Tom Conlon’s first half goal was not enough to prevent defeat against a strong Sheffield Wednesday outfit.
Goals from Dom Iorfa and Fiyaso Dele-Bashiru earnt the visitors victory in this friendly matchup but Vale gave a good account of themselves against a side who were in the Championship last season. Tom Pett controlled the midfield for the home side creating numerous chances throughout the night.
Fans were finally back at Vale Park after a lengthy absence and almost had an early goal to celebrate. Three minutes in Conlon intercepted the ball in a decent position and put in a shot from around 20 yards. It was directed straight at Bailey Peacock-Farrell in goal who parried it away.
With just over two weeks before the start of the season, manager Darrell Clarke was looking for his best 11 for the game against Northampton Town on the 7th of August. The visitors had their first opportunity on nine minutes with Horede Adedoyin’s back heal from close range but Lucas Covolan was equal to it.
No friendly last week so the players were looking forward to getting back out on the pitch pre-match. After some poor goalkeeping by Peackock-Farrell on the ten-minute mark, it allowed the ball to drop to Devante Rodney who had his half volley blocked away for a corner. Four minutes later and Wednesday almost took the lead through Liam Palmer. A slight deflection carried the ball just over the bar for a corner.
Palmer was at it again 17 minutes in but his volley from a tight angle following a free kick went across the face of goal and out for a goal kick. The breakthrough came a minute later from a corner. Iorfa rose highest in the area and thumped a firm header past Covolan into the net. It took just seven minutes for Vale to equalise, which also came from a corner. David Worrall received the ball in the area unmarked before unleashing a shot at goal which was diverted in by the foot of Conlon to level the game.
Conlon almost turned the game on its head single-handedly, on 32 minutes he turned his man inside out before sending a strike goal bound which was down the throat of Peacock-Farrell. Three minutes later former Valiant Olamide Shodipo had a header tipped over the bar from close range. With 41 minutes played Covolan frustrated Shodipo once more with an excellent save to push his curling effort past the post.
The Valiants had the first chance of the second half, ten minutes after the restart. Ryan Johnson got his head to the ball first following the corner but was unable to direct it towards goal. Two minutes later Sheffield Wednesday had a corner of their own, the initial ball was cleared before half-time substitute Chey Dunkley blasted the rebound well over the bar.
On 68 minutes Brad Walker tried his luck from way out but it sailed over. Seven minutes later Vale came again, this time great work between Walker and Worrall before finding James Wilson who shot first time but his effort was too high. Two minutes later Wednesday were close to getting the lead back with substitute Charles Hagan beating his man with a headed effort but could not trouble Covolan in goal as it went wide of the post.
Wednesday did find the winning goal on 80 minutes, substitute Dele-Bashiru went on a great run through the Vale defence before striking the ball hard into the top corner to give the visitors the lead in the closing stages. The Valiants had chances to find a leveller including an indirect freekick from inside the area after Joe Wildsmith held onto the ball longer than the permitted six seconds.
Walker’s effort was blocked by the Wednesday wall and eventually cleared as the score remained 2-1 to the visitors.
Port Vale: Covolan, Jones, Walker, Smith (61’ Cass), Worrall, Wilson (78’ Proctor), Conlon (78’ Garrity), Johnson (61’ Benning), Martin, Rodney, Pett
Subs not used: Stone, Legge, Hurst, Trialist
Sheffield Wednesday: Peacock-Farrell (67’ Wildsmith), J. Hunt (45’ Brown), Iorfa (76’ Brennan), Hutchinson (45’ Dunkley), Palmer, Green (76’ Galvin), Wing (45’ Dele-Bashiru), Luongo, Adeniran (67’ Hagan), Shodipo (67’ A. Hunt), Adedoyin
Subs not used: Waldock