Port Vale were forced to settle for a point on Saturday afternoon as Forest Green Rovers earned a share of the spoils at Vale Park. Dan Turner’s first-half strike had given the Valiants a one-goal advantage, but substitute Omar Bugiel rescued a draw for Mark Cooper’s men.
During the opening exchanges both sides battled for possession, but it was Forest Green who created the first real opening of the afternoon on six minutes. A fortuitous bounce saw the ball land at the feet of Christian Doidge, but debutant goalkeeper Kelle Roos was on hand to deny his low strike with a smart save.
Vale were keeping the ball well themselves, however, and a neat passing move allowed Lawrie Wilson to cross with a quarter of an hour played. Dan Turner peeled away from his marker to get on the end of the delivery, but he couldn’t quite connect fully with his effort and Bradley Collins smothered the ball.
As the home side continued to press forward, they were rewarded with a goal on 20 minutes as Turner flashed an effort past the ‘keeper. Tyler Denton’s initial challenge knocked the ball loose to Tom Pope, he then surged forward before finding the young striker and he made no mistakes with the finish.
Turner almost doubled the lead just moments after scoring with a powerful effort from range, but Collins tipped the ball over the bar. A quieter passage of play then soon followed, with the two teams unable to break through and fashion a clear opportunity. Rovers’ Luke James did see an effort blocked well by a sliding Nathan Smith challenge on 33 minutes, however, before Anthony de Freitas flashed one just wide on the stroke of half-time.
Following the restart, the away side almost worked an opening as Will Randall probed forward, only for his cross to fizz beyond his Forest Green teammates in the area. Mark Cooper’s men did enjoy a spell of possession early in the half, but Vale looked in control of proceedings and Roos remained untroubled. Turner did go close for the hosts up the other end on 62 minutes, but his strike arrowed just off target.
Seven minutes later, Forest Green equalised as they took advantage of a set piece situation. A Liam Noble free-kick that was crossed towards the back post found the head of Doidge, he then picked out substitute Omar Bugiel who nodded the ball beyond Roos from close range.
After conceding, Vale looked to find a route back into the lead but chances came and went as the Forest Green defence dealt with the danger well. The away side then almost fired themselves ahead in the 79th minute as Noble curled a free-kick inches wide of the far post with Roos at full stretch.
David Worrall then put in an enticing cross just minutes later up the other end, but Vale couldn’t get on the end of it and the danger was cleared. The final passages of the game were played at a high tempo and they conjured up some end-to-end action, but the referee’s whistle brought an end to proceedings with the scores level.
Port Vale: Roos, Wilson, Anderson, Smith ©, Gunning, Worrall, Tonge, de Freitas, Denton (Whitfield 81), Pope, Turner (Harness 67).
Unused Substitutes: Boot, Kay, Davis, Reeves, Middleton.
Forest Green Rovers: B. Collins, Bennett, Laird, L. Collins, Noble ©, Doidge, Mullings (Traore 45), Cooper, Randall (Bugiel 67), Roberts, James (Gomes 45).
Unused Substitutes: Russell, Brown, Lacovitti, Stevens.
Attendance: 3,910 (101 away)