A late goal from Crewe Alexandra ended hopes of Port Vale getting a vital Derby Day win at Gresty Road. Antony Kay’s 30-yard screamer was cancelled out by a late Charlie Kirk equaliser following two goals in the first-half.
It wasn’t a great start from The Valiants as they went a goal down inside seven minutes. Ryan Wintle got on the end of a goalkeeping error, allowing The Railwaymen to go ahead.
It was a slow start for both sides aside from the goal, but Crewe looked to be on top of things with another attack down the right side. Boot dropped the ball as it went into the feet with a likely injury starting to become noticeable.
24 minutes in and the injured Boot made his way for Sam Hornby who had his chance to shine.
The first yellow card of the game was then given to Kyle Howkins after holding back Shaun Miller who looked to make a darting run forward.
But a moment of madness changed the game as Luke Hannant awarded Vale a penalty after going down under Jamie Sterry’s challenge. Tom Pope stepped up and planted into the bottom corner as things went level on 36 minutes.
The pressure was on for the hosts as Pope headed Tonge’s corner back into the box. Ben Garratt fumbled the oncoming attack as The Alex managed to clear their lines.
Ben Whitfield came back into the squad following his impressive performance over Chesterfield and nearly got himself on the scoresheet. His header at the back post forced Garratt to another save but was pushed out to Pope who couldn’t quite hit the target.
The half-time whistle went with all things square going back into the break at Gresty Road.
Tyrone Barnett then made his way on the field for Michael Tonge to offer a more attacking dimension for Neil Aspin’s men.
He soon made an instant impact by getting on the end of Hannant’s cross towards the penalty spot. Barnett couldn’t quite get the touch needed as The Valiants came storming out of their docks looking for a second.
Hornby was yet again called into action for The Valiants as he denied Crewe from close-range. After originally fumbling the first cross, he was quick to jump on the ball denying The Railwaymen any chance of going into the lead.
Crewe had another chance go their way on 65 minutes through Jordan Bowery. The pitch provided a tricky test for all of the players today as Howkins misjudged the ball, allowing Bowery to hoof his effort out of the stadium.
Out of nothing, The Valiants were 2-1 up through Antony Kay who scored a wonder goal from 30-yards after striking it on the volley. Much to the delight faithful, Vale found themselves 2-1 up on 71 minutes.
The hosts came fighting back and tried their luck against Hornby who once again made another great save to keep Vale infront.
But it wasn’t enough as dramatic scenes saw the hosts get a goal back through Kirk who slipped the ball under Hornby at his near post.
A disappointing goal to concede for The Valiants following a thrilling game of football, as a draw had to be enough at Gresty Road with both sides coming away with a point.
Crewe Alexandra Team: Garratt, Ray ©, Jones (McKirdy 77), Bowery, Nolan, Ainley (Kirk 83), Wintle, Pickering, Green, Miller (Porter 70), Sterry.
Unused Subs: Richards, Walker, Raynes, Dagnall.
Port Vale Team: Boot (Hornby 24), Gibbons, Smith, Howkins, Montano, Tonge (Barnett 45), Kay, Worrall, Hannant, Whitfield, Pope (Harness 84).
Unused Subs: Howe, Davis, Middleton, Turner.
Today’s attendance: 6802 (2254 away supporters).