A Mark Cullen brace sealed a 2-1 win over Newcastle United Under-21's to ensure Port Vale top spot in Leasing.com Trophy group.
It was the away side who created the first chance of the evening as Elliot Anderson collected the ball in the box and drilled a slow shot, but Keiran Kennedy was there to block.
The Vale didn’t have the fastest of start to this one, yet Mark Cullen did well to earn the first corner of the match which was easily cleared at the front post.
The young Magpies continued to pressure the Vale back line throughout the first ten minutes and this time it was Thomas Allan who was threaded through down the right-hand side, and he cleverly found top scorer Luke Charman on the edge of the box whose shot was blocked.
Just after 13 minutes the away side should have taken the lead at Vale Park. Jack Young did well to beat his man inside the box and get his shot off early, yet his low effort was expertly saved by Jonny Maddison on his debut for the club.
Maddison continued to look lively early on in this one, this time a deep cross came in from Allan on the right, but the Vale keeper came out well to punch clear.
There was nothing to separate the side after 23 minutes, the away side looked the more threatening, yet the new-look Vale defence stood firm.
It took 26 minutes for Askey’s side to create their first real chance of note, and it came in the unlikely form of Kennedy. The Vale centre-half did well to control the ball in the box, yet his volley on the turn went wide of the post.
Just moments later it was Cullen who had the best chance of the game. He received a ball over the top and his first touch set him up perfectly for the shot, but his effort sailed over the bar.
Askey’s men started to look threatening just before the half-hour mark, and a third chance in quick succession fell to Jordan Archer. It was another corner which was floated to the back post were Archer rose highest but couldn’t divert his effort on target.
The Valiants really started to assert their dominance and after 36 minutes it was another chance for Cullen. Callum Evans received the ball on the left, delivered an early ball and Cullen got up well but his header flew over the bar.
Five minutes before half-time the Vale pressure eventually paid off as they took a well-deserved lead through the lively Cullen. Archer was quickest to react to a defensive error as he picked the ball up on the edge of the Newcastle area, the Vale forward took an early shot which was well saved by Jake Turner, yet Cullen was alert to slide home the rebound.
Just as the Vale looked to head comfortably into the break with the lead, Maddison was called upon to make a fine save to keep the Valiants ahead. Allan was threaded through on goal, yet the Vale keeper stood firm to get low to deny the young Magpies an equaliser.
After a slow start to the first-half, the Vale came into they’re on and dominated play, taking a well-deserved lead going into the break.
Just a minute after the restart Rhys Browne thought he had doubled the Vale’s advantage, yet the linesman controversially did not award the goal. A long ball was played over to Browne, who took one touch and side-footed a volley over the keeper which crashed against the crossbar, it appeared to have bounced well over the line before coming back out, yet the officials decided otherwise.
Just moments after the Vale thought they had scored a second, the away side equalised as Elliot Anderson latched onto a Jamie Sterry cross and headed home to restore parity.
Just before the hour mark Trickett-Smith came agonisingly close to restoring the Vale’s advantage. A cross from the left found an unmarked Smith whose header was tipped over the bar.
It was a nervy next ten minutes with neither side creating much, yet on 75 minutes Mo Sangare was threaded through but his effort was blocked well.
With five miutes left, Maddison did well once again to deny Newcastle a potential winner. Charman found himself with space inside the box but his effort was well saved by the Vale keeper.
With just three minutes left on the clock, Cullen put the Vale ahead once again. He was put through on goal and he rounded the keeper excellently and rolled the ball into the empty net.
Despite late pressure from the away side during the five additional minutes, the Vale held on for victory.
Port Vale: Maddison, Kennedy, Conlon (61’ Conlon), Atkinson, Cullen, Brown, Evans, Lloyd, Trickett-Smith, Brisley, Archer (65’ Burgess)
Unused Subs: Brown, Gibbons, Smith, Campbell-Gordon, Hurst
Newcastle United Under-21's: Turner, Sterry, Scott (65’ Longelo) Sangare, Cass, Charman, Allan, Walters, Francillette, Young, Anderson (84' Scott)
Unused Subs: Fernandez, Wilson, Langley, Gamblin, Reed,