Goals from Tom Conlon and Devante Rodney were enough to earn Port Vale a deserved 2-1 victory over Newport County, in an exciting encounter at Vale Park.
Newport had equalised with a goal from Jake Scrimshaw at the beginning of the second period, but goals in each half were enough to secure the points for the Valiants.
The Vale started the game on the front foot, winning a free-kick in the attacking third but Tom Conlon’s delivery into the box couldn’t be taken advantage of, with the visitors launching an attack of their own, resulting in Manny Oyeleke having to receive treatment for a knock to the face.
Vale maintained their pressure and were rewarded for their efforts with 12 minutes on the clock, some beautiful passing football seeing the ball worked to the right flank where David Worrall slickly rolled his man and drove forward before pulling the ball back in to the area where Tom Conlon arrived to calmly slot the ball into the bottom left corner.
The Valiants refused to take their foot off the gas after the goal, going in an instant search for a second, pressing high up the field, linking together some delightful passing football and sending some crosses into the box as they pushed for a second.
A second nearly came in the 18th minute where following a foul on Cristian Montano just outside the Newport box, Conlon curled a powerful freekick across goal towards the far top corner with a top class save from Nick Townsend tipping it onto the bar and out for a corner.
Newport nearly levelled the score with their first real attack of the game minutes later, as when Joss Labadie found himself in space just far of the back post, and drilled the ball across the face of goal but only Leon Legge was there, sending it out for the Exiles’ first corner of the match.
That chance saw the game open up and turn into an end to end affair for a period, with Worrall breaking away on the counter for the Vale, but his decision to let fly from 25-yards was not a fruitful one, failing to test the opposition keeper.
As the game past the half-hour mark, Vale were firmly in control, with the hosts relentless on the attack, creating chance after chance as they sent teasing crosses into the box whilst also driving into the area with clever footwork, but the Newport defence held strong.
Vale went close to doubling their lead with 10 minutes left of the half, Luke Joyce’s lofted ball down the line was picked up by Worrall who crossed it deep to the back post where Theo Robinson brought it down and curled an effort towards goal, with the goal-bound strike only being stopped by a Newport head being thrown in its way.
Newport nearly had a dream start to the second period, as Ryan Taylor unleashed a wicked volley on goal forcing Scott Brown to produce a save equal to the strike, getting enough on it to see the effort rattle the underside of the bar and bounce out of harm’s way.
Vale nearly found the net themselves early into the half, as Zak Mills drove forwards on the counter attack, played it into Robinson who chipped a through ball towards Conlon before it was cleared, but only as far as Mills who volleyed wide of the mark.
Newport levelled the game through half-time substitute Jake Scrimshaw, as he found himself latching onto a loose ball in the box and poked it home from close range.
Both sides struggled to gain the upper hand following the equaliser, with each having half-chances to gain the lead but nothing clear cut due to solid defending from the other.
The deadlock was broken with 15 minutes left on the clock, Legge rose highest and flicked on Montano’s long ball towards Worrall whose low cross was met by an arriving Nathan Smith. Smith’s initial effort was saved before his second attempt was poked away by a defender but only as far as an arriving Devante Rodney who hammered the ball home to restore Vale’s lead.
Despite a late Newport onslaught, the Valiants put in a superb defensive shift to close the game out and earn a deserved three points, ahead of our trip to Colchester United on Saturday.
Port Vale: Brown, Montano, Legge, Smith, Mills, Joyce, Oyeleke (63’ Amoo), Conlon, Worrall, Rodney, Robinson (79’ Brisley).
Unused Subs: Cullen, Taylor, Hurst, Scott.
Newport County: Townsend, Labadie, Farquharson, Donlan (78’ Telford), Amond (45’ Scrimshaw), Sheehan, Lewis, Bennett, Demetriou, Taylor (78’ Ellison), Shepard.
Unused Subs: King, Longe-King, Gambin, Hartigan.