Emphatic win puts Vale reserves on the brink of League Cup knock-out stages.
Vale’s reserve fixture gave the new management team of Neil Aspin and John Rudge an opportunity to have a look at the players that they haven’t seen in a competitive fixture yet, and the performance against a Rotherham side that have won all three of their fixtures so far without conceding will not have done any of the players any harm.
Vale were quickly knocking the ball around but Rotherham created the first chances as Anderson blocked an incoming shot which sent the ball spinning for a corner. From the corner, Onariase rose at the far post to crash a header against the bar; the ball rebounded away to safety.
With seven minutes on the clock Vale took the lead as free kick across the area saw Davis rise to head back across the ‘keeper and just inside the far post.
Vale continued to probe the Millers' defence and Pyke headed on to Turner who controlled the ball at the edge of the area but shot over. Pyke then fed Stobbs out wide whose cross was met by Turner but for the striker's effort to be turned around the post in the 13th minute.
From Stobbs’ corner, Vale doubled their lead. The corner was met by Davis at the back post who headed back across goal, where Anderson was on hand to flick the ball home from close range.
It was just before the half-hour mark before Hornby was called into serious action as he collected a long range shot at the second attempt; a few minutes later he was in action again as a header from a corner was flicked goalwards and he was on hand to quell the danger.
Vale returned to dominating the game and Middleton’s shot was well held at the near post by the ‘keeper. Vale then had four corners in quick succession before Turner had a shot well saved as the ball broke free after the final corner was partially cleared.
The second half began with a Rotherham attack that was broken up resulting in de Freitas being set free to run at the retreating Rotherham defence. The frenchman fed Stobbs and his shot was well saved. Hornby then did well to push away a powerful shot as the home team tried to get back into the game but the Vale defence was looking composed.
Turner fed Stobbs whose cross saw Pyke glance a header goalwards, only to see it hit a defender's heel and roll to safety. Turner then slipped whilst getting a shot off and saw his effort fly high and wide.
Montano replaced Pyke on the hour mark as planned.
Vale were looking more likely to add to their lead than Rotherham were to get back into the game and Montano won a header on the edge of the box, controlled the ball and shot bringing a good save from Price.
The final chance came from yet another excellent cross by Stobbs and the header from Montano looked goal-bound until Price went full length to make the save of the day and keep it down to a two goal win for the Valiants.
The win puts Vale on top of their League Cup group and a win at home to Doncaster in November will definitely see them through to the knock-out stages. However, depending on the result of the Rotherham v Walsall game, a draw may be enough.
Sam Hornby, Lawrie Wilson, Adam Yates, Harry Middleton, Joe Davis, Tom Anderson, Jack Stobbs, Billy Reeves, Rekeil Pyke (Cristian Montana 60), Dan Turner, Anthony de Freitas.
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Dequan Crockwell, Josh Ryder, James Steele, Harry Benns.
Lewis Price, Josh Emmanuel, Lewis Marr (Akeel Francis 80), Emmanuel Onariase, Jake Southern-Cooper, Ben Wiles, Mason Warren, Davis Ball (Darnelle Bailey-King 61), Alex Bray, Jonson Clarke-Harris (Kuda Muskwe 71), Jerry Yates (Tom Maguire 80).
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