Leon Legge’s first goal for the club ensures Port Vale take all three points back to Burslem as Vale run out 1-0 victors over local Rivalries Crewe Alexandra, earning their first win on the road since December 2017.
The Vale defender rose highest from a Luke Hannant clipped cross to power the ball past Ben Garratt, proving to be the only goal of the game as Vale finally win on the road.
Having named an unchanged side from the team that beat Northampton Town, Neil Aspin would’ve been hoping his Vale outfit could pick up where they left off last week, though it proved a cagey affair from the off.
The first real chance of the game came with nine minutes played as Ben Whitfield neatly won a free-kick down the right-hand side. Hannant’s whipped cross was cleared only as far as Manny Oyeleke who’s stinging shot from the edge of the box was collected by Crewe ‘keeper Ben Garratt.
As the Vale continued to look strong in possession, it was Ricky Miller who was next to go close. Miller got on the end of a Whitfield pass, before he cut inside taking a pop at goal, though his shot was deflected making it easy for the Crewe stopper to save.
The first half reached its halfway stage as both sides struggled to work each other out, with minimal chances at either end, though it was clear neither side wanted to give anything away during the early encounters.
Crewe had their first sight of goal with 31 minutes played as Callum Ainley’s dragged shot was comfortably saved by Scott Brown – the first time the Vale goalkeeper was forced into action.
Vale continued to come forward as the half pressed on as Tom Pope managed to get on the end of a Whitfield cross, however the Vale skipper could only put his header wide.
With 34 minutes on the clock, Vale did brilliantly to stop themselves going one nil down. Jordan Bowery drove forward down the right-hand side and forced Brown into a brilliant save before the follow up was cleared off the line by Leon Legge.
Aspin would’ve been frustrated not heading into the changing rooms one goal to the good as with just seconds to go in the first-half, Hannant could have put Vale in the lead. Miller’s strike at goal is saved by Garratt before Hannant got on the end of the follow up, but the winger couldn’t convert from what proved to be too tight an angle.
Hannant’s effort was the last of the half as Darren Drysdale brought a highly contested first 45 to an end.
Vale were fastest out of the blocks following the break and will be left wondering how they didn’t score during the opening few minutes. Some brilliant work in the middle of the park from Oyeleke released Miller one-on-one with the goalkeeper. The forwards shot was saved, and Tom Pope came inches from putting Vale into the lead, striking the follow up against the bar.
Aspin’s side continued to press following the restart, as Whitfield maintained the same pressure from the first half. The former loanee received the ball with acres of space and attacked the Crewe full-back before he cut inside and released a shot at goal, though it was straight at Garratt.
As the half ticked on, Vale were rewarded for their pressure through Leon Legge as the commanding centre-back put the Valiants into the lead with just 15 minutes to play. Hannant received the ball on the edge of the box and clipped a delightful cross to the far post where the Vale defender made no mistake, dispatching past the on-standing Garratt, sending the 2000 Vale fans into raptures.
With just over five minutes to go, Aspin’s side began to soak up the pressure, though the waves of Crewe attacks came to no avail following a magnificent Brown save to maintain the slender lead.
Brown’s save proved to be the final action of the game as Vale take all three points at Gresty Road.
Crewe Alexandra: Garratt, Ng, Ray, Porter, Jones, Bowery, Ainley (Miller, 65), Wintle, Kirk, Hunt (O’Connor, 65), Whelan
Unused Subs: Richards, Raynes, Nicholls, Lowery, Finney,
Port Vale: Brown, Legge, Oyeleke, Pope, Miller (Quigley, 81), Hannant (Hardcastle, 88), Rawlinson, Smith, Conlon (Joyce, 65), Clark, Whitfield
Unused Subs: Hornby, Kay, Kanu, Vassell
Attendance: 6180 (1940 Vale)