Port Vale stretched their unbeaten run to four games in all competitions on Saturday afternoon as a late Antony Kay goal salvaged a point at home to Cheltenham Town. Goals from Sam Jones and Nigel Atangana had cancelled out Cristian Montano's 13th-minute strike, but the Valiants fought back in dramatic style.
In difficult conditions, it was the Valiants who looked more controlled in possession early on and they worked the first opening of the afternoon with five minutes played. Luke Hannant and Theo Vassell combined down the left to allow the latter to send in a cross, but Tom Pope could only head over from 12 yards.
Three minutes later and Cheltenham were on the charge as Chris Hussey did well to get into a dangerous position, but his eventual delivery was just over the head of Will Boyle who was lurking at the back post.
Vale did take the lead on 13 minutes, however, and it came in fantastic style following a swift attacking move. Pope brought down a long ball to find Tom Conlon on the edge of the area. He then played a pass into the path of Hannant who picked out Montano, and the Colombian made no mistakes with the finish.
With 19 minutes on the clock, the visitors did have a chance to pull themselves level, but they failed to make the most of it. Boyle curled a cross into the box from the left wing, only to see Luke Varney send his header wide. Vale then went close a minute later, but Hannant was denied by a Scott Flinders save.
Up the other end five minutes later, Vale had Scott Brown to thank for a sprawling save of his own. The Robins broke forward and Conor Thomas was able to find Varney inside the area, but his powerful low strike was beaten away by the hand of the Vale ‘keeper before the ball was eventually cleared.
That didn’t stop Cheltenham equalising on 26 minutes though, as Jones profited on a loose ball to tap home from two yards. Ryan Broom’s initial strike was kept out by Brown, but the rebound fell kindly to the defender who tucked a finish into the corner of the net before wheeling away in celebration.
Despite a quiet period in the game following that goal, the Valiants went close to regaining the lead after 38 minutes, but Conlon was unable to steer his header on target. Kay then tried his luck from 25 yards just seconds later, but his effort skidded just wide of the far post with Flinders at full stretch.
Following the restart, it was the away side who fashioned the first opportunity of the half as Varney let fly from range, but it dropped just wide of the post. Brown was then called into action again on 50 minutes, getting across his goal to parry a Hussey cross away from the top corner.
Vale then probed forward themselves six minutes later as Hannant got the better of his marker in a wide position. He managed to conjure up a cross, but Montano could only divert the ball just off target after adjusting well to make contact. Manny Oyeleke then had a shot almost immediately afterwards, but it wasn’t troubling Flinders.
Alex Addai was introduced as a substitute in the 68thminute, and the Cheltenham man almost gave his side the lead with his first touch, drilling an effort inches wide via a slight deflection. Montano had a shot of his own up the other end with 74 minutes played, but Flinders was right behind it.
Both teams looked for a winner in the latter stages, and the Robins thought they had found it four minutes from time as Jones bent a strike inches wide of the far post following good work from Addai. They did find the net in the 89thminute, however, as Atangana stroked a finish into the bottom corner, but Kay secured a point for Vale with a header deep into stoppage time.
Port Vale: Scott Brown, Cristian Montano (Scott Quigley 86), Leon Legge, Antony Kay, Manny Oyeleke, Tom Pope ©, Luke Hannant, Connell Rawlinson (Mitch Clark 62), Nathan Smith, Theo Vassell, Tom Conlon.
Unused Substitutes: Sam Hornby, James Gibbons, Luke Joyce, Ben Whitfield, Louis Dodds.
Cheltenham Town: Scott Flinders, Ben Tozer ©, Will Boyle, Jordon Forster, Chris Hussey, Ryan Broom, Nigel Atangana, Conor Thomas, Chris Clements (Johnny Mullins 90), Sam Jones, Luke Varney (Alex Addai 68).
Unused Substitutes: Rhys Lovett, Craig Alcock, Camden Duncan, Archie Brennan, Kelsey Mooney.
Attendance: 3,109 (100 away).