Saturday 11th January 2014
Brentford v Port ValeAt Griffin Park
Attendance: 8.327 including 411 visiting supporters
BRENTFORD: David Button, Kevin O'Connor, Tony Craig, Sam Saunders, Clayton Donaldson, Alan McCormack, Shaleum Logan, George Saville, Alan Judge, Jake Bidwell, Marcello Trotta. SUBS: Richard Lee, Scott Barron, Will Grigg, Stuart Dallas, Martin Fillo, Toumani Diagouraga, Jake Reeves.
PORT VALE: Chris Neal, Adam Yates, Doug Loft, Louis Dodds, Gavin Tomlin, Tom Pope, Joe Davis, Chris Lines, Jack Grimmer, Anthony Griffith, Chris Birchall. SUBS: Sam Johnson, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Chris Shuker, Ben Williamson, Ryan Lloyd, Jordan Hugill, O'Neil
Despite a battling display from the Vale, they came away from Griffin Park with nothing for their efforts against league leaders Brentford as the home side extended their run to thirteen wins in fourteen games.
Vale went behind in the 28th minute to a striker from Marcello Trotta but clung on to the hopes of at least a point for their efforts until the 87th minute when Alan McCormack sealed the three points for the Bees.
Micky Adams made four changes at Griffin Park as Vale lined up to take on in-form League One Leaders Brentford with recent loan signing making his Port Vale debut.
Carl Dickinson missed out because o family reasons, Richard Duffy with an ankle injury and Chris Robertson illness, while Jennison Myrie-Williams dropped to the bench.
Joe Davis, recalled from a loan spell with Luton Town, came in alongside Grimmer in the heart of the Vale defence and Doug Loft slotted in at left back and Chris Birchall came back into the starting eleven.
Tom Pope almost capitalised on a poor back pass by Brentford defender Tony Craig very earl on in the game but couldn’t quite stretch far enough to get a toe on the ball and Bees’ ‘keeper Dave Button gratefully collected.
Brentford’s Jake Bidwell wasn’t too far off at the other end with an overhead kick from the edge of the 18 yard box, but Vale were certainly not overawed by the occasion.
Gavin Tomlin, looking for his fifth goal in consecutive games, cut in from the left and hit a shot with the outside of his right foot that curled just wide of the far post with Button beaten.
It was fair to say the home side were having slightly the better of things in front of their home crowd, but Vale were defending well and looking dangerous when they pressed forward.
Vale went close again when Chris Lines’ angled cross was met with a glancing header from Tom Pope leaving Button flat-footed, but the ball dropped the wrong side of the upright.
Vale striker Gavin Tomlin limped off in the 21st minute and was soon replaced by Jennison Myrie-Williams.
The winger was soon in action when Louis Dodds turned to send in a nicely flighted cross from the right, which Myrie-Williams met with a firm header just the wrong side of the post.
With a rare burst from midfield, Brentford’s recent loan-signing Alan Judge exploited a gap to test Chris Neal from twenty yards, but the Vale ‘keeper got down smartly to make the save.
Moments later Neal came to the rescue when he came quickly off his line to block Mercello Trotta’s attempt to apply the finishing touches to a shot from Judge.
GOAL:There was no stopping TROTTA seconds later, however, when the Brentford man hit a scorching 25 yard shot to give Neal no chance, giving the leaders a 28th minute lead..
Neal was called into action again with half time approaching when he turned away a swerving effort from Judge, but it would have been rough justice had the Vale trailed by two goals at the interval.
Vale had to sit back and soak things up a little in the opening minutes of the second half but they were not really troubled and Chris Neal didn’t have a save to make.
He was finally called into action in the 56th minute when he blocked a long range effort from Sam Saunders.
The home side had a goal ruled out after former Crewe striker Clayton Donaldon headed home at the far post, knocking Chris Neal to the ground at the same time.
And a minute later Neal pulled off what was probably the save of the game when he reacted quickly to dive to his right to stop a ferocious drive from Trotta.
Vale were certainly having to do a lot more inside their own half than they had in the opening forty-five minutes as the home side looked to seal the points.
Vale’s attacking threat was next to non-existent as the home side bossed things all over the park in a way they hadn’t managed to do during the first half.
Micky Adams decided to bring on freshen things up in the 71st minute with a double substitution, bringing on Jordan Hugill and Ben Williamson for Chris Birchall and Tom Pope.
The game opened up a little, with Vale going forward more, but they still didn’t have enough in their armour to force Button into making a save.
Chris Neal made a terrific save to deny Donaldson in the 86th minute, getting the slightest of touches to send the shot over his crossbar.
GOAL: But with three minutes of normal time to go, the ball fell to the feet of Alan McCormackALAN McCORMACKwho made no mistake from 12 yards, smashing the ball home to ensure a Brentford victory.