The Valiants were held to a 1-1 draw by Stevenage at Vale Park, extending their unbeaten run to seven games, in a match that was clouded by controversial officiating.
After a back and forth start it was Port Vale’s Jake Taylor who had the first effort of the game, setting the ball onto his right foot on edge of the box, but he could replicate his stunner from Macclesfield and his shot curled just past the near post.
The Vale remained on the front foot however and Will Atkinson showed some excellent work when he drove down the wing, winning the ball and playing it into the feet of David Amoo who cut back, leaving the defender and finding space.
Amoo then played the ball across the face of goal where Taylor arrived and sent the ball into the back of the net, putting Vale in front after just seven minutes thanks to one of the best team goals you’ll see all season.
The goal seemed to shock the visitors into the game, with them begging to apply pressure, sending multiple balls into the box, but Stevenage were unable to forge a clear chance, with the defence and Scott Brown sweeping up all the loose balls.
Stevenage’s Scott Cuthbert suffered a head injury and had to receive treatment, which took some of the sting out of the game but in the 19th minute, Vale had a very strong penalty claim waved off as Taylor unleashed an shot on goal that appeared to be blocked by a defenders arms.
The controversy grew as the visitors went down the other end of the pitch and were awarded a very soft penalty for a mild shirt pull by Richie Bennett that failed to take the Stevenage attacker off balance.
Forward Kurtis Guthrie stood over the spot kick in the 21st minute and calmly rolled the ball into the bottom left corner to tie things up.
The referee continued to generate annoyance from the Vale fans, awarding multiple soft free-kicks to the visitors and slowing down the game.
David Worrall came extremely close in the 34th minute to finding his first goal of the season and Vale’s second of the game, combining well with Amoo before juggling the ball into the box and forcing an outstanding save by Paul Farman to keep the game level.
Vale continued their forward press as the half ran down, but were kept at an arm’s length by the defence, with Amoo and Montano causes problems with darting runs down both flanks as the half drew to a close.
Stevenage started the second-half in quick fashion, flashing a ball into the box that was cleared to the where a player was waiting but he could do no more than slash a volley over the bar.
In the 54th minute Worrall delivered a free-kick into the box that was missed by everyone and fell to Bennett at the back post but he was unable to connect properly with his half-volley and the ball flew over the bar.
Guthrie was next to come close, winning a header at the far post but his looping effort was comfortably saved by Brown.
Bennett nearly added to his growing tally for the season with what would have been an absolute wonder goal, flicking up the ball, spinning and volleying from 30-yards out, forcing Farman to tip the ball over his bar.
With 65 minutes played Stevenage came millimetres from going in front, having two efforts at goal, the first blocked by Leon Legge, the second saved by Brown before a goalmouth confusion saw Nathan Smith finally get the ball clear off the line.
Guthrie once again tested the Vale goal with a beautiful free-kick that dipped over the wall but Scott Brown was able to get down to his right-hand corner and make the save.
Tom Pope came off the bench and began to cause problems for the Stevenage defence, and from a Worrall cross was grabbed and wrestled to the ground inside the box but again the referee waved off the incident.
With three minutes of normal time remaining, James Gibbons curled an inviting ball into the box where Bennett arrived the meet it with his head by his effort just skimmed over the crossbar as the Vale continued to hunt for a winner that they were unable to find.
Port Vale: Brown, Crookes, Atkinson (81’ Gibbons), Joyce, Legge, Worrall, Montano (73’ Pope), Amoo, Smith, Taylor, Bennett.
Unused Subs: Browne, Burgess, Brisley, Archer, Maddison
Stevenage: Farman, James-Wildin (59’ Vancooten), Stokes, Cuthbert, Carter, Cowley (54’ Mackail-Smith), Watts, Guthrie, Nugent, Denton, Timlin.
Unused Subs: Byrom, Sonupe, Bastien, Iontton, Parrett.