A second-half David Worrall header was enough to seal a 1-0 win for the Vale as Askey’s men condemned Northampton to their first league defeat of 2020.
The Vale nearly got off to the perfect start here at the PTS Academy Stadium, David Worrall latched onto a long ball over the top and found himself one-on-one with David Cornell yet could only divert his shot wide under pressure from the Northampton centre-halves.
It was a fairly even opening ten minutes between two sides who come into this one with confidence, yet play seemed to be slightly disrupted courtesy of the referee’s whistle, restricting both sides to little chances.
Northampton had to wait until the 15th minute for their first real opportunity of the match, a ball was whipped into the back post towards Mark Marshall, yet Mitch Clark did enough to put him off as his headed effort was collected easily by Scott Brown.
Vale earned their first corner of the match on the 20-minute mark after Tom Conlon’s dangerous ball into the box was knocked behind by the Northampton backline, yet Worrall’s resulting delivery was eventually cleared by the home side as both teams struggled to find a breakthrough.
Moments later the Cobblers were on the attack, and a Nicky Adams corner was floated into the box towards Callum Morton, but he couldn’t quite get enough contact on the ball to trouble Brown.
A moment of magic from Sam Hoskins nearly carved an opening for the home side after half-an-hour, the forward flicked it over his head down the line and produced a terrific cross into the box but Morton couldn’t quite get on the end of it.
Moments later it was Nicky Adams who came close to breaking the deadlock for Keith Curle’s men. The Vale were dispossessed in the middle of the park and Morton laid it back to Adams who took one touch and rifled a shot towards the far corner, but Brown got down well to save and smother the rebound; a let off for Askey’s men.
Adams seemed to be at the heart of everything promising for the home side during the latter stages of the first-half, and this time he delivered a 30-yard free-kick into dangerous area but no Northampton player could get on the end of it despite their best efforts.
On the stroke of half-time the Vale came agonisingly close to taking the lead. Worrall’s delivery from a free-kick on the left was met by the head of Richie Bennett who could only send his header over the bar.
The sides went into the interval goalless in what proved to be a very stop-start first 45 minutes at the PTS Academy Stadium.
The home side made a bright start to the second-half and Morton looked to threaten in the opening stages, he picked the ball up in the box and unleashed a powerful shot towards goal but the forward sent it the wrong side of the post as it flew into the side-netting.
Adams picked up where he left off in the opening stages of the second-half, and he really should have put his side ahead. The ball fell to the Northampton number 10 just inside the 18-yard-box yet he failed to trouble Brown in the Vale goal with his effort.
Just moments later Brown produced a stunning save to deny Hoskins on the volley. The ball fell to the Northampton forward perfectly, and he fired a venomous volley towards goal and the Vale number 1 showcased his excellent reflexes to tip over.
It took until the hour mark for the Valiants to have their first real chance of the second-half, and it came in the unlikely form of James Gibbons. Some good interchange on the right saw Worrall feed the ball back to an onrushing Gibbons, and he took one touch and tried his luck from distance, but Cornell got down well to smother.
The hosts then broke straight down the other end and once again Brown was forced into another fine save. Marshall forced his way into the Vale box and laid it off to Lloyd Jones who hit it first time, and his effort stung the palms of Brown who did excellently to keep him out.
It was end-to-end stuff here as we approached the 70th minute mark, and on his 100th Vale appearance, Montano went close. He received the ball on the left and did well to cut in before letting strike with his right foot, but his effort flashed wide of the mark.
With just over 20 minutes left on the clock, Askey’s side took the lead courtesy of a Worrall header at the back post, but Conlon deserves a lot of praise for this one. The midfielder the received the ball from Luke Joyce out on the left and cut in onto his right foot and curled a wonderful cross towards the back post, and there was Worrall to head home to give the Vale the lead.
The home side began to pile the pressure throughout the next ten minutes, but the Vale backline continued to prove stubborn as they thwarted anything thrown at them.
Despite a late surge from the home side, Askey’s side held on to produce an excellent win against promotion-hopefuls, Northampton Town.
Northampton Town: Cornell, Goode, Hoskins, Watson, Adams, Wharton (60’ Williams), Oliver, Jones, Morton, Anderson (71’ Warbuton), Marshall
Unused Subs: Martin, Turnbull, Lines, Harriman, Arnold
Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons, Joyce, Legge, Worrall, Conlon, Montano, Burgess (84’ Smith), Bennett (58’ Pope), Clark, Brisley
Unused Subs: Maddison, Oyeleke, Atkinson, Cullen, Browne,