Despite the Valiants creating numerous openings, a second half strike from Lewis Alessandra meant that Vale fell to a slender defeat at home to Notts County on Saturday. In a game where Michael Brown’s men saw two chances cleared off the line via Marcus Harness and Gavin Gunning, along with the woodwork denying David Worrall, the Valiants will feel unfortunate not to pick up any points.
During a lively opening few minutes, both sides looked to get forward and Terry Hawkbridge saw a low strike well blocked by a Vale defender with just two minutes on the clock. The hosts then had an effort of their own cleared off the line shortly after as a Harry Middleton corner was poked towards goal by Marcus Harness.
As the Valiants continued to press for an opener, David Worrall let fly from inside the area but he was unfortunate as the ball bounced off Tom Pope before Notts County cleared their lines. Worrall was involved in another attacking move on 19 minutes, this time teeing up Ben Whitfield who fizzed an effort over the bar.
Vale then went the width of the post away from taking the lead five minutes later as Worrall hit the woodwork after latching onto a pass from Cristian Montano. The Magpies then spurned a good opportunity themselves with 33 minutes played, Jon Stead sending a lobbed effort wide of the target after getting on the end of a Richard Duffy long ball.
Some neat work between Whitfield and Pope then opened up another shooting opportunity for Worrall, but he couldn’t direct his volley towards goal and it went behind for a County goal-kick. Five minutes before half-time, the visitors used a set-piece to get the ball into the Vale box and it led to Shaun Brisley flicking a header wide of Rob Lainton’s far post.
Following the restart, the away side came out quickly and Shola Ameobi nodded a header way wide after connecting with a Dan Jones cross. Vale did respond with a bright spell of their own around the 55-minute mark, but a sliding challenge from Jones denied Pope. Gavin Gunning then towered above his marker soon afterwards to head towards goal, but Vale saw the ball hooked off the line for a second time.
Against the run of the play, Notts County then pulled themselves ahead on 67 minutes. Substitute Lewis Alessandra got on the end of a cross to prod the ball past Lainton with his first touch of the game. After falling behind, Vale immediately searched for an equaliser as Whitfield powered a volley just over the bar from a Middleton corner.
The Valiants threw bodies forward in the closing stages in an attempt to get something out of the game, but the away defence dealt with the danger well to limit the number of opportunities. With 83 minutes on the clock, Whitfield did see a low shot deflected wide via a Notts County defender. Six minutes later Gunning headed a Jack Stobbs free-kick just over and that proved to be Vale’s final chance of the afternoon.
Port Vale: Lainton, Gunning, Smith, Kay ©, Davis, Middleton (de Freitas 77), Worrall, Whitfield, Montano (Stobbs 77), Harness Turner 66), Pope.
Unused Substitutes: Hornby, Wilson, Anderson, Denton.
Notts County: Collins, Jones, Brisley, Duffy, Hunt (Milsom 57), Grant, Hewitt, Yates, Hawkbridge (Alessandra 66), Stead, Ameobi (Forte 60).
Unused Substitutes: Fitzimons, Dickinson, Hollis, Smith, Alles.
Attendance: 4,656 (724 away)