Valiants Beat Tranmere 2-1 In Ellesmere Port
Both teams fielded strong teams with Vale’s XI including Tom Pope and Ryan McGivern, both looking to recover match fitness.
Tranmere fielded ex-Vale players Marc Laird, and Abdulai Baggie whilst Chris Shuker was Reserves Joint Manager with Micky Adams looking on from the stand.
Tranmere were first to show and won an early corner that eventually saw a Marc Laird shot bobble in front of a diving Johnson who pushed it on to the post and collected the rebound.
Vale replied with Andoh almost getting to a through ball before Ramsbottom, but the ‘keeper collected safely. Good work by Deen-Conteh and Andoh saw a driven cross to the near post that was deflected into the ‘keeper’s hands.
Tranmere won a second corner and Bergin’s header went narrowly past the post for another one that saw Johnson collect a header with ease.
With 27 minutes gone Pope was fouled on the edge of the area and initially looked to take the free kick, but gave it over to Campion, who has scored from similar positions earlier in the season.
It was a good decision as Campion curled it over the wall and beyond the reach of Ramsbottom to give Vale the lead.
A McGivern foul saw Tranmere with a free kick opportunity but Johnson collected the ball without any challenge.
With three minutes of the half left Moore gave the ball away in midfield and a long ball put Donnelly through with a run at goal; he was chased by Bergin who pressurised him enough to force him to shoot high and wide from a good position.
Vale began the second half by nearly scoring a second goal as a long clearance from Johnson reached Campion whose first time effort was just wide.
With ten minutes of the half gone Vale created another chance as a Clarke cross was met by Pope but he couldn’t quite get over the ball and it looped over the bar.
Vale stayed on the attack and Andoh broke through but was tackled as he shot and the ball went out for a corner that was cleared. Vale were having the best of the game and Campion saw a header from a Deen-Conteh cross go wide of the far post.
Just past the hour mark Pope was replaced up front by Kapend.
On 64 minutes Vale did go 2-0 up. A free kick from after a foul on Campion on the half-way line saw Bergin deliver the ball to the edge of the penalty area; Kapend knocked it down and Campion swivelled and drove the ball home giving the ‘keeper no chance.
Moore drove through the defence and then clipped a cross to the far post where Lloyd was free but the spinning ball slipped of his foot and into the ground to bounce high over the goal.
Johnson was being called in to action to come and collect free balls that averted any threat to the Vale goal but was not having any shots to deal with.
Tranmere had a half chance with seven minutes gone as cross found Omotola in the six yard box but a defender’s challenge meant he did not get any purchase on his header and Johnson collected comfortably.
Jago was next to threaten but his shot was charged down by Steele at the expense of a corner that Johnson punched away.
Vale nearly extended their lead as Andoh tried a cheeky chip to the far post that Ramsbottom just pushed wide for a corner. After this Tranmere broke and Donnelly cut in from the left to just knick the ball past Johnson into the far corner allow the home site the chance to push for a draw in the last seven minutes.
As the game entered the final minute Kirby tried a drive from 25 yards that Johnson at full stretch to hold and ensure a Vale victory.
This win took Vale back to the top of the NW Group Table as previous leaders Wigan crashed 0-4 at Shrewsbury this afternoon.
TRANMERE ROVERS: Sam Ramsbottom, Mitch Duggan, Liam Ridehalgh, Marc Laird, Evan Gumbs, Mehdi Ourimi, Jake Kirby, Ben Jago, George Donnelly, Eliot Richards (Tolani Omotola 61), Abdulai Baggie.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Moynes, Luke Pilling, Liam Smith.
PORT VALE: Sam Johnson, Kyle Clark, Aziz Deen-Conteh, Billy Reeves, Lewis Burgin, Ryan McGivern, Byron Moore, Ryan Lloyd , Tom Pope (Jonathon Kapend 61), Achille Campion, Enoch Andoh. SUBS NOT USED: Harry Pickering, Chekaine Steele, Mackenzie Faulkner, Omar Haughton.