Port Vale v Rochdale
At Vale Park
Tuesday 16th August 2016
Attendance 3,941 including 175 visiting supporters
Vale picked up another deserved three points with a slender win over Rochdale – their second 1-0 home win in a matter of days.
The match winner came from the head of young Vale defender Nathan Smith, who rose above the Rochdale defence in the 52nd minute to meet a Sam Foley free kick.
It was a well-deserved win against a decent footballing side, and the home fans certainly showed their appreciation of the football played by their own side.
There were two changes in the Vale starting eleven lining up to face Rochdale in the Valiants’ second home fixture in the space of four days.
With Rigino Cicilia ruled out with the injury incurred against Southend at the weekend, Anton Forrester, who netted Vale’s opener in that fixture, was on from the start.
The second change made by boss Bruno Ribeiro was to recall Ben Purkiss, with Calvin Mac-Intosch the unfortunate one to make way for one of the three players appointed as skipper by the manager.
The visitors started the game looking strong and getting bodies forward in search of an early goal to unsettle the Vale defence, but to their credit they stood strong.
It didn’t take too long for Vale to get a grip on the game and before long they were moving the ball about well, following the manager’s instructions to the letter.
Former Valiant Calvin Andrew earned himself a ticking off for a challenge on Remie Street just inside the Vale half, but it was nothing too serious.
Vale ‘keeper Jak Alnwick was forced to go down to his right to make a save after Anthony Grant unwittingly gave the ball away in the middle of the park, but Vale were looking the better of the two sides in the early stages.
The visitors, with Andrew ploughing a lone furrow up front, had packed the midfield to try and stop Vale from playing, but Anthony Grant, Sam Foley and Paulo Tavares were still heavily involved.
Anthony Grant picked up his third yellow card of the season for what the referee deemed to be a rash tackle right in front of the dugouts – s decision that didn’t go down too well with the home crowd.
Vale had a great opportunity to take the lead in the 27th minute when Hooper’s cross towards the back post from the right was met by the head of Forrester - unfortunately he could only steer his header wide of the target.
The visitors were playing some nice football at times and they managed to carve Vale open, with Henderson getting in behind the defence, but he somehow fired wide from close range.
GOAL:Vale started the second half well and went in front in the 52nd minute when Sam Foley’s free kick from the right was met by the head of NATHAN SMITH.
It may have taken a deflection on its way past the ‘keeper, but the young Vale defender will rightfully claim the goal as his own.
Vale made a change in the 55th minute when Jerome Thomas, who had picked up a knock, was withdrawn and his place was taken by Anthony de Freitas.
In the mind-set of the Vale players now was to stay solid as a unit and protect that lead. That didn’t mean they sat back and defended, but they knew they had to remain disciplined.
Vale had to reshuffle things in the 70th minute when Kjell Knops was forced off and Chris Mbamba came off the bench to replace him. Anthony de Freitas dropped back into the left back spot vacated by Knops.
Vale were patient with their approach, but every now and then showed a real determination to find a second goal to give them some breathing space, and the crowd showed their appreciation.
Val made a further change in the 84th minute. Anton Forrester, who had ran his socks off for the cause, came off to a well-deserved round of applause and in his place went Alex Jones.
Two minute later Jones was brought down inside the box and the referee didn’t hesitate to award a penalty kick. Unfortunately JJ Hooper hit the spot kick wide of the target.
Jak Alnwick kept Vale in it when he palmed the ball away four minutes into stoppage time, but it would have been harsh on the home side if that had prevented them from winning the game.
PORT VALE: Jak Alnwick, Ben Purkiss, Remie Streete, Nathan Smith, Kjell Knops,Sam Foley, Paulo Tavares, Anthony Grant, Jerome Thomas, JJ Hooper, Anton Forrester, SUBS: Ryan Boot, Calvin Mac-Intosch, Sam Kelly, Chris Mbamba, Alex Jones, Sebastien Amoros, Anthony de Freitas.
ROCHDALE: Joshua Lillis, Scott Tanser, Jimmy McNulty, Niall Canavan, Harrison McGahey, Calvin Andrew, Nathaniel Mendez Laing, Donal McDermott, Jamie Allen, Andrew Cannon, Ian Henderson. SUBS:Matthew Lund, Callum Camps, Joseph Thompson, Conrad Logan, Aaron Morley, Oluwasanmi Odelusi, Joseph Bunney