Two first-half goals from Tom Pope and Michael Tonge were unable to hold off a brave fightback from promotion chasing Accrington Stanley who scored three goals in the final 45 minutes. A brace from Sean McConville and a controversial goal for Billy Kee saw Stanley take all three points at the Wham Stadium.
Port Vale were off to the perfect start as Tom Pope put Vale ahead on three minutes. David Worrall delivered a fine ball into the box as Vale’s number nine converted home. Just the start Neil Aspin would have wanted.
Accrington were soon to look for an equaliser, Kayden Jackson began to trouble Vale’s back four but was unable to convert his 18-yard free kick after he was brought down by Tom Anderson.
The hosts continued to press and arguably had their best chance of the game as Jordan Clark smashed a low ball across the penalty box as neither of the Stanley players manages to get a touch on 19 minutes.
Just before the half hour mark, Pope spotted Worrall down the right-hand side after dispossessing a loose ball. The pair combined again as Worrall’s chance was blocked by Mark Hughes.
Clark yet again seemed to be in the pick of the action as his miraculous 25-yard strike just skimmed the top of the bar, which could have easily crept under Ryan Boot’s bar.
Ben Richards-Everton then went close for the Lancashire-based side as his leaping header narrowly missed the target following a Callum Johnson corner, with just ten minutes to play.
It got even better for Aspin’s men as Michael Tonge buried a 20-yard free kick into the bottom corner on 41 minutes. It caught a slight deflection along the way but was hit with power and accuracy as Tonge got his third goal of the season in Vale colours.
It turned out to be the perfect opening 45 minutes for The Valiants with the team 2-0 up going into the dressing room.
Vale started the second-half way and seemed very much on thr front foot. Until Accrington grabbed their first goal of the afternoon through skipper, Sean McConville. Billy Kee laid the ball off well to him as he struck home past Boot on 51 minutes.
Within seconds, it was all level with Kee equalising for the hosts. A suspected handball saw Stanley’s top goalscorer convert once again, much to the despite of the Vale players.
Ben Whitfield saw his volley go just wide on 59 minutes after a good Worrall cross saw the tricky winger in space which soon went wide.
Donovan Wilson then saw his time to shine as he came on for Whitfield just a few minutes later.
Pope and Wilson now lead the line as Pope looked for a brace, striking a powerful strike across the goal only to be deflected for a corner on 66.
Within a minute, Tom Anderson saw his header saved by Chapman which was pushed onto the bar. It was a thrilling save, much to the appreciation of Stanley supporters.
McConville then got his second of the game burying the ball past Boot after the ball trickled away into the bath of the striker who buried home.
Vale needed a goal to bring back to level terms and on the 79th minute Hannant blasted a 20-yard effort over the bar. Marcus Harness was then the next player to come onto the field as he replaced Anderson.
Cristian Montano soon came on for Luke Hannant who impressed upon his Port Vale debut.
Tonge looked for his second goal of the afternoon, firing on the half-volley from 25 yards. Although his tame effort was fired well over over the goal.
Sadly, it wasn’t enough for The Valiants who failed to get a result on the afternoon. Aspin’s men now host Colchester United next Saturday.
Accrington Stanley Team: Chapman, Hughes, Donacien, Richards-Everton, Nolan, Clark, Brown, Jackson, McConville ©, Johnson, Kee.
Unused Subs: Maxted, Dunne, Zanzala, Williams, McLeod, Francis, Rowan.
Port Vale Team: Boot, Gibbons, Anderson (Harness 80), Smith, Pugh, Tonge, Kay, Hannant (Montano 87), Worrall, Whitfield (Wilson 61), Pope ©.
Unused Subs: Lainton, Jules, Davis, Barnett.
Attendance: 1743 (526 Vale Supporters).