Port Vale's unbeaten run goes on thanks to an Idris Kanu last minute goal to give Port Vale a well earned point against high flyers Exeter City.
Port Vale headed into the tie unchanged from the side that beat Crewe last weekend though Neil Aspin’s in-form side struggled to gain a foothold during the early encounters of the game.
Despite the scrappy start, it was Vale who had the first real chance of the game with nine minutes played. Tom Conlon did well in the middle to make space for himself before he hung up a dangerous cross to the far post, though Tom Pope couldn’t get enough purchase on his header as the keeper saved with ease.
As the half pressed on, Vale found their feet. Again, some brilliant work from the industrious Conlon broke up the play in the middle of the park to release Ricky Miller, though the forward could only steer his shot wide of the right-hand post.
With 26 minutes played, Pope almost had Vale in the lead. Ben Whitfield steadied himself down the right-hand side before he whipped in a cross to the Vale skipper – Pope’s header scraped wide of the post. Though the Grecians looked good in possession, it was the Valiants who dominated the early chances.
Exeter’s first real chance came with 15 minutes to play in the first half. Lee Martin picked up the ball down Vale’s left-hand side before he put in a dangerous cross to the in-form Jayden Stockley. The Grecians forward couldn’t steer his header on target, though it deflected to Exeter number 8 Nicky Law who picked up inside the box though his eventual shot flew high of Scott Brown’s goal.
The best chance of the half came with just two minutes to play in the first-half. Conlon picked the ball up 25 yards from goal before hitting an absolute screamer towards the top right-hand corner, and Vale would’ve been ahead but for a brilliant Christy Pym save as he flicked the ball onto the crossbar.
Conlon’s long-range effort proved the last action of the first-half as Sebastian Stockbridge ended a goalless first period.
Just three minutes after the restart, Exeter City took the lead through Nicky Law. The commanding Hiram Boateng did well to hold up the ball before squaring to Law who had the simplest of tap-ins to put his side one goal to the good.
Vale replied in brilliant fashion following the opening goal as Ricky Miller almost had Aspin’s side level within two minutes. In typical fashion, Pope won the header from a long-ball before he found his strike partner, Miller, whose shot flashes into the side netting. The crowd were up on their feet as the strike looked to have flown onto the top corner.
It was all Vale following the opening goal of the game, as Whitfield was next to go close. The midfielder got hold of the ball inside the Grecian’s area following some determined work from Conlon, though the former loanee couldn’t keep his effort down as his strike sails over the bar.
As the second-hand ticked on, Vale continued to throw everything at the Grecians in search of an equaliser. Neil Aspin was left frustrated having two penalty shouts turned down as Tom Pope looked to have been fouled inside the box on a couple of occasions.
A massive save from Scott Brown kept Vale in the game with just minutes to play. Some neat inter-play on the edge of the Vale box was followed by a strong Martin shot, though the Vale stopper was equal to it as he parried away from danger.
It was Vale who would have the last laugh as with just seconds to go, Idris Kanu scored his first goal for Port Vale to bring Aspin's side level.
It was scrappy as Clark whipped in a deep cross from the corner and Nathan Smith did well to nod to the back post. Connell Rawlinson was next to rise highest though his header crashed against the cross bar - the ball then fell for substitue Kanu who made no mistake heading into an empty net.
Kanu's late strike proved the last action of the half as Neil Aspin's side earn a well deserved point at Vale Park.
Port Vale: Brown, Legge, Oyeleke, Pope, Miller (Kanu, 70), Hannant, Rawlinson, Smith, Conlon, Clark, Whitfield
Unused subs: Joyce, Kay, Hornby, Quigley, Vassell, Hardcastle
Exeter City: Pym, Sweeney, Martin, Tillson (Ogbene, 65), Martin (O’Shea, 90), Law, Stockley, Moxey, Croll, Taylor, Boateng (Collins, 70)
Unused Subs: Hamon, Forte, Jay, Hartridge