Port Vale fell to a home defeat on Tuesday night as high-flying Accrington Stanley edged a tightly fought contest. David Worrall had given the Valiants the lead during the first half, but a brace from Billy Kee was enough to ensure John Coleman’s men left with all three points
In the opening exchanges both sides looked to gain a foothold on proceedings, but it was Vale who had the first shot on goal with seven minutes played. Tyrone Barnett tried an ambitious volley from outside the area, but his effort skewed safely into the hands of Accrington ‘keeper, Aaron Chapman.
Just three minutes later, the Valiants broke forward again and Tyler Denton fizzed in a dangerous cross that evaded a huddle of bodies in the box. The ball was recycled by Vale, however, and Ben Whitfield rattled a strike against the crossbar from close range after losing his marker.
The winger was then at the heart of another forward move on 19 minutes, this time crossing to Barnett who towered above a defender to loop a header onto the woodwork. Vale’s persistence did pay off moments later though, as David Worrall capped off a neat move with a curled finish that nestled into the far corner to put the hosts ahead.
Accrington took 31 minutes to fashion their first clear opportunity of the game, but Liam Nolan could only fire over after latching onto a loose ball inside the area. Against the run of play just five minutes later, the visitors found an equaliser as Billy Kee struck a low half-volley beyond Kelle Roos via the inside of the post.
After conceding, the Valiants continued to probe forward and some good work between Tom Pope and Barnett on 42 minutes led to the latter acrobatically volleying just off target from 18 yards. Following the restart, it was the home side who looked livelier and Denton almost worked a chance three minutes into the second half. He got on the end of a Barnett flick, only to be closed down well by the ‘keeper.
With 57 minutes played, Vale almost regained a one-goal advantage as Whitfield and Denton combined well down the left flank. The defender’s drilled cross found Pope at the front post and his stab towards goal was smartly saved by Chapman. It was then Stanley who pulled in front on 62 minutes as Kee met a cross to tap home from inside the six-yard box.
As Vale searched for a route back into the game, substitute Anthony de Freitas flashed an effort inches wide of the far post just four minutes later. The midfielder was then presented with another chance on 69 minutes, but he failed to keep his strike down and Chapman was left relieved that his weak punch didn’t cost his side a goal.
In the final moments Vale attempted to break down a rigid Accrington defence, but the visitors stood firm to hold their slender lead. Michael Tonge did hit a free-kick over the top of the bar on 83 minutes and a host of aerial balls were dealt with by the Stanley back line before the referee blew his whistle to signal full-time.
Port Vale: Roos, Wilson (Turner 77), Anderson, Kay ©, Smith, Denton, Middleton (Tonge 64), Whitfield (de Freitas 64), Worrall, Pope, Barnett.
Unused Substitutes: Hornby, Davis, Gunning, Harness.
Accrington Stanley: Chapman, Donacien, Rawson, Hughes, Thorniley, Conneely ©, Nolan, Clark (Brown 73), McConville, Kee, Jackson (Wilks 53).
Unused Substitutes: Wolland, McLeod, Sykes, Dallison, Johnson.
Attendance: 3,360 (88 away).