The Vale’s five-match unbeaten run ended at Peterborough United on Saturday afternoon.
- Match Report | Peterborough United 3 – 0 Port Vale
- League One top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris scores double to hand hosts all three points
- Joe Ward’s second half strike sealed the points for the Posh at the Weston Homes Community Stadium
PETERBOROUGH UNITED 3
Clarke-Harris 26, 36
PORT VALE 0
Port Vale’s five-match unbeaten run in all competitions came to an end on Saturday afternoon as Peterborough United ran out 3-0 winners at the Weston Homes Stadium.
League One’s top scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris scored twice for the hosts, before Joe Ward scored a late third as the Vale pushed for a way back into the game.
Manager Darrell Clarke named an unchanged side from last weekend’s League One victory over Shrewsbury Town, though Tom Pett and Brad Walker returned to the bench.
The Vale started the brighter of the two sides at the Weston Homes Stadium, with some early final third entries and crosses into the box testing the hosts’ resolve.
Jack Taylor headed off target from a Harrison Burrows cross in Peterborough’s first attempt on goal before the Vale broke and almost went ahead in spectacular fashion as Ellis Harrison aimed to beat Lucas Bergström from the halfway line, though the striker’s effort bounced wide of the vacant Posh goal.
Taylor, who featured in the majority of the hosts Championship matches last season, looked a threat from midfield in the opening phases of the game and he saw a powerful effort from 25 yards deflected just wide.
The Vale lost Funso Ojo with just over 20 minutes played as the Belgian midfielder sustained an injury and was replaced by Tom Conlon.
Five minutes later, the hosts went ahead through Clarke-Harris as the striker finished for his first of the afternoon and sixth goal of the season. Nathan Smith had done well to initially win possession back from Ricky-Jade Jones, who broke for the hosts, though Jones recovered to pinch the ball back from the Vale defender, before finding Kwame Poku, who played in Clarke-Harris to finish at close range.
Moments later, Josh Knight was denied an acrobatic second at the back post by an excellent Dan Jones block.
Ten minutes before half-time, Clarke-Harris did double the hosts advantage, with Poku the provider again, this time from the right of the penalty area where he crossed for the striker to slide in his seventh league goal of the campaign.
Jack Stevens denied Clarke-Harris a first-half hat-trick in the final few seconds the first 45 minutes as the striker met a floated cross to the back post and powerfully headed downwards only to be denied by a smart low save from the Vale’s keeper.
The Vale were forced to defend their penalty area on a couple of occasions early in the second half and Clarke-Harris went close to scoring a third with an audacious effort from the left that crashed back off the post.
At the other end, the Vale tested Bergström on the break as Harrison broke through the hosts defence before Gavin Massey set the ball into Danny Butterworth, who curled an effort at goal that the keeper comfortably saved.
Clarke introduced Dennis Politic and David Worrall from the bench just after the hour mark as the Vale boss looked to influence the game.
And Worrall quickly created an opening for Harrison, with a cross from the right headed narrowly off target by the striker, 25 minutes from time.
Vale continued to search for a way back into the game and Jones was the next to be denied as his header from a Worrall corner looked goal-bound, only to be cleared by the Posh backline.
However, the hosts put the result beyond doubt when the Vale were dispossessed in midfield and substitute Jack Marriott played in Ward, who broke into the area and finished beyond Stevens.
Smith almost scored a late consolation for the Vale, though his header from Worrall’s deflected cross was wide of Bergström’s left-hand post.
In five minutes of additional time at the end of the 90, Harrison glanced a header wide from a Cass cross, though the Welsh striker couldn’t grab the goal another battling performance deserved.
Peterborough United: Bergström, Ward, Knight, Kent, Burrows (Butler 77), J. Taylor, Fuchs, Jones (Marriott 71), Poku (Randall 77), Clarke-Harris (Mason-Clark 82), B. Thompson (N. Thompson 71)
Subs: Blackmore, Kyprianou.
Port Vale: Stevens; Cass, Smith, Jones; Benning (Worrall 58), Garrity, Ojo (Conlon 21), Massey; Butterworth (Politic 58), Harrison, Wilson (Walker 77).
Subs: Stone, Hall, Pett.