Port Vale v Swindon Town
Tuesday 2nd February 2016
At Vale Park
Attendance 3,256 including 177 visiting supporters
Vale kept up their impressive home form with a slender win against Swindon Town, albeit with a less than impressive performance against the Robins.
Vale started off brightly and got their rewards when skipper Carl Dickinson found the net with a back post header in the 6th minute, but he visitors attacking performance kept Vale pressed back inside their own half for much of the game.
The game is all about getting the goals your play deserves and despite Swindon’s neat football inside the Vale half, you have to give credit to the way defended, and for that alone, they deserved the three points.
Rob Page made three changes to his starting eleven to face Swindon Town, one enforced, in the shape if Ryan Inniss coming in at the heart of the defence in place of Ryan McGivern, who was serving a one-match suspension following his sending off at Wigan.
Ben Purkiss returned at right back, replacing Adam Yates, and recent signing Theo Robinson was preferred up front to JJ Hooper to make his full Vale debut after two substitution appearances.
Vale were clearly looking to put the disappointing performance against Wigan Athleic behind them and pressed high up the pitch right from the kick off.
GOAL:The home side were rewarded for their positive play inside six minutes when Louis Dodds lifted the ball into the box and CARL DICKINSON rose high at the back post to send a powerful downward header past Robins’ ‘keeper Lawrence Vigouroux.
The visitors were enjoying short spells of possession without really causing Vale too many problems and it was Vale who were looking the more likely of the two to score.
They went awfully close in the 19th minute when Dodds had the vision to try a shot from distance when he spotted the ‘keeper off his line.
Dodds lifted the ball over the ‘keeper nfrom well outside the box but the ball struck the inside of the far post. The ball shot off to the right and Ajay Leitch-Smith sent in an angled follow up shot which was blocked.
There were a few worries for the Vale when Anthony Grant went down inside the Swindon half and remained motionless whilst play went on, until the referee intervened and called to the touchline so the midfielder could receive treatment.
Fabien Robert tried his luck from outside the box but failed to trouble Alnwick with the shot a couple of feet wide of the ‘keeper’s left hand post.
Then a couple of minutes later Obika turned sharply inside the box, but could only fire straight at Alnwick, who caught the ball cleanly and held it to his chest.
Louis Dodds brought down Yaser Kasim and a minor scuffle ensued, during which Dodds received a slap across the face, but neither of the two match officials who were standing close by saw anything.
The visitors were having plenty of the ball and some of their football was pleasing on the eye, but they lacked the necessary penetration in the final third.
Despite a quick start to the game Vale were unable to keep up the momentum and no doubt that would be something that would be addressed at half time.
A stinging shot from Kennedey forced a save from Vigouroux. The ’keeper spilled the ball but Vale failed to take full advantage and the ball was forced out for a corner kick.
Vale had certainly livened up a bit in attack and were threatening to add a second goal, but were frustrated on a couple of occasions when they failed to shoot after finding an opening.
Vale made their first substitution in the 62nd minute when Robinson was taken off and replaced by JJ Hooper.
On 71 minutes Vale made a further two changes with Byron Moore coming on for Dodds and Sam Kelly replacing Matty Kennedy.
Swindon continued to press forward. Pushing Vale deep into their own half and Vale continued to defend well, getting a foot in when needed.
It wasn’t the prettiest of performances from the home side but some of the credit to that has to go to the visitors.
In stoppage time Anthony Grant held the ball up and then played Hooper in behind the Swindon defence, but Vigouroux managed to get a hand to his shot and Vale had to settle for a corner kick.
PORT VALE:Jak Alnwick, Ben Purkiss, Richard Duffy, Ryan Innis, Carl Dickinson, Louis Dodds, Anthony Grant, Sam Foley, Matty Kennedy, Ajay Leitch-Smith, Theo Robinson. SUBS: Ryan Boot, Remie Street, JJ Hooper, Adam Yates, Michael Brown, Sam Kelly, Byron Moore
SWINDON TOWN:Lawrence Vigouroux, Nathan Thompson, Bradon Ottewill, Fabien Robert, Yaser Kasim, Michael Doughty, Jeremy Balmy, Jon Obika, Jermaine Hylton, Anton Rodgers, Bradley Barry. SUBS: James Brophy, Lee Marshall, Josh Cooke, Tyrell Belford, Ellis Landolo, Jordan Young