to get on the end of a ball sent in from the right, there was only one outcome, and Vale were forced to return home empty-handed.
There were no real surprises when the Vale team was announced before the game, despite Ajay Leitch-Smith returning after a hamstring injury.
Boss Rob Page decided to reward the eleven who started against Rochdale in their previous fixtures after a convincing win against Rochdale.
Vale top goal scorer Leitch-Smith wasn’t risked from the start, meaning Vale continued with the partnership of JJ Hooper and Theo Robinson up top.
By the time the game kicked off, however, it was discovered that Remie Street wasn’t playing and instead Adam Yates played on Vale’s right, with Ben Purkiss moving inside alongside Richard Duffy and Ryan McGivern.
Vale started well enough, keeping the home side pinned inside their own half for much of the time, with the first chance of the game going to Michael O’Connor, whose shot was well over the bar.
Jak Alnwick’s first piece of the action was to punch away a free kick in a crowded area, only to discover the whistle had blown in Vale’s favour, and Richard Duffy required treatment.
A curling shot from Theo Robinson took a deflection, taking it wide of the goal, but earning Vale a corner kick which came to nothing.
Vale were looking the more dominant of the two sides, having plenty of possession and the better of things from a territorial perspective.
Vale survived a goalmouth scramble when Williams was allowed to cut in from Vale’s left toput a low ball into the box, but the defence stood up well and Alnwick wasn’t troubled.
After a sunny start to the game, the rain began to fall quite heavily and while that may have affected the home crowd, it didn’t dampen the spirits of Vale’s following who were in fine voice behind Jak Alnwick’s goal.
A long distance effort from Williams ensured Alnwick was on his toes. Although he had plenty of time to see it, it had him stretching to collect the ball under his crossbar.
With half time approaching Vale were facing a growing threat as the home side pushed the visitors back, but the defence stood firm and the two sides went in level at the break.
Any thoughts of Vale getting complacent were put to the test early in the second half when a shot from Adeluken zipped past Alnwick’s left hand post.
A mistake by Michael Brown saw Duffy intervene to prevent the home side getting a clear run on goal, and earning himself a yellow card in the process.
A lofted effort from ten yards inside the Vale half by Adelakun had Alnwick scrambling across his line, but thankfully the ball dropped wide of the target.
GOAL:Sam Foley took the ball on at the other end, running at goal before unleashing a shot over the bar, but moments later the home side went in front when Madden got up to head home from close range.
Vale made a change on 65 minutes with the introduction of Ajay Leitch-Smith, who came off the bench to replace Theo Robinson.
Vale made a double substitution in the 73rd minute, Sam Kelly and Byron Moore replacing Adam Yates and Michael O’Connor as Vale switched to four-four-two.
Alnwick had to be at his best when a fierce shot from Adelakun took a deflection, getting down smartly to his right to make a fine save.
SCUNTHORPE UNITED:Luke Daniels, David Mirfin, Luke Williams, Paddy Madden, Stephen Dawson, Hakeeb Adelakun, Conor Townsend, Tom Hopper, Murray Wallace, Jamie Ness, Jordan Clarke. SUBS: Joe Anyon, Scott Laird, Dominic Vose, Jack King, Charlie Goode, Noel Burdett, Kyle Wooton.
PORT VALE: Jak Alnwick, Ben Purkiss, Adam Yates, Richard Duffy, Ryan McGivern, Carl Dickinson, Byron Moore, Michael Brown, Sam Foley, JJ Hooper, Theo Robinson. SUBS: Chris Birchall, Sam Kelly, Byron Moore, Ryan Boot, Ajay Leitch-Smith, Dan Turner