Port Vale picked up their first away point of the season as they drew 1-1 away to Forest Green Rovers in an end-to-end tie.
Neil Aspin’s plan of putting Rovers on the back foot from the get go was clearly being executed, as Vale looked to go ahead early on. Two minutes in and Mitchell Clark came close to putting Vale ahead. Manny Oyeleke found the youngster in acres of space surging forward, but his shot from the edge of the box just dragged wide of the post.
After some sticky battles in the midfield, it was Vale who looked more likely to score, with Tom Conlon on his first start and David Worrall both having their powerful efforts on target well saved by the Rovers keeper.
Despite the opening dominance from the Valiants, it was Rovers who took the lead with their first attempt on goal. After a questionable free kick was awarded, Carl Winchester lost his marker to get his head onto the incoming free kick to put the home side ahead.
Both sides struggled to create much after the opening goal, but Neil Aspin’s frustration was clear to see on the touchline as Vale’s final ball was falling into the wrong feet each time.
The second half began similar to how the first half ended with both sides unable to create any clear-cut chances. Vale’s search for an equaliser looked likely to come from the wing, as Clark and Conlon looked to trouble the Rovers defence with their crosses.
The introduction of Ricky Miller ten minutes into the half to partner Pope up front, was indication of Neil Aspin’s attempt to still go for all three points. The little man came agonisingly close to finding that equaliser. Strong appeals for a push and a handball in the Rovers box were waived away by referee Alan Young much to the frustration of the boys in purple, but Ricky Miller stayed alert and his shot from yards out was well blocked.
After a dominating the chances since Miller’s arrival, Vale’s luck finally took a turn for the better as the referee awarded a penalty for the Valiants. Miller was deemed to have been brought down the box, and Tom Pope made no mistake and blasted the ball into the back of the net.
Vale were on the hunt for a second and the tide seemed to turn in favour of Vale, as Rovers were then reduced to 10 men. Farrend Rawson wiped out Tom Conlon as he looked to break and the referee had no hesitation in sending him off. Rovers looked to take advantage of Vale pressing and committing men forward, and would’ve taken the lead if it weren’t the finger tips of Scott Brown to deny Reid’s curling effort.
FOREST GREEN ROVERS: Robert Sanchez, Liam Shepard, Lloyd James, Farrend Rawson, Carl Winchester (65’ Dayle Grubb), Reece Brown (65’ George Williams), Gaving Gunning, Nathan McGinley, Paul Digby, Joseph Mills, Reuben Reid
PORT VALE: Scott Brown, Mitchell Clark, Nathan Smith, Connell Rawlinson, Luke Hannant, David Worrall (58’ Ricky Miller), Manny Oyeleke, Luke Joyce, Tom Conlon, Ben Whitfield, Tom Pope