Port Vale's Leasing.com Trophy run came to an end this evening following a 3-0 defeat to Salford City.
The Vale looked bright early in this one with Mark Cullen looking to get in behind, and did well to get on the end of a lofted ball from Tom Conlon, the Vale forward then switched the ball to an onrushing Richie Bennett but his cross was easily claimed by the Salford keeper.
Minutes later the home side looked to carve an opening for themselves, and it was Danny Lloyd who picked the ball up in midfield and tried his luck from distance but it harmlessly flew over the crossbar.
It was a relatively end-to-end opening five minutes here at the Peninsula Stadium and it was the Valiants' turn to attack next. Conlon wriggled his way into the box and drove a low cross into the box which was deflected up into the air by a defender in red, and as the ball floated, Cullen tried an audacious overhead kick but failed to trouble Kyle Letheren in the Salford net.
Adam Rooney was the first player to have on effort on target in this one. A cross came in from the right-hand side and the Salford forward met the ball with his head, yet Scott Brown was untroubled as he collected with ease.
The tempo certainly slowed down throughout the next ten minutes with neither side able to create any real openings.
With 20 minutes gone, Cristian Montano did well to earn Askey’s men a free-kick in a dangerous area and it was delivered to the back post where Shaun Brisley rose highest but saw his header blocked out for a corner.
On the half-hour mark Salford’s Jake Jervis was presented with the best chance of the game, yet couldn’t take advantage. A cross from Luke Armstrong was cleared only as far as Jervis who could only slice his first-time effort wide of the mark.
With ten minutes to go in the first-half, the home side took the lead through Cameron Burgess. A corner came in from the left-hand side and Burgess was left unmarked to tap home from close range.
Rooney was next to try his luck for the Ammies as he struck the ball on the half-turn yet once again the Vale defence were there to block for a corner.
The resulting corner fashioned another good chance for the home side as a shot was sent goal-bound, but Gibbons was positioned to flick the effort behind for another Salford corner; this one well dealt with by the Vale.
Chances really came few and far between for Askey’s men in the first-half as they trailed by a solitary goal at the interval.
With two minutes gone in the second-half, Richie Bennett nearly produced a stunning goal to restore parity for the Vale. He received the ball on the edge of the 18-yard-box to the left-hand side and he audaciously curled the ball with the outside of his foot only to see his effort crash off the crossbar; undoubtedly a contender for the club’s Goal of the Season had it gone in.
Askey’s side began the second-half with contrasting energy to how they ended the first; on the front foot and already looking more likely to find that elusive equaliser.
Graham Alexander’s men started to grow into the second half as we approached 55 minutes, a low cross to the right found a lurking Armstrong, but the ball was slightly behind him and he fired his shot over the bar.
The home side continued to threaten down the left flank and Lloyd delivered a wicked ball into the box, but Jervis couldn’t quite get the clinical touch to double the Ammies’ advantage.
Askey’s men were still being kept firmly at bay with less than half-an-hour left, and the frustration grew as the referee’s whistle continued to disrupt the flow of the match.
Moments later the Valiants came agonisingly close to levelling proceedings. James Gibbons was allowed to get forward for the first real time in the match, and did well to find space on the right and deliver, yet Cullen couldn’t quite divert his effort on target.
Will Atkinson then took it upon himself to search for the equaliser, and as soon as he opened up some space, he unleashed an effort from 25-yards-out which arrowed wide of the post.
It was a handful of chances for the Vale in a matter of minutes here in Salford. Cullen produced some trickery to beat his man on the left and his delivery was steered just over the bar by Salford’s Ibou Touray for an away corner.
The Valiants were left to rue missed chances as Salford put breathing space between themselves and the Vale thanks to an Armstrong goal. Touray whipped in an excellent cross from the right, and Brown pulled off a stunning save to deny Mani Dieseruvwe on the initial effort, yet could do nothing about the follow up as Armstrong fired home from close range to make it 2-0.
Things went from bad to worse for Askey’s side as Jervis all but settled proceedings by putting the home side 3-0 up with five minutes left. An excellent ball found Jervis who was too quick for the Vale defence and he rifled home leaving Brown with no chance.
It was an underwhelming evening for the Vale as Askey's men fail to reach the quarter-finals of the Leasing.com Trophy.
Salford City: Letheren, Wiseman, Touray, Armstrong, Rooney (75' Dieseruvwe), Lloyd, Hughes, Burgess, Baldwin, Whitehead (75' Threlkeld) Jervis (86' Pond)
Unused Subs: Neal, Thomas-Astante, Doyle, Burgess
Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons, Joyce, Conlon, Montano, Atkinson, Cullen, Smith, Browne (66' Archer), Bennett (87' Lloyd), Brisley
Unused Subs: Maddison, Legge, Evans, Burgess, Trickett-Smith,