Vale bow out of Senior Cup on penalties
With the first team playing Shrewsbury in the Checkatrade Trophy, it was a young Vale XI fielded against Stafford Town; plus de Freitas and Pyke that appeared on the 3G pitch at Evans Park in the first round of this season’s Staffordshire Senior Cup.
Vale were the first to show with Ryder sending a header just wide from a corner as they had the majority of possession but without really threatening.
The home side then had a clearer chance from a break, as a quick throw to Butler saw an opportunistic cross flicked just the wrong side of the post.
Vale did think they had scored in the 18th minute after winning a free kick 15-yards into the opposition half; Ward’s centre was met by Ryder but before his header dropped into the net the referee blew up for a push.
Vale were dominating possession and Moreton made a save from Ward but the ball ran to Ede, who from a tight angle returned the ball goalwards only to see it skim the near post and go out of play on the other side of the goal.
Slinn then came to Vale’s rescue as within one minute he made excellent saves from Moraka and Dodd.
Just after the half-hour mark Vale took the lead as a low cross found Daulby at the far post, where he slotted the ball home.
Vale should have extended their lead as Daulby set-up Pyke but his shot that seemed to be heading for the far corner of the net took a slight deflection and went for a corner.
The final action of the half saw Slinn again in great form to save another effort from the dangerous Moraka.
HALF-TIME: Stafford Town 0 - 1 Port Vale
Vale soon lost the lead at the start of the second period as a passing move put Dodd the wrong side of Vale’s defence and his shot hit the post and bar before coming away from goal, but the referee’s assistant ruled that it had crossed the line.
The rest of the half saw little excitement until the 88th minute when the game became a see-saw event.
Dodd scored his second with a screamer into the top corner to put Town infront for the first time, but before everyone had drawn breath, it was 2-2 as Moreton lost hold of a low cross to allow Green-Birch to tap home the equaliser.
With everyone now thinking penalties, it was Moraka’s turn to score with a 20-yard shot into the corner as the 90 minutes were reached. However, with four minutes of added time on the clock, de Freitas burst through from midfield to hit a 20-yard effort into the corner to level things up again.
FULL-TIME: Stafford Town 3 - 3 Port Vale
This meant that the game would be settled by way of a penalty shootout.
Vale were first up and Pyke slotted home, as did Partridge for Stafford. (1-1)
Wakefield’s shot skimmed the bar but Moraka scored for Stafford. (1-2)
Jackson scored followed by Morgeaud. (2-3)
de Freitas put Vale level but Dodd returned the lead to Stafford. (3-4)
Green-Birch’s penalty was saved meaning Stafford go through on penalties to visit Kidsgrove Athletic in the second round. (3-4)
AFTER PENALTIES: Stafford Town 4 - 3 Port Vale
Stafford Town: Josh Moreton, Brad Lewis, Oliver Butler, Connor Grant, Dave Wilcock, Jack Partridge, Goodwill Moraka, Remi Morgeaud, Jordan Dodd, Ryan Pace, Taylor Allen.
Subs not used: Liam Day-Downing, Ryan Whordley, Tom Duffy, Ryan Downing, Jack Millgate.
Port Vale: Joe Slinn, Jake Thomas (Ryan Gordon-Campbell 43), Charlie Walford, Matty Ward, Josh Ryder, Finley Jackson, Jack Wakefield, Anthony De Freitas, Tom Daulby (Lucas Green-Birch 63), Rekeil Pyke, Josh Ede.
Subs Not Used: Dequan Crockwell, Jack Grimshaw, Max Beeston.