Port Vale earned their first home league victory of the season thanks to a thrilling win over Cheltenham Town.
Neil Aspin couldn’t have asked for a better result in his second game in charge as Tom Pope scored a brace and Ben Whitfield hit a wonder strike from the edge of the box.
The Robins scored a late consolation, but it wasn’t enough for them as The Valiants climbed out of the relegation zone.
Vale looked to take the lead early and almost did so through David Worrall’s free-kick. After a nudge on Tom Pope on the edge of the area, Worrall stepped up and saw his effort be deflected out for a corner.
The Robins began to push forward and for the next 15 minutes, it was all them. Mohamed Eisa claimed for a penalty with Neil Aspin’s side did well to clear the oncoming pressure.
Pope wanted to make it two in two this afternoon, following his strike against Grimsby Town last week as he controlled the ball well in the box to see his left-footed effort blocked on 18 minutes
With the Valiants opting for a high pressured defence this week, on 22 minutes, Harry Pell took advantage of this as he raced through the back-line and tried to cut the ball across to Eisa who couldn’t quite get there.
Vale’s best chance of the game came 30 seconds later as Ben Whitfield made excellent contact from Marcus Harness’ cross. His shot went low as Scott Flinders managed to hold.
Harness continued to cause problems for Cheltenham’s Jordan Cranston as his cross met the head of Pope. The Sneyd Green Sniper couldn’t get enough contact on the ball as Flinders was there to keep possession.
Finally, a goal came and it was Pope yet again! The lively Harness whipped in a delightful cross towards the near post as the target man converted for his third of the season on 26 minutes. It was just the start the Vale faithful needed as they searched for another.
It was all Vale as they looked to extend. Harness came close yet again as his volley took a slight deflection and trickled just wide on 34 minutes.
Aspin’s men kept coming as the ball dropped to Worrall nicely as he attempted a wild left-foot drive towards Flinders. His effort was deflected and dropped to Pope who somehow volleyed just wide with five minutes until half-time.
Vale Park came to appreciate the excellent work ethic on the pitch as Whitfield was next to come close. His turn allowed him to angle a good chance with his right-foot as it narrowly missed the far corner.
Cheltenham started off the better team at the beginning of the second-half as Kelle Roos was quickly called into action. He managed to make a fingertip save to Eisa’s acrobatic effort, forcing a corner.
Substitute Danny Wright then came close off for the visitor’s, forcing Roos to another save and capture after dropping the original ball.
Play was then slightly delayed as referee, Scott Oldham, broke his whistle and injured his hand, which required some immediate attention.
Tyrone Barnett then came on for Harness who impressed throughout the afternoon. He nearly scored on his first touch with a turn then a volley which was blocked. It was then two for Vale as Whitfield’s rocket shot went straight into the bottom corner after the ball fell to him on the edge of the box on 61 minutes.
After a frustrating 20 minutes for both sides, a chance finally came for Vale as Pope got his second of the game as he raced onto a clear through ball. This left him one on one with Flinders in goal as he took it past him and slotted into an empty net.
Vale made their final substitution of the game as Whitfield came off for Dan Turner, following his excellent performance at Vale Park.
Four minutes were added on to the end of the second-half, as The Robin’s scored a consolation goal through Kevin Dawson. He latched onto the deflected ball as he powered past Roos.
The full-time whistle was blown as Vale came away with their first home league win of the season. The Valiants will now travel to Morecambe on Tuesday night.
Port Vale Team: Roos, Gibbons, Gunning, Smith, Anderson, Denton (Middleton 45), Pugh, Worrall, Whitfield (Turner 89), Harness (Barnett 60), Pope.
Unused Subs: Boot, Davis, Kay, Tonge.
Cheltenham Town Team: Flinders, Grimes, Cranston, Storer (Dawson 45), Pell, Winchester, Sellars (Hinds 70), Eisa, Graham (Wright 45), Morrell, Moore.
Unused Subs: Flatt, Atangawa, O’Shaugnhessy, Boyle.
Attendance: 4277 (266 away supporters).