An early Theo Robinson goal secured a 1-0 Good Friday victory for Port Vale over Exeter City as the Valiants made it four league wins on the spin for the first time since 2015.
The Valiants made a blistering start to the game inside two minutes, as Devante Rodney burst through the middle of the pitch with the ball at his feet, before playing the ball through to David Worrall on the right-hand side of the box, whose effort rebounded into the path of Theo Robinson, who tucked away the ball into the bottom corner, to give Vale an early lead.
There was a stoppage in play 11 minutes into the game, with referee Leigh Doughty pulling up with an injury, before having to be helped off by the pitch before being replaced by his linesman, causing a four-minute delay to proceedings.
Rodney almost doubled Vale’s lead with a wonderful effort after 18 minutes, when he won the ball out wide on the half-way line, before running to the edge of the box and curling an effort that was tipped over by Exeter goalkeeper, Jökull Andrésson.
Vale continued to dominate proceedings with Tom Conlon flashing a speculative volley wide after 25 minutes.
A well-timed challenge from Nathan Smith prevented Grecians top-scorer Matt Jay having a clear strike on goal inside the box, as the visitors pushed for an equaliser with the half coming to a close.
On 41 minutes, Rodney again found himself with an opportunity on the edge of the box, but this time his effort sailed harmlessly over Andrésson’s bar, with the Valiants holding the advantage by a solitary goal at the break.
The Valiants started the second-half with the same intent they started the first, with Rodney running into the box before an effort from a tight angle was tipped past the post for a Vale corner.
Exeter had two half-chances of their own at the start of the half with Nigel Atangana’s volley from the edge of the box flying over Scott Brown’s bar, before our goalkeeper had his first save of the game to make when Jay’s effort from 25-yards was taken well by our number one.
Devante Rodney had the ball in back of the net on the hour-mark, but his cool finish was ruled out after the linesman adjudged the forward to be just offside.
And Rodney was causing the Exeter backline all sorts of problems, with his constant desire to beat his man, and with 74 minutes on the clock, he drove forward with the ball, knocking it past his man, before his final touch evaded him in the box and the ball went out of play for a goal-kick.
Vale looked to put the game to bed with ten minutes of the contest remaining, when Worrall’s through ball into the box found Cristian Montano, whose dinked ball into the box evaded Robinson, but was retrieved by Rodney whose effort from inside the box brought out a wonderful save from Andrésson who tipped the goal bound effort from out of the sky and out for a corner.
Scott Brown had to be alert when an Exeter free-kick from out wide was swung into the box, with Tom Parkes meeting the ball from a tight angle, but Brown was down low to deny the Grecians midfielder, before Nathan Smith cleared the ball from any immediate danger.
But the Valiants saw the game out to secure a deserved three points, heading into Easter Monday’s fixture at Harrogate Town.
Port Vale: Brown, Montano, Legge, Smith, Brisley, Worrall, Joyce, Oyeleke, Conlon, Rodney (Cullen 90+1’), Robinson (Guthrie 87’).
Unused subs: Olagunju, Taylor, Amoo, Hurst, Scott.
Exeter City: Andrésson, Key, McArdle (Seymour 65’), Hartridge (Parkes 45’), Page (Sweeney 32’), Willmott, Atangana (Taylor 54’), Collins, Sparkes, Jay (Williams 65’), Bowman.
Unused subs: Lee, Caprice.