Port Vale were knocked out of the Checkatrade Trophy tonight despite a good performance against League One high-fliers, Shrewsbury Town.
Vale made four changes ahead of the clash as Tyrone Barnett, Billy Reeves, Marcus Harness and Tyler Denton starting with Rob Lainton and Ben Whitfield settling for a place on the bench. Lawrie Wilson and Graham Kelly were also landed on the bench ahead of the tie.
The Valiants had the best start they could have asked for as Cristian Montano got onto the end of Tyrone Barnett’s through ball and slotted into Craig MacGillvray’s near post on 56 seconds.
On the ninth minute, The Shrews nearly pulled one back through Shaun Whalley after he nearly slotted in a low cross at the back post.
Neil Aspin’s side continued to control the game well against the League One side, with Billy Reeves and Danny Pugh looking comfortable in the middle of the park.
Carlton Morris tested Ryan Boot’s judgement with a header which smashed off the crossbar on the 25th minute. Boot, somehow managed to shift his body towards the goal and cleared it away.
The Shrews kept coming forward as Aristote Nsiala tried his luck from Whalley’s free-kick. The defender leaped up high and headed just wide.
It went quiet for a short while at Vale Park, but a glimmer of magic from Montano as James Gibbons fed him the ball from the right-hand side as he poked into the arms of the ‘keeper.
Vale continued to keep the visitors at bay as Mat Sadler got booked for bringing down Marcus Harness who looked to run clear on goal, with just minutes to play until half-time.
Whalley was the liveliest out of the bunch for Shrewsbury as his low shot was easily kept by Boot with seconds to play.
Two minutes were added on at the end of the half with Vale looking the better side going into the break.
Straight from the off, Tyrone Barnett saw an early opportunity at the start of the second-half as he scuffed a volley following a cross which was poorly cleared by the Shrewsbury defence.
Two minutes later, James Gibbons nearly netted his first goal in a Vale shirt as Montano laid off a great opportunity for the youngster as he skied it on 47 minutes.
It was turning into an interesting contest with Shrewsbury missing a near chance on 53 minutes with Whalley firing Omar Beckles’ excellent cross.
The Valiants were then welcomed with some good news as Ben Whitfield returned back from injury as he replaced Marcus Harness with 30 minutes to play.
The equaliser soon came as Louis Dodds scored against his former club, getting onto the end of a loose ball and managing to poke it just past Boot on 67 minutes.
Dan Turner then had his opportunity to try and pull something back for the hosts by replacing Danny Pugh with 15 minutes to play.
He soon made an instant impact by assisting in Shrewsbury’s goal which allowed Whalley to put the League One side infront. After the ball struck the post, Whalley stuck a foot out to fire home with Anderson narrowly missing the clearance. Unlucky on Vale’s part as they were now chasing the game with eight to play.
Boot was yet again forced into action as he pushed away Whalley’s guided effort into the feet of Morris yet again who skied it over on 79 minutes. The striker was then substituted off for Arthur Ghahoua.
Five minutes were added on at the end of the game, with Aspo’s men still chasing for that all-important equaliser.
Barnett thought he made it all-level with a thunderous strike on the edge of the area as it just cleared the bar.
The full-time whistle blew at Vale Park with The Valiants performing well against the League One side. Unfortunately, it meant that Vale were knocked out the competition but ready for Saturday’s home game against Cambridge United.
Port Vale Team: Ryan Boot, Tyler Denton, Tom Anderson, Gavin Gunning, Nathan Smith, James Gibbons, Danny Pugh © (Dan Turner 75), Billy Reeves, Marcus Harness (Ben Whitfield 62), Cristian Montano, Tyrone Barnett.
Unused Subs: Rob Lainton, Lawrie Wilson, Antony Kay, Graham Kelly, Tom Pope.
Shrewsbury Town Team: Craig, MacGillivray, Joe Riley, Mat Sadler, Omar Beckles, Shaun Whalley, Abu Ogogo, Carlton Morris (Arthur Ghanoua 80), Louis Dodds, Bryn Morris, Aristote Nsiala, Alex Rodman (Lennell John-Lewis 45).
Unused Subs: Dean Henderson, Ebou Adams, Ryan Barnett, Christos Shelis, Stefan Payne.
Attendance: 965 (117 away supporters)