After two defeats the U18s were looking to get their season back on track but it took only 3 minutes for them to fall behind as the Vale defence was opened up by the fast moving Walsall No. 9; Dequan Crockwell got his hand to the shot but hit the inside of the post and into the net.
Vale responded within a few minutes as the ball was won in the Saddlers’ half and Harry Benns put in Tom Daulby on goal but the ‘keeper got a touch to send the ball into the side netting.
The weather was a wet and windy and Walsall, playing with the wind in the first period, began to dominate the game with Crockwell saving from the No. 8 before the danger man centre-forward again beat the offside trap and centred from the right where the wind took ball on to the crossbar and back into play where it was cleared.
Crockwell again saved from the No.9, before he had the ball in the Vale net again, but Vale were saved by the offside flag, when the ball appeared to have been pulled back for him to net. Crockwell again saved from the rampant No. 9 as Vale finished the half trailing by a single goal.
The second half was, as they say, a completely different ball game, with Vale being the dominant team. Vale nearly equalised after a couple of minutes of the period as a cross by Steele saw Daulby turn and hook the ball just over the bar.
Benns then saw a long range effort beaten away by the ‘keeper. The equaliser came in the 57th minute as Benns hit a dipping shot over the ‘keeper from 20 yards that flew into the far corner of the net. Walsall conjured a quick break that again saw the No. 9 beat the offside trap but Crockwell was out quickly to thwart the opportunity.
Vale continued to press and Ward hit a long range effort over the bar but the game looked to be heading for a draw until the last minute of normal time as a Vale corner was cleared away by Walsall but as the ball reached the half way line the referee blew his whistle and raced back to the visitors’ penalty area where the substitute, No. 14, was standing over prostrate Jackson.
He indicated a stamping incident and showed the red card to the Walsall player and awarded a penalty. Benns blasted the spot-kick home and Vale saw out the added time to record their first points of the season.
Port Vale: Dequan Crockwell, Jake Thomas, Ryan Gordon-Campbell (Kyle Johnson 81), Matty Ward, Josh Ryder, Zac Hill (Finnley Jackson 46), Jack Grimshaw (Jack Wakefield 75), James Steele, Tom Daulby (Joe Berks 65), Harry Benns, Joshua Ede.
Subs not used: Lucas Green-Birch.