Tom Pope fired a brace to take his scoring tally to six for the season as Port Vale made it two wins in succession on Tuesday night, beating Morecambe at the Globe Arena.
Cristian Montano also made his comeback from injury as a late substitute and he scored the Valiants’ third goal in stoppage time to seal the three points in style.
The game started at pace as both sides looked to get on the front foot, but it was Morecambe who looked the more threating. With five minutes on the clock, Adam McGurk almost found a teammate with a low cross, but Tom Anderson did well to clear the danger with an outstretched leg.
Just seven minutes, Vale’s defence was required again to head a home corner away from goal. Steve Old then reacted first to the loose ball to prod a shot towards goal, only to be thwarted by the hands of Kelle Roos. The goalkeeper was then called into action again on 16 minutes, this time parrying a McGurk volley away.
Despite the hosts’ early pressure, it was the Valiants who took the lead two minutes later as Tom Pope continued his fine scoring form. Ben Whitfield supplied the cross from the left flank and the striker outjumped his marker to send a downwards header beyond Barry Roche.
After taking the lead, Vale kept possession well and Marcus Harness saw a deflected cross force the goalkeeper into a save at his front post in the 27th minute. Up the other end just seconds later, Morecambe’s Alex Kenyon flashed a low strike inches wide of the far post with Roos at full stretch.
The Valiants then broke forward again themselves with 31 minutes played as Pope flicked on an aerial ball. Tyler Denton got on the end of it before attempting an audacious looping effort from range, but it nestled onto the roof of the net with Roche backpedalling. In first half stoppage time, David Worrall stung the hands of Roche following some neat build-up.
Following the restart, Morecambe attacked immediately from kick-off as Andrew Fleming fizzed a low strike wide of the target. It was then the Valiants who surged forward two minutes later and the woodwork came to the Shrimps’ rescue as Worrall crashed a powerful effort off the post from 25 yards.
As Aspin’s men continued to press forward, a loose ball fell to Harness in the box, but the midfielder could only send his shot wide of Roche’s goal on 54 minutes. Two minutes later, Ben Whitfield picked out Tom Anderson from a corner and the defender watched on as his vicious strike cannoned off a Morecambe body and out of play.
Worrall was at the heart of another Vale attack just after the hour and some neat passing found its way to the winger inside the home area. He then shimmied past a defender before firing a deflected shot on target, but Roche reacted smartly to tip the ball over the bar.
With 66 minutes on the clock, Whitfield took aim from range and the ‘keeper was on hand again to deny him. However, Pope was on hand just a minute later to double Vale’s advantage as he got on the end of a Harness flick. The striker then rounded four Morecambe players before planting a finish into the back of the net from six yards.
After falling two behind, the Shrimps tried to find a way back into the game but they found Roos in inspired form. The goalkeeper pulled off a remarkable reaction save with 71 minutes played as he somehow diverted a Garry Thompson strike onto the top of the bar and away from danger.
The final exchanges saw the game open up and both teams mounted attacks, but it was Vale who found the net again in stoppage time as substitute, Cristian Montano, swept a Pope cross into the bottom corner with a deft touch. That proved to the final piece of action as the Valiants picked up an important victory.
Morecambe: Roche, McGowan, Kenyon ©, Old, Thompson, Fleming (Osborne 84), Oliver, Conlan, Turner (Campbell 42), Muller (Rose 56), McGurk.
Unused Substitutes: Nizic, Wildig, Lavelle, Lund.
Port Vale: Roos, Gibbons, Smith, Anderson, Gunning, Denton (Tonge 45), Worrall, Pugh ©, Whitfield (Barnett 83), Harness (Montano 88), Pope.
Unused Substitutes: Boot, Davis, Kay, Turner.