A Mark Cullen brace secured the Vale a well-earned three points to start the season, as they extended their unbeaten opening game of the season run to 16-years with a win over Crawley Town.
The Vale started the game brightly, spreading the play well and working the ball into some decent attacking areas, winning a corner with five minutes played, but Nathan Smith failed to hit the target with his header.
As the game entered the 12th minute, Vale had the first decent chance of the game as a corner tactic saw the ball pulled back to an unmarked Devante Rodney on the edge of the area, but he couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball and scuffed his efforts.
The next good chance also fell Vale’s way, with David Worrall getting the ball under pressure after a ball into the box by Rodney, but failed to get any power behind his shot.
With the game entering the 20 minute mark, action burst into life, first with Mark Cullen having a free, diving-header saved well by Glenn Morris before the visitors ran down the other end of the pitch and had a brilliant chance of their own, as Scot Brown did well to deny Tyler Frost’s powerful effort.
Rodney tried something very special as the half entered its final 15 minutes, as he turned his man and hit a curling effort from 30-yards out, but his speculative effort dipped just too high and wide of the far top corner.
Soon after Vale had a big shout for a penalty waved away by the referee after Smith rose for a header in the Crawley area but appeared to be bashed in the face by the Red Devils’ defender, but the decision was not given.
Vale finally were able to break the deadlock and take a deserved lead just before the half entered it’s final five minutes, as Devante Rodney unleashed his inner Gareth Bale, rolling his man exceptionally and driving forward with pace and power down the wing.
He stood up against his final man, knocked the ball past him and beat him for pace before drilling a low cross into the area where Mark Cullen was there to rocket home the ball home to give the Vale the lead.
Right at the end of the first-half Tom Conlon had a golden opportunity to double the Vale’s lead, as the ball was crossed into Vale’s number 10 at the back post, but he couldn’t direct his free header on target.
It took five minutes for the first chance of the second period and it went Crawley’s way, an exquisite cross ball switch launched the attack which saw the ball pulled back to the edge of the area where a thunderous effort was hit at goal but Brown was able to make a top save, before catch the ball from another attempt two minutes later.
The following period of play saw both teams continue to cancel each other out and fail to generate any chances, with Nathan Smith cutting out the most promising attack with a header back to Brown.
Vale had to wait until the 63rd minute for their first attempt of the second-half but it was nearly well worth the wait, as Conlon flicked the ball back from the by-line and volleyed across goal just past the far post.
Crawley nearly levelled things up just minutes after as they had an effort cleared off the line by David Fitzpatrick.
That clearance would prove key for the Vale as they went down the other end of the pitch and doubled their lead, with Cullen doubling his tally for the day.
Conlon picked up the ball on the edge of the area and curled a beautiful effort towards the far top corner but was denied by the post, however Cullen was in the right place to collect the ball, steady himself and emphatically drill the ball into the open net from point blank range.
Conlon continued to come close to getting on the scoresheet in the 77th minute as the ball was worked through to him and he tried to round the keeper but the on-rushing Morris was too close for Conlon to beat him and find the net.
In the 87th minute Cristian Montano nearly made a big impact off the bench, beating his man really well to head towards the bottom corner, only to be denied by a fantastic Morris save.
Morris was called into action yet again soon after as Scott Burgess tried a close range dink but was also denied by the Crawley stopper.
Port Vale: Brown, Mills, Legge, Smith, Fitzpatrick, Joyce, Conlon, Burgess, Rodney 78’ Montano), Worrall, Cullen (83’ Robinson)
Unused Subs: Crooke, Oyeleke, Brisley, Whitehead, Visser
Crawley: Morris, Davies, Doherty, Craig, Tunnicliffe, Francombe, Frost (68’ Nichols), Ferguson, Ashford (68’ Hessenthaler), Powell, Nadesdan
Unused Subs:, McGill, McNerney, Allarakhia, German, Galach