Brave Vale bow out of the FA Youth Cup despite excellent performance at Vale Park.
- FA Youth Cup Match Report | Port Vale 0 – 1 Liverpool
- Michael Laffey’s first-half goal was the difference as the Vale dominate large portions of the Fourth Round tie at Vale Park
- Vale had claims for a second-half penalty, while James Plant saw an effort cleared off the line and Ben Lomax hit the crossbar from close range as Scott Ruscoe and Matty Done’s side did the club proud in front of 1,806 supporters
Sometimes it just isn’t to be, and tonight was an example of how cruel football can be as an excellent performance from the Vale’s Under 18s wasn’t rewarded, with visitors Liverpool progressing to the Fifth Round of the FA Youth Cup following a 1-0 victory in front of 1,806 supporters at Vale Park on Wednesday evening.
Michael Laffey’s first-half goal proved to be the difference, despite the Vale going close on many occasions, most notably as James Plant saw a first-half effort cleared off the line before Ben Lomax fired against the bar in the second-half. Scott Ruscoe and Matty Done’s side also had claims for a second-half penalty, with replays of a tight call showing the foul for which Vale were awarded a free-kick in the second-half was inside the penalty area.
Liverpool went close in the opening minute of the game as Laffey went through on goal by blazed wide under pressure from goalkeeper Reuben Perry.
Within a couple of minutes, Vale went close to going ahead as Tommy McDermott and Elijah Fisher both had efforts before Plant saw his follow-up effort cleared off the line by Liverpool defender Wellity Lucky.
Perry then made a smart save to deny Bobby Clark before the Vale stopper’s unsuccessful clearance allowed Laffey in to finish and give the hosts the lead.
The excellent Plant then created a chance on the left side for Fisher, who couldn’t quite make a clean connection at the near post, before the striker headed narrowly off target from a Rhys Walters corner.
Fisher then turned provider with an excellent pass in behind for Plant, who was denied by a good save from Liverpool stopper Luke Hewitson on the stroke of half-time.
Just a minute after the restart and the Vale were within inches of equalising as Jack Shorrock – the club’s youngest-ever first team player – whipped a cross to the back post where Lomax headed off the underside of the crossbar before the Reds cleared.
As the hour mark passed, Lomax crossed from the right to find Plant at the back post, though the forward’s header was claimed by Hewitson.
With ten minutes of the 90 remaining, the Vale worked another chance as Walters played a short free-kick into McDermott, who forced another save from Hewitson with a powerful effort from the edge of the area.
On 84 minutes, Che Trapasso was presented with a good chance to level from a Shorrock cross, though Liverpool defender Calum Scanlon put in a vital block to ensure the Reds – coached by former Vale favour Marc Bridge-Wilkinson – progressed to the Fifth Round.
Cheered on by the whole Academy on the night as part of a crowd of 1,800, the young Valiants could take great pride in a performance that deserved far more against one of the best academies in the country.
Port Vale: Perry, Lomax, Besford, Walters, Chale, Mahaffy, Trapasso (Buah 86), McDermott, Fisher (Ryan 77), Plant, Shorrock.
Subs: Brook, Manhertz, Brazier, Pevide, Norburn.
Liverpool: Hewitson, Davidson, Lucky, Samuels, Scanlon, Miles, Pilling, Laffey, Clark, Danns (Young, 63), Roberts.
Subs: Trueman, Giblin, Gyimah, Pennington, Gift, Ahmed.