Vale U18s drew their re-arranged game at home to Accrington Stanley on a pitch that cut up badly from the word go, this made playing football on the deck very difficult for both teams. The pitch was damaged during the recent U18s game against Fleetwood as there was frost below the surface when they played and the foundations suffered.
Vale began brightly and almost took the lead after a pass interchange between Campbell-Gordon and Ede enable Campbell-Gordon to centre to Daulby whose shot was pushed away only as far as Wakefield; his return shot was smothered on the line by the ‘keeper. Ryder did well to make a timely interception to snuff out a promising Accrington attack as the visitors threatened.
Thomas was next to make a break up the right wing and his cross was glanced just wide by Steele breaking from midfield. Vale had an escape just after the half-hour mark when a dipping corner flew through the 6 yard box with no-one able to get the touch that was required to divert it goalwards.
Accrington were well on top in the latter stages of the first period and Accrington’s No. 10 broke down Vale’s right and sent a cross come shot between Blight and the post but a slight deflection off Blight’s boot saw it brush the post and run across the gaol to safety. Just before the half ended Vale had another escape as a corner reached the far post where the attacker could not direct his header under the bar.
Within a minute of the restart Vale were in arrears as Steele conceded a needless penalty with a push in the back as the attacker was almost at the goal-line well clear of the goal; the spot kick gave Blight no chance of making a save. Grimshaw soon replaced Wakefield out on the left wing.
Vale then had a period of dominance as they sought the equaliser and a miss kick by the visiting ‘keeper allowed Benns a chance for a powerful shot that was parried away to safety. Benns and Berks then had long range efforts that the ‘keeper was able to collect low down with too much concern.
Vale made 2 substitutions in the 64th minute as Green-Birch and Ward came on for Daulby and Steele and this soon paid dividends as Green-Birch ran on to a pass from Benns and coolly slotted home from the edge of the area to pull Vale level. Berks then had a powerful shot deflected for a corner.
The last 10 minutes saw Vale under pressure and began with Blight pulling off a smart double save to keep Vale level. Vale were conceding free kicks as Accrington came looking for a winner and Blight made a good save from one of these that finished up with a bicycle kick shot from inside the penalty area. The final attempt to decide the game came in the second minute of added time, again from a set piece as a 35 yard free kick saw Blight initially push the ball up from under the crossbar and then tip it over the bar for a corner that was the final action of the game.
Port Vale: Mawgan Blight, Jake Thomas (Max Beeston 83), Ryan Gordon-Campbell, Joe Berks, Josh Ryder, Finnley Jackson, Jack Wakefield (Jack Grimshaw 58), James Steele (Matty Ward 64), Tom Daulby (Lucas Green-Birch 64), Harry Benns, Josh Ede.
Subs Not Used: Kyle Johnson.