Tom Pope scored his 150th career goal, as his brace helped secure a 2-0 win for Port Vale at Roots Hall over Southend United and make it three wins on the spin for the Valiants.
The Valiants almost got off to the perfect start as David Worrall’s header from point blank range was saved by Mark Oxley inside the first 60 seconds, with the Vale pressing for an early lead.
And it was the Valiants who had the next big chance of the game when David Amoo’s ball across the box was met by Tom Conlon, whose placed effort hit the post, before Worrall’s rebound was pushed away by Oxley.
Nathan Smith thought he had given Vale the lead with 34 minutes gone, but referee Tom Nield adjudged Smith to have been offside as he prodded the ball home from Leon Legge’s header.
Vale dominated the chances in the first-half but couldn’t find a breakthrough, with Tom Pope’s header from six-yards that was majestically saved by Oxley, being the last action of a solid first-half for the Valiants.
The second-half started in much the same manner, with Adam Crookes’ driving effort from 25-yards forcing Oxley into yet another save, as Vale kept banging on the door to take the lead.
And with 47 minutes gone, the Valiants finally got their reward when Worrall’s cross was headed home by Tom Pope at the back post, who scored in 150th career goal in typical fashion, giving Vale a deserved lead.
With 55 minutes gone, Terrell Egbri’s long range effort for our hosts, sailed over the bar with little threat to Scott Brown’s goal.
But a special day for Tom Pope was made even better, when Amoo’s ball into the box was met by the head of our record post-war goalscorer, and looped over Oxley, into the far post to give the Valiants a two-goal cushion.
And Popey could have had his hat-trick, after some lovely build-up play from Vale as they worked it well into the box, before Amoo cut the ball back to Pope and his effort from six-yards was agonisingly deflected onto the bar by a Southend defender.
But Pope’s goals were enough to secure a comfortable 2-0 win for the Valiants, to make it three wins on the bounce ahead of our FA Cup First Round clash with King’s Lynn at Vale Park next weekend.
Southend United: Oxley, Bwomono, Hobson, Lennon, Clifford, Olayinka, Dieng, Taylor (Nathaniel-George 64’), Egrbi (Demetriou 67’), Sterling, Goodship (Acquah 71’).
Unused subs: Seaden, Phillips, Taylor, Coker.
Port Vale: Brown, Clark, Smith, Legge, Crookes, Joyce, Conlon, Burgess, Amoo (Mills 82’), Worrall, Pope.
Unused subs: Visser, Brisley, Hurst, Cullen, Robinson, McKirdy.