Exeter City v Port Vale
At St James Park
Emirates FA Cup 2nd Round
Sunday 6th December 2015
Attendance: 3,565 including 305 visiting supporters
Vale were dumped out of the FA Cup at St James Parkin a game where they rarely played to their full potential against League Two outfit Exeter City.
Take nothing away from the home side, they played some good stuff and pressed Vale high up the pitch for much of the game.
Vale were undone in the 19th minute of the game when Jordan Tillson headed home at the back post and in the 89th minute the home the home side made sure they were in the hat for the third round draw when Ollie Watkins broke from the halfway line – the flag stayed down and the City substitute slotted home from 15 yards.
Vale made two changes to their starting line-up for their Emirates FA Cup second round tie at St James Park, but three positional changes.
With skipper Carl Dickinson suspended, Ryan McGivern moved to left back, with Remie Streete coming in to replace him at the heart of the defence.
The other change saw the unfortunate Adam Yates drop to the bench after playing in Vale’s last few games and the return of Ben Purkiss at right back.
McGivern was forced to go off the pitch for treatment early on in the game after receiving a knock and the visitors had to continue with ten men for a few minutes before the Irishman was allowed back on.
The home side showed they wer ‘up for it’ in the opening period of the game. David Wheeler forced a save from Jak Alnwick on five minutes and Vale survived a bit of a goalmouth scramble a few minutes later.
Exeter were having the better of the early exchanges as Vale struggled to stamp their mark on the game and the home supporters sensed a victory.
GOAL:Sure enough, Exeter got their noses in front in the 19th minute when JORDAN TILLSON got up at the back post to meet a right wing corner, beating Alnwick from close range.
Exeter continued to put Vale under pressure, forcing the visitors deep into their own half and eight minutes later the Grecians had the ball in the net for a second time, Joel Grant firing home, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.
Vale had Alnwick to thank for keeping the score down when he leapt to his left to somehow claw away a looping header from Joel Grant, which was heading right for the top corner.
Somewhat,against the run of play, Vale almost levelled in the 42nd minute when Sam Foley nodded a cross from Chris Birchall back across goal and Ajay Leitch Smith’s first time effort clipped the crossbar.
Then in stoppage time Ryan McGivern tried his luck with a 30 yard shot which the Exeter ‘keeper, Bobby Olejnik punched away.
There was a let off for the Vale early in the second half when a right wing cross eluded the Vale defence and Joel Grant, just beyond the far post, sent the ball back across the face of goal from the tightest of angles.
Vale made a change in the 52nd minute when Rob Page sent on Uche Ikpeazu as a replacement for Louis Dodds as Vale hoped the big man could change Vale’s fortunes.
There was a worrying sight for the Vale when Anthony Grant went down and the physio was called on immediately, with the referee stooping down to take a closer look to make sure things were okay. Thankfully, after receiving treatment, Grant was able to continue.
Moments later Vale were almost in trouble again when they struggled to deal with a corner kick, but this time Ben Purkiss was well-positioned to clar off the line.
Vale then made their second change of the afternoon. Winger Sam Kelly came off the bench to take the place of Sam Foley on the Vale left.
The winger was soon causing the home side one or two problems with his turn of pace and trickery and he was looking like he might be the key to undo the Exeter defence.
Jamie Reid wasn’t too far off target for the home side with a 25 yard shot in the 74th minute which had Alnwick scampering across his line, but the ball flew inches wide of his left hand upright.
A minute later Chris Birchall earned himself a yellow card for a tackle from behind on Lee Holmes, when the Exeter man was stopped in his tracks after running at the Vale defence.
Then in the 78th minute Vale changed tactics when defender Remi Streete was replaced by striker JJ Hooper as Vale went in search of a late equaliser.
Alex Nicholls headed Jamie Reid’s right wing cross just inches wide as Exeter hit Vale on the break with just six minutes left on the clock.
GOAL:In the 89th minute, any hopes of Vale forcing a replay were put to bed when substitute OLLIE WATKINS broke from just inside his own half, raced away unchallenged and slotted the ball past Alnwick and into the net from just inside the box.
EXETER CITY: Bobby Olejnik, Craig Woodman, Lee Holmes, Aaron Davies, Alex Nichols, Jordan Moore-Taylor, Jamie Reid, David Wheeler, Jordan Tillson, Joel Grant, Troy Brown. SUBS: James Hamon, Matt Oakley, Clinton Morrison, Tom Nichols, Ollie Watkins, Joch Read, Kyle Egan
PORT VALE: Jak Alnwick, Ben Purkiss, Remie Streete, Richard Duffy, Ryan McGivern, Chris Birchall, Michael O’Connor, Anthony Grant, Sam Foley, Louis Dodds, Ajay Leitch-Smith. SUBS: Chris Neal, Uche Ikpeazu, Adam Yates, Colin Daniel, JJ Hooper, Sam Kelly, Aziz Deen-Conteh