Late Benns goal continues reserves winning streak after Boot shines in goal.
This fixture was between the top two, unbeaten, teams in the Northern League and saw Vale continue their unbeaten run and maintain the 100% league record, but it was a close run thing as Rotherham provided stiff opposition in front of another large crowd.
Vale began to press and after 12 minutes a foul on de Freitas saw a free-kick delivered to the far post where Davis rose highest to head against the post but he had already been flagged for a foul.
It only took another minute for Vale to take a deserved lead as Forrester was too strong for his marker and put the ball the right side of the post and into the net.
In the 17th minute Rotherham should have equalised as the left winger, who was giving Wilson a torrid afternoon pulled the ball back from the goal line in the 6-yard box, Vale seemed to think there had been an offence and were too busy appealing to close down Clarke-Harris who missed a golden opportunity to shoot home.
Vale continued to have most of the play with Forrester providing a key performance as a target man, and from a corner Davis saw a header collected just under the bar by Price. On the half-hour mark Boot pulled of a brilliant double save as Rotherham’s Yates was set by another left wing raid that saw his first shot well saved at close range by Boot who also recovered quickly to put the second effort around the post to defend Vale’s lead.
A long clearance beat a retreating defender allowing Turner to slip the ball past the advancing ‘keeper but the ball rolled just the wrong side of the post as Vale put on pressure to try to extend their lead before the break.
Stobbs was then unlucky with a floated shot to the far post that floated just wide and in the final minute Stobbs’ cross was headed against the outside of the near post by Turner.
HALF-TIME: Port Vale 1 - 0 Rotherham United
Vale replaced Forrester with Benns at half-time but this change upset Vale’s rhythm with no target man to hold up play and the visitors came more into the game.
McGinley had a chance after just coming on as a substitute but screwed the ball high and wide. Clarke-Harris was next to shoot but it was too close to Boot who easily held the ball and in the 68th minute his shot from a free-kick curled past the defensive wall but Boot was equal to it to push it around the post.
In a rare Vale attack they put together the move of the game as Reeves and Turner combined to enable Benns a chance on goal but the ‘keeper was able to get down quickly saving this effort.
Benns was then helping out in midfield and did well to keep possession of the ball through four challenges before another long clearance gave Turner the chance to run at goal which ended with Price saving with his feet.
Rotherham deserved their equaliser with 11 minutes to go but it came with a slice of luck as an attempted clearance was sliced and sun over the Vale defence enabling Muskwe to lash the ball into the roof of the net.
This put a spark back into the Vale team and following a foul on Benns the free-kick saw two close range efforts blocked and then Stobbs went on a mazy run before seeing his shot blocked resulting in a corner.
As it looked as though the spoils would be shared Vale scored with a minute remaining as de Freitas set up Turner; his shot was well saved but Benns was on hand to slot the free ball home to send Vale clear at the top of the table.
FULL-TIME: Port Vale 2 (1) v Rotherham United 1 (0)
PORT VALE: Ryan Boot, Lawrie Wilson, Adam Yates, Joe Davis, Josh Ryder, Harry Middleton, Jack Stobbs, Billy Reeves, Anton Forrester (Harry Benns 46), Dan Turner, Anthony de Freitas.
SUB NOT USED: Dequan Crockwell, Matthew Ward, James Steele.
ROTHERHAM UNITED: Lewis Price,Michael Taylor, Mason Warren, Emmanuel Onariase, Darnelle Bailey-King (Reece McGinley 54), Ben Wiles, Jerry Yates, Alex Bray (Kuda Muskwe 65), Akeem Hinds, Jake Southern-Cooper (Lewis Murr 77), Jonson Clarke-Harris.
SUB NOT USED: George McMahon, Akeel Francis.