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Match Reports

REPORT: Vale 1-1 Blackburn Rovers

14 July 2018

Port Vale kicked off their home pre-season preparations with a draw on Saturday afternoon as they held Blackburn Rovers at Vale Park. Neil Aspin’s men did go in front courtesy of a Charlie Mulgrew own-goal, but Darragh Lenihan struck back midway through the first half to deny the Valiants a victory.

Vale got off to a fast start and they had the ball in the back of the net via the head of Nathan Smith on six minutes, but the defender was adjudged to have strayed into an offside position before he met Tom Pope’s flick-on.

The visitors did begin to gain some possession in the early stages, but they did fall behind on nine minutes as a mix-up in the defence gifted Vale the lead. Mulgrew was the unfortunate defender who fired beyond his own goalkeeper, misplacing a header over Andrew Fisher and across the line.

Some positive build-up play worked another opportunity on 20 minutes, but Pope could only send his volley wide after latching onto a David Worrall pass. Derrick Williams then headed over the bar up the other end just seconds later after he met a dangerous Craig Conway set piece.

With 26 minutes played, Rovers did manage to level proceedings following an in-swinging corner from Conway. Lenihan managed to find some space inside the box before planting a header into the top corner, despite the best efforts of Scott Brown who got his fingertips to it.

As the Sky Bet Championship side started to see more of the ball, Lewis Travis was able to get down the byline before drilling in a low cross, but Brown was alert to the danger. Worrall then skewed an effort over almost immediately afterwards following another promising Valiants attack.

Five minutes before half-time, Blackburn almost pulled themselves ahead as Bradley Dack picked out Conway inside the area, but Connell Rawlinson was on hand to prod the ball away from the attacker before clearing.

Both managers decided to freshen things up during the interval, with Vale making three changes and Blackburn introducing six new players to the game. Danny Pugh then replaced Manny Oyeleke on 51 minutes after the midfielder limped off the pitch through injury.

It was Rovers who threatened early on, with Dack driving an effort just wide from range after 54 minutes. He then registered another attempt on goal two minutes later after a neat one-two with Dominic Samuel, but his chipped strike was easy for Hornby to gather.

Brendon Daniels was then brought on for Luke Joyce with 63 minutes played, and his first touch of the game saw him send a dipping free-kick towards goal, only to be denied by David Raya. 

A remarkable goalmouth scramble almost saw Rovers take the lead in the 67thminute, but Sam Hornby, James Gibbons and the crossbar came to Vale’s rescue before Peter Whittingham smashed the rebound way over from 18 yards.

With substitutions aplenty, the game failed to produce any sort of rhythm and chances came few and far between. Blackburn did look a threat, but they failed to test Hornby as the Vale back line stood strong.  

Team Line-Ups

Port Vale: Brown (Hornby 45), Gibbons, Smith, Rawlinson, McKeown, Joyce (Daniels 63), Worrall (Kanu 45), Oyeleke (Pugh 51), Hannant, Pope (Quigley 45), Dodds (Benns 80).

Unused Substitutes: Tonge.

Blackburn Rovers: Fisher (Raya 60), Lenihan (Bell 45), Mulgrew (Nyambe 45), Williams (Wharton 45), Bennett, Smallwood (Davenport 45), Travis, Evans (Downing 45), Dack (Rothwell 60), Samuel (Nuttall 60), Conway (Whittingham 45).

Unused Substitutes: Tomlinson.

 

Attendance: 966 (245 away)


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