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Neil Aspin reflects on the draw away to Crewe

3 April 2018

Neil Aspin was disappointed to see his Port Vale concede late on versus Crewe Alexandra on Monday afternoon, but he was pleased with the effort of his players as they bounced back from a slow start.

The afternoon got off to the worst possible start as a defensive error allowed Ryan Wintle to put Crewe ahead after seven minutes, but the Valiants fought their way back into the game in front of 2,254 travelling supporters.

Tom Pope fired home from the penalty spot before half-time to level proceedings, with Antony Kay then giving Vale the lead in spectacular style after 71 minutes. As the game entered stoppage time, it looked as if Aspin's men had secured three points, but it was not to be as Charlie Kirk equalised.

On the performance, the manager said: "Conceding the penalty was a real body blow for them because it was a game they were comfortable in. Then suddenly, they give the penalty away from a mistake and it allowed us to get back into the game.

"For 15 minutes after that, it was probably the best we played in the match. We started okay in the second half and we put together a good move which resulted in Tyrone Barnett having an effort.

"I will not fault the players' effort in terms of their commitment - they are an honest, genuine group of lads - it is just the decision making at times and the lack of talking which really frustrates me.

"We should have seen the game out, but we needed communication and putting people in the right positions. If we had done that, we would have won the game, but if you said we would get a point after 20 minutes I would have taken it.

"Every point is valuable and we have got to keep picking them up in these next five games. If we do that, we will get to a total that will mean we are safe."

As Kay's stunning strike gaining most of the plaudits, the manager was full of praise for the 35-year-old as he made his first start since returning from a hernia that had kept him sidelined for around a month.

"With Danny Pugh getting suspended, it gave Antony a chance to come back in and you can't do much more than what he did today," Aspin said.

"But, we have to say that we know our limitations. We have a few players in the squad that are 35 or 36 years old, so you are gaining in some respects, but it can mean we have a lack of legs as well. 

"It's just about trying to get the balance and that is why i changed things at half-time. I have got a lot of respect for Michael Tonge and he has done really well for us, but he probably disagreed with the decision to take him off.

"I made that to try and get more legs in the midfield, putting an extra striker on because we wanted to be positive. That is nothing against Michael because he has done very well."


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