Bristol Rovers v Port Vale
Saturday 24th September 2016
At the Memorial Ground
Attendance: 9,088 including 436 visiting supporters
Vale left the Memorial Stadium rueing what might have been as their dismal away form continued after Bristol Rovers came from behind to take all three points.
Martin Paterson had given the Vale a deserved 23rd minute lead and the Valiants looked to be cruising, until a minute before half time when Ellis Harrison planted a firm header into the Val net from close range.
Vale couldn’t quite match their first half dominance in the second forty-five minutes and the home side sealed the win in the 63rd minute when Jermaine Easter scored from the penalty spot.
Bruno Ribiero was forced into making the one change from the eleven who came back from behind to beat Gillingham at Vale Park in the Valiant’s previous fixture.
Sam Foley was the man forced to sit the game out through injury, giving an opportunity to Quentin Pereira to step in and hopefully give the kind of display he gave for the reserves in mid-week.
Perhaps Jermaine Easter should have done better when he fired well over Jak Alnwick’s crossbar in the second minute, but apart from thet early scare Vale bossed the opening minutes of the game.
Playing their usual brand of slick passing football, the Valiants kept possession well, moving the ball about in the Rovers’ half without putting pressure on goal.
It was the home side who were creating the better of the chances however, albeit not really clear cut chances, and for all their possession inside the Bristol half, Vale created little.
Remie Streete wasn’t too far off when he rose above the Rovers’ defence to meet a free kick from the right taken by Paulo Tavares.
GOAL: In the 23rd minute Vale went ahead when one of the few chances created was finish well by MARTIN PATERSON, who controlled a pass by Jerome Thomas, kept his composure and drove the ball low past Pirates’ ‘keeper Kelle Roos.
The first half continued to follow a similar pattern – Vale having most of the possession without really threatening and the home side created a few half chances without giving Jak Alnwick an awful lot to do.
GOAL: But Rovers put that right in the 44th minute when Ellis Harrison got up well at the back post to meet a left wing cross from Lee Brown with a powerful header to give Alnwick no chance.
Play was held up early in the second half when Kjell Knops went down inside the Vale six yard box and lay motionless. Fortunately he was able to continue after treatment.
Vale Physio James Rowland remained on the pitch, however, to treat Jermaine Thomas, who was forced to leave the field of the play and Gezim Shelaj came on to replace him.
GOAL: The home side were presented with an ideal opportunity to go in front for the first time in the game when substitute Byron Moore was upended inside the box and Jermaine Easter made no mistake from the penalty spot in the 64th minute.
Vale reacred with a substitution in the 67th minute when midfielder Tavares was withdrawn and Rigino Cicilia sent on as a replacement, with Vale switching formation accordingly.
Former Vale man Byron Moore almost caused further problems for Ribiero’s side when his deft curling shot from the left beat everybody, only to come back off the far upright.
Vale pushed for an equaliser with Shalaj showing some fancy footwork on the left hand side, before Vale made another change when Michael Brown came on for Quentin Pereira in the 77th minute.
Vale couldn’t find a way back into the game, however, and left the Memorial Stadium thinking about how things could have been so different if the had converted possession into goal scoring chances in the opening forty five minutes.
BRISTOL ROVERS: Kelle Roos, Daniel Leadbetter, Lee Brown, Tom Lockyer, Peter Hartley, Ollie Clarke, Ellis Harrison, Chris Lines, Jermaine Easter, Stuart Sinclair, Rory Gaffney. SUBS: Steve Mildenhall, James Clarke, Byron Moore, Billy Bodin, Luke James, Hiram Boateng, Charlie Colkett
PORT VALE: Jak Alnwick, Ben Purkiss, Remie Streete, Nathan Smith, Kjell Knops, Alex Jones, Paulo Tavares, Anthony Grant, Quentin Pereira, Jerome Thoms, Martin Paterson. SUBS: Calvin Mac-Intosch, Rigino Cicilia, Michael Brown, Kiko, Miguel Santos, Gezim Shalaj, Sam Hart.