Vale need a win in their final fixture to secure the title
Reserves Grab Point That Leaves Title Hopes Alive
Port Vale 1 (0) v Walsall 1 (0)West Division
Tuesday 31 March 2015
PORT VALE:Harry Pickering, Adam Yates Kyle Clarke 45), Aziz Deen-Conteh, Billy Reeves, Richard Duffy, Ryan McGivern, Chekaine Steele, Colin Daniel (Omar Haughton 45), Jonathon Kapend, Achille Campion (Daniel Turner 45), Enoch Andoh.
SUBS NOT USED:Calum Ferrie, Lewis Bergin.
WALSALL:CraigMacGillivray, Jamie Smith, Matt Benning, Lewis Probert, Matt Preston, Liam Kinsella, Luke Delaney, Reece Flanagan, Amadou Bakayoko (Maziar Kouhyar 81), Tevin Shakespeare (Kyle Rowley 75), Jordan Murphy.
SUBS NOT USED:Dan Jezeph, Levi Rowley.
The game was played in atrocious conditions as driving wind swept across the training pitches for the start of the game after the warm up had seen hail blasting the players; the weather did brighten up but the continuing wind made airborne passes a lottery. Vale faced the wind in the first period and it soon became obvious that the ball had to be kept on the ground and both teams tried their hardest to overcome the conditions and slippery pitch.
The first incident of note came when a pass saw Bakayoku unmarked on the edge of Vale’s penalty area; he sized up a shot to beat Pickering at the far post but the ‘keeper was quickly down to grasp the ball and keep Vale level. Vale were soon making their way up-field with Campion on the left and although the ball into the box caused Walsall some concerns the ball never broke to enable a chance and MacGillivray grabbed the ball before Clarke could threaten.
minute saw the best chance fall to Bakayoko as Vale appealed for offside as he bore down on goal but again Pickering was down well to push his shot away and Yates completed the defending by challenging Shakespeare as he lined up a shot on the empty net and it went wide for a goal kick. A cross from Andoh was blown out away from goal and Steele’s header was wide of the goal and the following cross from Daniel was again blown away from goal and all the players as the half finished goalless.thTe 25
Vale took off 3 of the senior players at halftime and play was still being wind affected. Walsall took the lead after 54 minutes as McGivern was penalised for knocking over a visiting player and a quick free kick saw Walsall manager Dean Smith’s son, Jamie swing an inch perfect cross over on to Bakyoko’s head and he put the ball away from close range to put Vale behind. At this stage Walsall were looking good value for their lead and Pickering was called upon to make another save to keep Vale in the game.
challenged MacGillivray the ‘keeper punched the ball onto the back of his head and it came back to go just inside the post and into the net.KapendHaughton then saw another cross put away for a corner from which Kapend won another as Vale struggled to keep these crosses from going straight out again. With 14 minutes remaining Vale got the all important equaliser as Haughton again strode forward but from a central position, the ball went out to Deen-Conteh who centred and as Haughton then began to have an influence on the game with raids down the left wing; one of these saw a driven cross to the near post deflected just wide by Probert.
With minutes remaining Vale again broke through Haughton but his forward ball was just too far in front of Kapend. Walsall then had a free kick that saw Pickering saving comfortable before he became Vale’s hero with a fingertip save in added time to push substitute Rowley’s shot around the far post when he looked certain to score. The point means that Vale now have to beat Shrewsbury in 2 weeks time to clinch the West Division Championship title.
Lindon Roberts – Port Vale Volunteers Group