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Match Reports

Match Report: Exeter City

28 January 2020

Port Vale made it two consecutive wins at Vale Park as a stunning second-half comeback saw Askey's side pick up a 3-1 against promotion-hopefuls, Exeter City.

It was a quick start from the away side who were looking to continue their fine form in the league this evening, and Scott Brown was called into action early as he was forced to make a smart save at his near post with the Grecians claiming the first corner of the match.

A slow five minutes then followed a good chance for Exeter early on, as numerous fouls seemed to disrupt the flow of the game throughout the opening exchanges.

Jayden Richardson was looking to cause the Vale defence problems down the right flank, and he did well to find some space and stand up a cross to the back post, but Ryan Bowman could only send his header wide of the mark.

However, the Vale nearly made the away side rue missed chances when Tom Conlon latched onto a fine James Gibbon’s cross, but his header was deflected behind for a corner.

After 20 minutes, Exeter came close to taking the lead courtesy of a James Gibbons own goal. Nicky Ajose sprayed a ball across the box and Gibbons got the final touch, but he did well to send the ball just wide of the post.

Moments later, the pressure from the Grecians paid dividends as they took the lead through Ajose who was alone in the box and tapped home from close range to make it 1-0.

John Askey’s side responded well however, and Richie Bennett came agonisingly close to an equaliser minutes later. David Worrall delivered a pinpoint cross from the right as he does so often, and Bennett rose the highest and flicked his header towards the near post but it flashed narrowly wide of the mark.

It was a more promising spell for Askey’s side after going behind, and once again they nearly restored parity, this time from Leon Legge. Worrall delivered a corner from the right and the Vale centre-half got up well but could only glance his header wide.

It was a tough first-half for Askey’s men as the away side went into the interval a goal up and were good value for their lead.

It was the perfect start to the second-half for the Vale as Bennett converted from the spot to draw the Askey’s side level. Amoo broke down the right and a fine touch lead to him being brought down in the box and in the absence of Tom Pope who started on the bench, Bennett calmly slotted his penalty into the bottom right corner to make it 1-1.

Moments later Bennett should have got his second in as many minutes to put the Valiants ahead. Amoo once again looked threatening down the ride and floated in a terrific cross and there was Bennet all alone, but he couldn’t manage to divert his effort on goal.

On 56 minutes the away side thought they had restored their lead when Bowman fired past Scott Brown, but the linesman had his flag raised to deny the Exeter forward.

Chances were arriving thick and fast for both sides in the opening 15 minutes of the second-half, and this time it was Scott Burgess who should have put the ball in the back of the net. Bennett flicked Gibbons’ delivery onto Worrall at the back stick who played a tempting ball across to Scott Burgess, but he fired his effort well over the bar; a golden opportunity for the home side.

Amoo was really giving the Exeter defence a torrid time in the second-half, and went close himself when he latched onto a ball over the top and weaved his way into the box, but could only fire wide; you got the sense that a second Vale goal was on its way.

With 25 minutes left on the clock the constant Vale pressure eventually bore fruit as Legge claimed his first ever Vale Park goal to complete the turnaround.The Exeter defence failed to clear a deep cross from Worrall and the centre-half was there to scramble the ball past a diving Jonny Maxted; a well-deserved lead for Askey’s men who were much-improved from the first-half.

The message was clear from Askey that he didn’t want his side to stop there, and Amoo nearly made it three when he latched onto Worrall’s cross at the near post but an alert Maxted got down well to tip round the post.

Exeter were really not prepared for what Vale had in store for them in the second-half and Bennett nodded home his second of the night to put some breathing room between themselves and the Grecians. Burgess floated a teasing ball into the box and Bennett wasn’t about to lose out as he leaped above everyone to head home and extend the Vale’s lead to 3-1; Exeter couldn’t seem to deal with the Valiants’ attacking prowess in the second period.

Tom Pope had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes before he nearly sealed the for the Vale. Worralls deflected pass fell into the path of Pope who took a touch an unleashed a venomous strike with his left-foot, stinging the palms of Maxted who saved for a corner.

Taylor's side only really began to apply pressure in the closing stages of the second-half, yet the Vale defence stood firm to thwart anything thrown at them.

Askey's side put on a terrific show in the second-half against a side who were yet to concede in the league in 2020 before today, as a 3-1 win saw the Valiants' emphatic home form continue.

 

Line-ups

Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons, Joyce, Legge, Worrall, Conlon, Montano, Amoo, Burgess (85' Pope), Bennett, Brisley

Unused Subs: Maddison, Evans, Atkinson, Lloyd, Browne, Campbell-Gordon

Exeter City: Maxted, Sweeney, Atangana, Martin, Bowman, Ajose (85' Fisher), Parkes, Richardson, Dickenson, Taylor (70' Law), Collins

Unused Subs: Ward, Williams, Jay, Martin, Moxey, Fisher

 


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