Narrow win for the Vale before the heavens opened
Vale recorded their fourth pre-season win with a narrow victory over Alfreton Town and it was a good opportunity to see midfielder Michael Brown in a Vale shirt after joining the club the previous day.
The former Leeds man played the opening forty-five minutes, putting in an impressive display in the middle of the park, confirming what a good acquisition he will be.
Michael O’Connor turned out in the second half, his second pre-season showing in a Vale shirt and he too impressed, as he did against Newcastle Town, showing an array of skills for all to see.
Vale surprisingly fell behind after five minutes, conceding for the first time since returning from the summer break.
GOAL: latched on to a net through ball before giving Ryan McGivern the slip and slotting home low to Chris Neal’s left.JAMIE JACKSONLively Alfreton strike
Chris Birchall was looking impressive on the Vale right, being fed mainly by Brown, and sending in cross after cross, but it was Louis Dodds who supplied Vale’s equaliser.
GOAL:, who was lurking dangerously at the near post, was able to turn the ball home from close range.RYAN LLOYD Dodds’ right-wing cross eluded everybody and
Vale were looking particularly dangerous down the right flank and had the ball in the net for a second time in the 4rd minute, this time the telling ball coming in from the left.
Ben Williamson showed good feet to create some space before whipping the ball in from the byeline for Chris Birchall to beat the ‘keeper from close range, only to discover he had been ruled offside.
GOAL:.CARL DICKINSONHowever, two minutes later Vale struck for the second time when a Chris Lines free kick was turned over the line by skipper for the day, defender
Vale made seven changes at the start of the second half and it was winger Mark Marshall who immediately began to catch the eye, using his silky skills down the right flank to cause the home side problems.
Sam Johnson made a decent save on the hour to keep Vale in front, but generally the visitors’ defence gave Alfreton little hope of getting on level terms.
“There was cause for concern when an intended clearance from Adam Yates smashed into the face of Tom Pope, who was back inside his own 6 yard box helping defend a corner.
Pope didn’t dwell on it for too long, rising gingerly to his feet to shrug it off – they are obviously made of stern stuff in Sneyd Green.
Vale reshuffled slightly with the introduction of Nathan Smith, who replaced Yates midway through the second half, Richard Duffy moving to right back to accommodate the youngster in the heart of the Vale back four.
Vale almost added a third goal when Marshall wriggled his way to the byeline before crossing into the box, but Colin Daniel’s header was just wide of the target.
Alfreton endured a thunderstorm of biblical proportions after the match, and players of both teams were soon scuttling out of their respective dressing rooms with rainwater pouring through on the floors.
on Monday, Bodmin Town on Wednesday and Tiverton Town on the following Saturday. Hopefully the weather is better down in Devon next week for the Vale tour, when they take on Plymouth Parkway