Port Vale suffer their first loss at home in the league this season following a 1-0 defeat to Walsall.
The Vale came into this one looking for their third win in a row in all competitions, yet it was Walsall who got off the to brighter start, and registered the first effort of the match when Wes McDonald cut inside and took a shot which was deflected behind for a corner.
The corner was easily cleared by the Valiants and Askey’s men quickly broke down the left as Tom Conlon lofted a ball through to Cristian Montano who returned to the wing this afternoon, and his pull back was blocked for a corner, yet the Walsall backline averted the danger.
The match slowed down throughout the remainder of the first ten minutes, with neither side managing to create any real chances.
Walsall began to grow into the game after 15 minutes, and McDonald continued to threaten down the left, but James Gibbons was there to sniff out the danger and block the attempted cross.
David Amoo looked bright for the Vale halfway through the first-half, and he travelled down the flank, cut back to beat his man, yet his delivery into the box was caught by Liam Roberts.
It was a scrappy opening half-an-hour to say the least at Vale Park, with Askey’s side struggling to carve a real opening against a stubborn Walsall defence.
It was Jake Taylor with the Valiants’ first real chance of the match, Callum Evans received the ball out on the left and whipped a ball into the box, and there was Taylor who couldn’t quite connect properly and diverted his header wide.
The flow of the match was slightly disrupted for the next five minutes, with the referee blowing for numerous fouls much to the frustration of the fans and players.
Walsall enjoyed the majority of possession towards the back end of the first period and tried to threaten down the left but to no avail.
Just moments later it was the Valiants who came agonisingly close to taking the lead. A corner came in and Walsall could only clear as far as Montano who unleashed a volley which took a deflection off Nathan Smith and flew past the post.
It was a flat first 45 here at Vale Park, with neither side creating anything of note as the teams went into the break goalless.
Thirty-seconds into the second-half Walsall took the lead through Elijah Adebayo. McDonald drilled a low ball into the box from the left and the Walsall forward was there to tap home.
Moments later McDonald nearly turned from provider to goal scorer as he weaved his way into the box, but his attempted shot was expertly blocked by Leon Legge.
The Valiants came close to equalising just before the hour mark in the form of Nathan Smith. Conlon’s delivery from the centre of the park found Smith who was backtracking, yet he could only guide his header wide.
This time it was Conlon who tried his luck. Vale were playing some nice football around the 18-yard-box and it was pulled back to Conlon who was waiting on the edge of the area, yet his side-footed effort dribbled past the post.
Just minutes later it was Smith once again who came inches away from drawing the Valiants level. Tom Pope did well to earn the Vale a corner, and Conlon’s delivery was met by the Smith whose header skimmed the top of the bar.
The Vale dominated possession throughout the next ten minutes and seemed to be edging ever closer to that elusive equaliser.
With just over 10 minutes left in this one, Vale once again came close from a corner. Conlon’s cross was flicked on by Legge but the Walsall defender took it off the head of Pope who was lurking at the back post.
Vale’s hopes of an equaliser seemed to fade even further away after Conlon was dismissed after 82 minutes following a challenge on Josh Gordon.
The Vale thought they had equalised just on the stroke of full-time after Mark Cullen's long range effort appeared to have just been tipped over the bar by Roberts, yet the referee awarded the goal-kick, leaving the Vale fans incensed.
Despite late pressure from Askey's men, the Vale couldn't quite find that elusive equaliser.
Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons, Legge, Pope, Conlon, Montano, Atkinson (78' Bennett), Smith, Taylor, Evans (53' Cullen), Amoo
Unused Subs: Maddison, Burgess, Lloyd, Archer, Trickett-Smith
Walsall: Roberts, Sadler, Clarke, Scarr, Sinclair, Kinsella, Gordon (85' Gaffney), Adebayo (67' Lavery), Guthrie, (53' Holden) Facey, McDonald
Unused Subs: Rose, Norman, Bates, Liddle,