The festive period is a busy one for football, and first up for Vale is Morecambe at Vale Park on Boxing Day.
The Lancashire side have struggled so far this season, and they are currently lying at the foot of the League One table on 15 points.
However, Vale have had a strong return to the third tier of English football as we currently sit 12th in the table on 29 points from 21 matches.
The sides have clashed many times in League Two, but as the teams get ready to face off in League One, here is some pre-match interesting pre-match reading.
The view from Darrell Clarke:
“[We have] three important games in a short space of time, starting with Morecambe on Boxing Day,” explained Darrell Clarke.
“[There are] nine points up for grabs, the games will fly by with three in seven days, so we are looking forward to the challenges.
“Myself and the staff are busy preparing, and keeping the focus on what it needs to be and making sure that we are as well conditioned and prepared as possible, but also putting behind us a couple of below par performances.
“Our last two performances haven’t hit the standards that we expect - and the group expects – so first and foremost it is trying to get back to a better performance, starting on Boxing Day.”
Opposition Boss’ thoughts:
Morecambe’s manager, Derek Adams, said: “From our point of view, we’re looking forward to this period, three games in a short space of time, that gives us the opportunity to get points on board.
“Every game gives you the opportunity to get points, we’ve shown already in the home games we’ve played, we’ve been able to compete against the ones at the top end of the table.”
Sky Bet League Two, Vale Park, Saturday 5th October 2019: Port Vale 3-1 Morecambe
Like we do for most of our Fixture Flashbacks, we return to a time when Tom Pope was banging in goals for the Valiants, this time rewinding back to 2019.
This time around, Captain Pope netted a magnificent brace for Vale as we secured a 3-1 win over this weekend’s visitors.
Luke Joyce and two goals from Pope did the job for Vale as we had to come from behind after John O’Sullivan netted the opener for the Shrimps.
O’Sullivan struck first for Morecambe in the 18th minute, bending in a brilliant effort from 25 yards out straight into the top corner.
However, only 14 minutes later, they were down to 10 men when Jordan Cranston lashed out at David Worrall, meaning they would spend just under an hour with a man disadvantage.
Vale came out the traps flying in the second half, and they made their extra man count just four minutes after the break when Joyce fired home an unstoppable equaliser from the edge of the area.
As the clock approached 70 minutes, the Valiants completed the turnaround, Pope claiming his first of the match when he headed home Worrall’s cross to send Vale Park into raptures.
Pope sealed the deal, and his brace, in the final minute of normal time after he beat a Morecambe defender before firing a powerful effort into the back of the net.
This was a big win for the Valiants, ending a three-match winless run as they went on to finish eighth in the 2019/20 campaign that was cut short by Covid-19.
Last Time Out (League):
Sky Bet League One, Home Park, Saturday 17th December 2022: Plymouth Argyle 2-1 Morecambe
League leaders Plymouth Argyle returned to winning ways at Home Park with a 2-1 win over a battling Morecambe side.
Goals from Niall Ennis and Sam Cosgrove gave the Pilgrims a two-goal advantage before Anthony O’Connor’s late consolation goal for the Shrimps.
Ennis opened the scoring for the hosts with just over 20 minutes remaining in the match when clipped home Ryan Hardie’s powerful cross.
One goal soon became two for Argyle, this time Cosgrove provided the finish from a Joe Edwards pass, only 10 minutes after coming onto the pitch.
The visitors were pressing for a goal late in the second half, and they got one back through O’Connor when he cut inside from the right and smashed the ball into the back of the net in stoppage time.
Plymouth may have thought it wasn’t their day after Morgan Whittaker squandered the chance to give them a first-half lead after he saw his spot kick saved by Connor Ripley.
The penalty was awarded to the home side when Edwards was taken down in the area, but Whittaker could not take advantage and they were made to wait for their opener.
The result meant Morecambe stayed at the foot of the table whilst Argyle returned to the summit with their much-needed win.
12/11/22: Morecambe 1-1 Portsmouth, Sky Bet League One
19/11/22: Lincoln City 2-1 Morecambe, Sky Bet League One
22/11/22: Lincoln City* (4)1-1(3) Morecambe, Papa Johns Trophy R32
02/12/22: Morecambe 1-1 Exeter City, Sky Bet League One
17/12/22: Plymouth Argyle 2-1 Morecambe, Sky Bet League One
*Lincoln won 4-3 on penalties