Tom Pope scored his 14th goal of the season on Saturday afternoon as Port Vale came from behind to earn a point at home to Yeovil Town. The Valiants fell behind to a Francois Zoko strike early in the first half, but Pope’s late penalty salvaged a draw for Neil Aspin’s men in Sky Bet League Two.
It was the visitors who created the first chance of the afternoon after three minutes as Sam Surridge forced Ryan Boot to tip a shot onto the post and behind. Yeovil’s resulting corner then found Jake Gray just inside the area, but his powerful volley flew just wide and into the side-netting.
Eight minutes later, the Glovers took the lead to punish Vale’s slow start after they stole the ball deep in the final third. Otis Khan then picked out Zoko in a central position and the winger slotted a finish into the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Yeovil continued to look the more threatening of the sides and they almost doubled their advantage on 17 minutes. Jordan Green looked to be through on goal before Boot got down well to divert the ball away from the attacker’s feet, but the rebound fell to Surridge who prodded an effort inches wide of an empty net.
Up the other end with 29 minutes played, the Valiants saw a penalty appeal fall on deaf ears after the ball seemingly struck a defender’s arm inside the box. Yeovil then went close once more after Boot sliced a kick to gift them a chance on 36 minutes, but the goalkeeper recovered well to beat away Surridge’s low drive from 18 yards.
Two minutes later, a scramble inside the away box almost saw Vale capitalise as the ball ricocheted into space, but as Ben Whitfield slid in to try and poke the ball towards goal, the referee blew his whistle for a foul and the Yeovil defence could breathe a sigh of relief.
Darren Way’s men then looked to add a second goal on 40 minutes as they countered with speed, only for Zoko to be denied by Boot who parried the ball away from danger. That proved to be the final opportunity of a frustrating first half for the Valiants.
Following the restart, Vale looked for a leveller and they charged forward on 47 minutes to fashion a chance on goal. Marcus Harness carried the ball into a promising position before letting fly, but his deflected shot found its way through to Krysiak who gathered comfortably.
Despite the positive start to the second half from Vale, they almost conceded again after 49 minutes as Tom James delivered a pinpoint cross that found Surridge. The striker found space to meet the ball and loop a header back across goal with Boot stranded, but the post came to the rescue of the home side.
The visitors then wasted a brilliant opportunity to find the net after 67 minutes as a long ball forward found Omar Sowumni unmarked inside the box, and as the crowd appealed for offside, he headed over from close range with the assistant referee adjudging him to be in an onside position.
Vale were still in the game, however, and a couple of dangerous crosses almost created an opening in the 72nd minute. James Gibbons’ initial cross almost found the head of a teammate before a second delivery was swung in by David Worrall. Pope managed to rise above his marker to knock the ball down, but Nathan Smith was on hand to clear for the visitors.
With the game in its latter stages, the Valiants were handed a lifeline from the spot as Worrall went down under a challenge from Sowunmi following a neat flick by new signing, Donovan Wilson. Pope then stepped up to fire the penalty into the corner to level proceedings with just three minutes left to play.
Port Vale: Boot, Davis, Anderson, Smith, Pugh, Kay, Tonge, Montano (Wilson 45), Whitfield (Gibbons 45), Harness (Worrall 66), Pope ©.
Unused Substitutes: Lainton, Angus, Forrester, Barnett.
Yeovil Town: Krysiak, N. Smith, Bird, Khan, Gray (Whelan 90), Dickinson, Zoko ©, Surridge (Barnes 60), Green (Wing 74), Sowunmi, James.
Unused Substitutes: Maddison, Mugabi, C. Smith, Santos.
Attendance: 4,120 (103 away).