A late charge from Vale in the last ten minutes but they couldn’t change the result. First Port Vale goals for Will Swan and Alex Hurst gave the Valiants some hope into the latter stages but it was the home side who took all three points.
The hosts stay top of the league thanks to Alfie May, a Scott Brown own goal and Sercombe who produced the goals for the Robins. A first goal for Will Swan which looked like a consolation goal before Hurst got his first, but Vale were a goal short to take any points from the game.
An impressive performance in the reverse fixture against Cheltenham saw Port Vale come out 2-1 winners. Vale started the game on top with some early pressure, Tom Conlon had the first effort on goal with a half volley from outside the area on three minutes which went just over the bar. Cheltenham had their first attack after 11 minutes, the home side got the ball on the left and drilled the ball low into the box which found Callum Wright who fired a shot at goal but a great save by Brown denied him before Sam Smith got to the rebound and hit the post before the ball was cleared away.
Cheltenham climbed to the top of the table on Tuesday night so Vale would have to be at their best to get a result. A long ball up field by the home side caused confusion for Scott Brown who didn’t read the flight of the ball and let Alfie May take the ball round him and pass the ball into the net to give the Robins the lead on 14 minutes.
The last away game for Port Vale before they return to Vale Park for three consecutive home games against Oldham, Bolton and Newport. After the opening goal Cheltenham showed their dominance, three minutes after the goal Sam Smith got another shot away which was dangerously close to Vale’s net.
The home team kept the pressure on and made it 2-0 as May fired a shot at goal which hit the underside of the crossbar and hit Scott Brown’s back to cross the line and double Cheltenham’s lead on 18 minutes. Vale looked to respond straight away with a ball into the box with 22 minutes played but Conlon’s header went over the bar.
Zak Mills ventured forward two minutes later and had a dangerous shot towards goal which was deflected wide for a corner. A corner three minutes later lead to a chance for Kurtis Guthrie in the air but his effort went over the bar for a goal kick. Finn Azaz on 42 minutes tired to extend the Robins lead with a shot from the corner of the box but it was blocked well by the Vale defence out for a corner.
The last action of the first half was an excellent shot from Hussey following a long throw but was matched by Brown who palmed it away from danger to keep the deficit at two before the halftime whistle.
Vale started the second half well but couldn’t create a clear chance. Nathan Smith got a header towards goal on 55 minutes but it was easily claimed by Joshua Griffiths. The first real chance for the Valiants came from Jake Taylor who struck the ball well on the turn which was heading towards goal but a good save from Griffiths denied him.
With 15 minutes left Cheltenham made it 3-0, Sercombe’s effort from outside the area went straight into the ground and looped over Brown and into the net. 83 minutes on the clock and the tide of the game switched completely in Vale’s favour. Swan ran into the box and hit a shot which was blocked but made no mistakes with the rebound to get his first goal for the club.
Two minutes later and Vale closed the gap to one. Hurst this time getting his first goal for the club. The ball was drilled into Devante Rodney whose shot was saved well but parried into the path of Hurst who smashed it into the net to make it 3-2. Vale couldn’t fashion an equaliser, their best chance coming from Luke Joyce whose outside of the foot effort needed the finger tips of Griffiths to stop it from giving Vale a leveller. Promising signs at the end which can hopefully be used as positives going into these next three home games.
Cheltenham Town: Griffiths, Raglan, Tozer, Long, Blair, Hussey, Thomas, Wright, Azaz (62’ Sercombe), Smith (80’ Williams), May (80’ Vassilev)
Subs not used: Flinders, Horton, Freestone, Chamberlain, Lloyd
Port Vale: Brown, Mills, Smith, Legge, Crookes, Conlon, Joyce, Taylor (68’ Robinosn), Hurst, Rodney, Guthrie (68’ Swan)
Subs not used: Scott, Olagunju, Whitehead, Cullen