Despite a battling performance from the Vale, Askey's men fell to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City in FA Cup third round this evening, but will walk away with their heads held high.
It was a really bright start here for the Vale at the Etihad, with the Valiants earning the first corner of the match inside a couple of minutes after Scott Burgess’s shot was deflected behind; the City defence did well to clear Worrall’s delivery.
Askey’s side continued to make a really confident start to this one, with the backing of 8,000 travelling Valiants behind Scott Brown’s goal, City were limited to no real chances within the first five minutes.
However, just as we closed in on the ten-minute mark, David Silva received the ball on the left-hand side and did well to pick out Phil Foden in the middle of the box, but his effort was expertly blocked by Nathan Smith.
Cristian Montano looked lively early on as he made a surging run down the left flank, yet it was one touch too many in the end as the danger was dealt with.
It was the Silva-Foden link-up play that tried to cause the Vale backline problems once more as the latter latched onto a floated ball into the box, but Brown did well to hold onto the young midfielder’s header.
On 18 minutes the home side found a breakthrough and to say it was harsh on the Vale would be an understatement. Oleksandr Zinchenko picked the ball up outside the area and tried an audacious effort, which took a touch off Leon Legge to take the ball out of Brown’s reach.
Despite a bright reaction from Askey’s side, City came agonisingly close to doubling their advantage after 25 minutes. Silva was well picked out at the back stick and had an open goal to aim at, but he drilled his shot into the ground and just as the home fans started to celebrate a second, the ball rebounded off the bar and Sergio Aguero somehow failed to poke home the rebound; a let off for the Valiants.
Zinchenko was clearly confident after his deflected effort put the Citizens ahead, and he tried his luck once more from a similar position, but this time the block took it behind for a corner.
As we approached the 35th minute, Tom Pope continued his fine FA Cup form this term as he drew the Vale level. It was a great move from Askey’s side who looked no stranger to Premier League oppositions, the ball found its way to David Amoo for the first real time in the match, and he produced an excellent delivery and Pope shrugged off Harwood-Bellis and diverted his header beyond Claudio Bravo.
Just as the Vale started to look comfortable in this one City restored their advantage and it was another unfortunate one. Foden received the ball on the left and produced a fine ball to the back post and Aguero’s effort deflected off Legge and went in. After a VAR check for offside, the goal was given and City took a 2-1 lead.
Despite a valiant first-half effort from Askey’s men, they trailed at the break.
Just moments into the second-half, Aguero should have had his second, and City’s third of the evening. Angelino pulled it back to the Argentinian on the edge of the box who fired his first-time effort over the bar.
It was a dominant opening five minutes in the second period from Guardiola’s men, and once again they should have extended their lead. Aguero floated a ball to the back post to Bernardo Silva and he headed towards the far corner, but it was excellently tipped onto the post by Brown.
Brown was called into action just seconds later as a lofted ball over the top found an unmarked Foden, yet once again his volley couldn’t find its way past a stubborn Brown.
The Vale defence continued to prove resilient, and this time It was Silva who thought we was through on goal but Legge intervened and poked it out for a corner.
VAR was once again involved as John Stones added to the home side’s lead. The ball fell the City centre-half and his effort looked to have hit a teammate who was stood in an offside position, yet VAR cleared up the confusion and the goal was given on the hour mark.
Vale continued to press in this one, and Stones held on for the ball too long at the back and his attempted clearance was blocked by a determined Pope, and the ball fell kindly to the alert Tom Conlon, however his diving header went whiskers wide of Bravo’s post; agonisingly close for the Vale.
With 76 minutes on the clock, the home side well and truly wrapped the game up as Foden tapped home from close range to put the home side 4-1 to the good.
Just as we approached the full-time whistle, Brown denied the home side a fifth as he got down well to save from Mahrez.
It was an excellent performance from both the players and the 8,000 Vale supporters this afternoon, yet despite their fine efforts, Man City proved too strong as it ended 4-1 to the home side.
Man City: Bravo, Stones, Gundogan (76' Mahrez), Aguero, Zinchenko, Angelino, Silva (76' Doyle), Silva, Cancelo, Foden, Harwood-Bellis
Unused Subs: Carson, Walker, Sterling, Jesus, Garcia,
Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons, Joyce, Legge, Worrall, Pope (78' Cullen), Montano, Smith, Taylor (61' Atkinson), Amoo, Burgess (61' Conlon)
Unused Subs: Maddison, Browne, Bennett, Brisley