Port Vale v Gillingham
Saturday 18th September 2016
At Vale Park
Attendance: 4,719 including 197 visiting supporters
Vale recorded their fifth home win in a row since the start of the season as they moved withing two points of top spot, but they had to come from behind to do so against a very hard-working Gillingham outfit.
Josh Wright gave Justin Edinburgh’s side a 25th minute lead and Vale went into the half time interval still behind, with everything to do in the second forty-five minutes.
Vale’s patience paid off in the 76th minute when Remie Streete, who had earlier hit the woodwork, folloed up to drive home from 10 yards to level the scores.
Then sis minutes from time, Alex Jones netted his fifth Vale goal since joining the club on loan from Birmingham to make sure of all three points for Bruno Ribeiro’s men.
The two sides looked to be evenly matched during the opening minutes of the game, each of them pushing bodies forward in search of an early goal.
Gillingham midfielder Bradley Dack caught the eye for the visitors, looking to burst through the middle at every opportunity, but Vale defended well to keep the visitors at bay.
A free kick from the left taken by Paulo Tavares went through a sea of bodies, giving Gills’ ‘keeper Jonathan Bond an easy save to make in the 15th minute.
Up to that point the visitor’s goalkeeper had not had a lot to do, despite the Vale’s determination to get forward whenever the opportunity arose.
Emmanuel Osadebe was the first person to pick up a yellow card following a foul on Anthony Grant when the referee’s patience finally ran out after a serious of fouls by the Gillingham man.
Mark Byrne almost gave the visitors the lead when his shot took a nasty deflection to leave Jak Alnwick flat-footed, but the ball flew wide of the target.
GOAL: From the resulting corner the visitors took a 25th minute lead. The ball was played in to Cody McDonald who drove the ball towards goal and Josh Wright was at hand to stab home at the back post.
Moments later McDonald went close to doubling the visitors’ lead with a close range effort, but Nathan Smith blocked the shot on the line, chesting down before making the clearance.
Sam Foley went close just before half time when his close range header was blocked on the line by the foot of goalkeeper Bond and there was still time for more action when Foley appeared to be shoved in the back by Mark Byrne, with the referee waving play on despite the protests.
Vale were prepared to be patient during the second half, knowing if they went out all guns blazing, the Justin Edinburgh’s side would be more than capable of taking advantage of any gaping holes at the back.
Vale won a free kick in a central position 25 yards from goal and Tavares touched the ball short from Remie Streete to have a crack.
The Vale defender hit the ball as sweet as a nut. The ball travelled two inches off the ground all the way before thudding against Bond’s right hand upright.
Vale made a substitution in the 63rd minute when winger Gezim Shalaj was sent on to cause Gillingham a few problems, replacing midfielder Paulo Tavares.
GOAL: Vale levelled the scores in the 76th minute when Gezim Shalaj’s shot was too fierce for the Gill’s ‘keeper to hold on to and REMIE STREETE followed up to smash the home.
GOAL: Eight minutes later Vale deservedly got their noses in front with a low drive from ALEX JONES beat the ‘keeper to nestle into the bottom corner of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
PORT VALE: Jak Alnwick, Ben Purkiss, Remie Streete, Kjell Knops, Paulo Tavares, Sam Foley, Martin Paterson, Jerom Thomas, Nathan Smith, Alex Jones, Anthony Grant. SUBS: Calvin Mac-Intosch, Rigino Cicilia, Michael Brown, Quentin Pereira, Miguel Santos, Gezim Shalaj, Sam Hart
GILLINGHAM: Jonathan Bond, Max Ehmer, Deji Oshilaja, Scott Wagstaff, Cody McDonald, Paul Konchesky, Emmanuel Osadebe, Josh Pask, Bradley Dack, Mark Byrne, Josh Wright, SUBS: Suart Nelson, Jake Hessenthaler, Billy Knott, Darren Oldaker, Elliott List, Mitch Dickenson, Jay Emmanuel Thomas