Strong Vale team cruise home to top the League with Forrester and Hooper scoring
BRADFORD CITY: Rouven Sattelmaier, Alex Laird, Harry Warren, Daniel Devine, James King, Sam Wright, Niah Payne, Kwame Boateng, Reece Webb-Foster, Reece Powell (Casey Taglione 59), Ellis Hudson.
SUBS NOT USED: George Sykes-Kenworthy.
PORT VALE: Harry Pickering, Chris Mbamba, Gezim Shalaj, Paulo Tavares (Nathan Ferguson 28), Calvin Macintosh, Billy Reeves, Chris Eagles (Luke Dennis 65), Sebastien Amoros, JJ Hooper (Charlie Walford 46), Anton Forrester (Tom Hitchcock 46), Quentin Pereira.
SUBS NOT USED: Joe Slinn.
Vale Reserves made the trip to Bradford City’s training ground with a line-up that included Forrester and Hooper up front with trialist Chris Eagles out wide and trialist Tom Hitchcock on the bench; this attacking looking formation also had Mbamba and Shalaj as full backs. Vale were pressing a young Bradford team from the off and it only took 7 minutes to take the lead as Sattelmaier in the home goal tried to play out from the back only to see Eagles intercept his pass out and race past a couple of defenders before pulling the ball back for Hooper to side-foot home.
A couple of minutes later and it was the lively Hooper who controlled the ball in the area and then laid it back for Pereira to shoot just wide of the post. Hooper was again the instigator for another shooting opportunity as he cut in from the left before laying off to Tavares whose shot whistled just over the bar. It was 20 minutes into the game before Bradford created a chance which came from Reeves conceding a free kick just outside the penalty area and Pickering was required to make a save at the foot of the post.
There now came a concerted period of pressure from the Vale as a foul on Pereira just outside the area saw shots from Tavares and Eagles charged down, the danger wasn’t cleared and Forrester saw a shot blocked before Eagles’ follow-up was deflected wide for a corner. Eagles took the corner which reached Forrester at the far post where he thumped the ball inside the post to increase Vale’s lead with 25 minutes on the clock. Tavares seemed to have picked up a knock and was replaced by Ferguson.
On 38 minutes Vale’s third arrived as the competitive Ferguson won the ball and found Eagles who beat his man to cross to Forrester who hammered home high into the net. Vale almost added to their tally just before the break as a Pereira free kick fell at the far post and Macintosh almost got the touch to turn it home.
After half-time it was no surprise to see that Forrester and Hooper, after having impressive first halves, were replaced at the restart by Walford and Hitchcock; this meant that Shalaj was more forward and he had a good 45 minutes moving the ball from the half way line to set up a number of attacking threats. The first was from a Shalaj free kick that saw Macintosh volley the ball just over the bar from the edge of the area. Pickering then had another save to make as a shot was curled towards the top left hand corner of the goal from a rare Bradford break.
Eagles was replaced after 65 minutes where he did himself no harm with a very effective performance. Both Pereira and Shalaj had shots saved before adding their final goal with 16 minutes left. The goal resulted from Shalaj controlling the ball and turning in one movement before advancing 10 yards and then threading the ball out towards the right hand edge of the box where Ferguson slotted the ball across the ‘keeper and into the far corner of the net from 18 yards.
A very comprehensive win for a Vale team that took them back to the top of the League and saw most players advance their claims for an opportunity in the first team in the coming weeks, although Hitchcock failed to really get into the game.
Lindon Roberts – Port Vale Volunteers Group