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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Port Vale 2-2 Stevenage

17 March 2018

Vale had to come from two goals down in snowy conditions on Saturday, but second-half strikes from Donovan Wilson and Luke Hannant meant Neil Aspin’s men extended their unbeaten home record to eight games in Sky Bet League Two. Luke Amos and Ben Kennedy had put Stevenage into a commanding lead, but they were forced to sh

Stevenage created the first opening of the afternoon inside two minutes as the ball dropped kindly to Amos outside the area, but his snapshot flew over the crossbar. Seven minutes later, the visitors made the breakthrough as Jonathan Smith slid a pass through to Amos, with the winger controlling well before slotting a finish beyond Ryan Boot.

Despite the slow start, Vale were gifted a chance to level proceedings with 12 minutes played. Marcus Harness blocked an attempted clearance from Terence Vancooten and the ball fell fortuitously into his path, allowing him to drive forward into a dangerous position, but he was denied by a sprawling Tom King save.

Following a spell of scrappy football, the Valiants worked an opening again on 20 minutes as Anton Forrester found the feet of Hannant, but his low strike was team and easy for the goalkeeper to gather. John Goddard then set his sights on goal up the other end six minutes later, but his lobbed effort dropped over.

Just after the half hour mark, David Worrall sent in a cross from a wide free-kick and Charlie Raglan outjumped his marker to send a looping header inches wide of the far post. On 35 minutes, a scramble in the Stevenage almost saw Vale score after Hannant’s initial low cross was cleared as far as Harness. His strike was also blocked, and Forrester was unable to convert the follow-up.

Worrall then sent a stooping header narrowly wide in the 45th minute after connecting with a Danny Pugh delivery, but that proved to be the final chance of the half. Just two minutes after the restart, it was Stevenage who came out the strongest and they doubled their advantage through Kennedy who swept a finish past Boot.

As Stevenage looked to extend their lead, Smith saw a powerful strike blocked on 54 minutes before Amos smashed the rebound wide from 20 yards. The introduction of Donovan Wilson at half-time meant Vale had an extra man up front, but the away defence did well to restrict the space in the final third, Forrester seeing a shot blocked after 63 minutes.

That was until the 65th. mi, however, as Hannant did well down the byline to send in a low cross that found a hole in the Stevenage back line. Wilson then controlled expertly before planting a finish above the head of King and in to the roof of the net to bring the Valiants back in touching distance.

As the conditions continued to worsen due to the snow, there was a break in play on 75 minutes to clear the lines, but that did not stop the Valiants equalising two minutes later. Hannant cut inside before unleashing a curling effort into the top corner beyond the reach of the despairing goalkeeper.

It was the home side who carried the most attacking threat after finding a leveller, but they could not find a winner despite applying some real pressure in the seven minutes of additional time. The draw is Vale’s third in succession, and they will go into Tuesday’s clash with Exeter City at Vale Park hoping to pick up another positive result.

Team Line-Ups

Port Vale: Boot, Davis (Gibbons 45), Raglan, Smith, Montano, Harness (Wilson 45), Tonge, Pugh ©, Worrall, Hannant, Forrester

Unused Substitutes: Hornby, Howe, Howkins, Whitfield, Barnett.

Stevenage: King, Smith, Martin, King, Wilkinson, Sheaf, Kennedy, Goddard, Amos (Gorman 87), Newton, Vancooten (Franks 45 (Whelpdale 72)).

Unused Substitutes: Fryer, White, Slater, O’Donnell.

 

Attendance: 3,462 (104 away).


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