Saturday afternoon proved to be a frustrating one for Tom Pope as Vale fell to a slender defeat away to Tranmere Rovers, but the captain insists that he and his teammates didn’t do enough to trouble Micky Mellon’s men.
With two goals to his name in Sky Bet League Two so far this season, the striker was unable to add to his tally on a day where Vale created minimal opportunities to hit the target. Despite it being a tight affair, Pope was honest in his post-match assessment.
He said: “We haven’t created enough which is frustrating, but I thought that we looked quite solid defensively. Neither ‘keeper - apart from the last five minutes or so when we pushed bodies forward - has had a great deal to do.
“It was one of those scrappy games, but I think Tranmere kept the ball a lot better than we did and they certainly looked more likely to score a goal than us.
“It’s always frustrating when you’re not getting chances. If you’re having five or six and missing them all, that’s just as annoying, but at least you know the team are playing well if you’re creating opportunities that are missed.
“Today I don’t think I had any chances really, apart from the penalty claim at the end. We are going to have to work harder as a team to create more openings.
“You get them decisions on some occasions and sometimes you don’t. It was a blatant penalty, but whether or not we deserved a point out of the game, I’m not sure. Sometimes you win games when you don’t play well and lose when you do play well.
“If you’re a team that isn’t in possession very often, you’re going to create far less chances than the opposition. We wouldn’t have been begrudged of a point and I don’t think they were particularly brilliant either, but they kept the ball better than us.”
The Valiants now face Newport County at home next weekend, and Pope is striving to see a much improved performance from the team as they look to maintain their perfect record at Vale Park in Sky Bet League Two.
Although the striker admits that Vale can’t learn too much from the defeat at Tranmere, he knows they must be more ruthless in the final third if they are to get a result. Despite back-to-back losses, Pope insists the squad remain confident that they can perform well enough to turn the form around.
“We can’t take a lot from this game into next weekend, but we will go out there in positive mood, knowing that we’ve been doing really well at home,” he said.
“When you’re playing away from home you have to set up so you’re difficult to beat and I think we are doing that, but the supporters are getting frustrated.
“It was December when we last won away and we’re not making many chances, so the fans aren’t really on our side at the minute and that makes it hard as well.
“Our job is to now work hard to create more in the final third and we will do that on the training pitch, hopefully to put on a better performance at home on Saturday to secure three points.”