Nine-man Port Vale battled bravely following the dismissals of Cristian Montano and James Gibbons, but they bowed out of the Emirates FA Cup on Tuesday night as Yeovil Town prevailed after extra-time at Huish Park.
Yeovil earned themselves a free-kick out wide on two minutes and that created the first opening of the evening, Otis Khan’s delivery evading the bodies inside the area to skid narrowly wide. Khan was at the centre of another attack with seven minutes played as he found Jake Gray in the final third, but the striker skewed his strike off target from 20 yards.
Former Yeovil man Ben Whitfield then carved out Vale’s first opening of the night after 11 minutes, but he could only find the clutches of Artur Krysiak after letting fly from 25 yards. Up the other end just three minutes later, Francois Zoko squandered a one-on-one opportunity as he struck wide from inside the box with only Ryan Boot to beat.
With 19 minutes played, the Valiants almost took the lead as David Worrall swung a free-kick towards the back post. Gavin Gunning met the delivery to head the ball back into the area, but Nathan Smith could only arc his header over after towering above his marker.
As the away side continued to grow into the game, Worrall saw two powerful strikes blocked after a Gunning cross caused havoc in the Yeovil box on 22 minutes. Another delivery from Gunning then opened up the Glovers’ defence after 31 minutes, with Krysiak forced to react to stop a downward header from Tom Pope.
Two minutes into first-half stoppage time, the game took a turn in Yeovil’s favour as Montano was shown a straight red card after he brought down Tom James in the area. Khan then stepped up to find the bottom corner with the penalty and the hosts took a lead into half-time.
Following the restart, ten-man Vale kept possession well and some neat build-up led to a free-kick on 51 minutes as Pope was tripped. Michael Tonge’s initial strike bounced off the wall from 25 yards before Antony Kay drilled the rebound on target, only to see it ricochet away from danger via a defender’s leg.
Despite the promising start to the second half, Vale were reduced to nine men just one minute later after Gibbons was dismissed for a challenge on Ryan Dickson. With a two-man advantage, Yeovil began to dictate the tempo and push for a second goal of the evening, but Boot remained a bystander for large periods.
The Glovers did waste a golden opportunity on 64 minutes as Khan clipped a ball into James, but the defender miscued his volley and the goalkeeper was able to collect comfortably. Gray then fizzed a low cross across goal four minutes later, but Surridge failed to find a finish from a tight angle with Boot off balance.
As the contest wore on, the extra space allowed Yeovil to get forward and Jordan Green threaded a pass through to Khan on 79 minutes. The winger then carried the ball into the box before getting a shot away, but Boot was untroubled as it sailed over the bar.
Kay almost found a leveller three minutes later with an audacious effort from 40 yards. He spotted Krysiak off his line before attempting to lob him, but the ‘keeper back pedalled to parry it away. Remarkably, the Valiants did equalise just seconds after as substitute Marcus Harness shaped a strike into the top corner from range.
Another substitute almost snatched a winner for Vale on 86 minutes, Tyrone Barnett powering an effort inches wide of the top corner from just inside the area. The hosts then went close themselves during a hectic final few minutes, but the Valiants’ back line stood strong to send the tie into extra-time.
It was Yeovil who fashioned the first chance of the extra period as Matthew Worthington sent an effort over from 20 yards on 91 minutes. James then took aim from a similar distance two minutes later, but he ballooned his attempt way off target.
Five minutes into extra-time, Vale’s resistance was broken as Khan scored his and his side’s second of the night. A ball found its way to him on the edge of the area and he half-volleyed beyond Boot via the inside of the post.
Neil Aspin’s men wouldn’t roll over, however, and Kay brought Vale back on to level terms with 108 minutes on the clock. The ball fell invitingly to him 25 yards from goal and he sent a swerving half-volley into the top right corner in spectacular style.
The jubilation from that strike turned to heartbreak just two minutes later, James picking out Zoko inside the box to allow the striker to turn the ball home and restore Yeovil’s lead. That proved to be the decisive goal in what was a crazy evening of football.
Yeovil Town: Krysiak, N. Smith, khan (Santos 115), C. Smith (Worthington 26), Gray (Green 77), Dickson, Zoko, Surridge (Olomola 69), Bailey ©, Sowunmi, James.
Unused Substitutes: Maddison, Mugabi, Davies.
Port Vale: Boot, Gunning, Anderson, Smith, Gibbons, Kay, Tonge (Reeves 93), Montano, Whitfield (Denton 61), Worrall (Harness 69), Pope © (Barnett 61).
Unused Substitutes: Lainton, Pugh, Turner.
Attendance: 1,558 (119 Vale).