Nathan Smith’s first-half header was enough to earn Port Vale all three points over Morecambe at Vale Park and secure a sixth straight league victory, in a game which was suspended for 45 minutes due to the weather conditions.
Smith gave the Valiants a 35th minute lead, eight minutes after play had restarted following the first-half suspension, to earn Darrell Clarke’s side a sixth win on the bounce the first time we have achieved this since March 1996.
It was the visitors who started the brighter of the two teams, and within the first three minutes Scott Brown needed to be on his toes to get down to Carl Stockton’s low driven effort, before the same player put a teasing ball across the Vale box just a minute later, but it missed everyone and sailed out for a throw-in.
Both sides struggled to adapt to the snowy conditions in the first twenty minutes, with periods of passing play proving hard to come by under the challenging circumstances.
After twenty-five minutes the game was brought to a halt by referee Antony Coggins due to the challenging conditions, with the game resuming 45 minutes later.
Substitute Kurtis Guthrie had the first half-chance after the restart, when his speculative volleyed effort from the edge of the box was blasted just wide of Kyle Letheren’s near post.
And Vale’s positive start since the restart was rewarded in the 35th minute, after Tom Conlon swung a delightful free-kick into the box, to find an unmarked Nathan Smith who glanced the ball home, to give the Valiants the lead.
The Valiants continued to press following their opener, and Devante Rodney forced a smart save out of Letheren, when he drove into the box before firing a low effort which stung the palms of the Shrimps’ goalkeeper, before the away side eventually cleared.
The visitors were hanging in there though, and remained in the hunt for an equaliser before the break, with an impressive block from Leon Legge denying Carlos Mendes Gomes a shot on Scott Brown’s goal, to preserve Vale’s half-time advantage.
The visitors began the second-half with intent, and Stockton again came close after 50 minutes, this time as he headed wide from six-yards after a lofted ball into the box.
Vale remained in control of the game as the match entered into the final 20 minutes of the match, despite neither side creating any chances of note.
Kurtis Guthrie found himself appealing for a penalty with ten minutes of the game remaining when he ran into the box and felt he was pushed by a Morecambe defender, but the linesman didn’t feel it warranted a spot-kick.
But it didn’t mean much in the end, as a solid second-half performance meant that the Valiants earned another three point before we head to Carlisle United next Saturday.
Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons (Olagunju 90+4’), Legge, Smith, Brisley, Worrall, Joyce (Amoo 72’), Oyeleke (Guthrie 27’), Conlon, Robinson (Taylor 45’), Rodney.
Unused subs: Scott, Hurst, Cullen.
Morecambe: Letheren, Cooney (Diagouraga 72’), Gibson, Lavelle, Knights-Percival, Songo’o (Hendrie 72’), O’Sullivan, Wildig, Lyons (McAlinden 60’), Mendes Gomes, Stockton.
Unused subs: Halstead, Davis, Mellor, Price.