Port Vale fell to defeat against Plymouth Argyle in our final match of the 2022/23 campaign, as the visitors were crowned Sky Bet League One champions on coronation weekend.
James Plant’s first goal at Vale Park gave the Valiants the perfect start, but goals from Adam Randell, Joe Edwards, and Finn Azaz completed the turnaround for Plymouth and ensured they secured the title.
Vale flew into the lead just three minutes into the match, and for a second week running, it was Plant who found the back of the net.
Our academy graduate raced in behind the Plymouth defence and made no mistake with the finish, expertly slotting the ball past Callum Burton.
The Pilgrims found an equaliser in the 34th minute through Randell, who pounced on a mistake at the back and fired the ball into the bottom lefthand corner.
Only four minutes later, the Pilgrims took the lead, and it was their captain Edwards, who was on hand to turn home Callum Wright’s low cross.
With 30 minutes left on the clock, Azaz gave Argyle a two-goal cushion with a well-struck finish into the top corner, which in turn sealed the victory for Plymouth.
Andy Crosby made three changes from the team that faced Charlton Athletic last weekend, with Tom Conlon, James Wilson, and Plant, all coming into the starting 11.
There was also a home league debut for Vale’s youngest-ever player, Jack Shorrock, who replaced Plant with 12 minutes to go.
Bali Mumba came close to levelling the scores with the visitors' first chance of the game, but his header bounced inches wide of the righthand post.
At the other end, Wilson came close with a header of his own, but after latching onto Plant’s wicked cross, he couldn’t keep his effort on target.
A rollercoaster of a first half nearly took another turn in the 40th minute when the ball fell to David Worrall, who forced Burton into a smart save from a tight angle.
Edwards should have extended the visitors' lead further at the start of the second half, but he spurned his shot from close range over the bar.
Moments later, Burton produced a fine save to divert Tom Conlon’s well-hit free-kick past the post.
Matty Taylor thought he had pulled a goal back for the Valiants in added time, but his header was disallowed.
Port Vale | Stone, Donnelly (64’ Cass), Smith, Worrall, Wilson (64’ Taylor), Conlon, Benning, Ojo, Massey (78’ Proctor), Butterworth (56’ Pett), Plant (78’ Shorrock)
Unused Subs | Stevens, Politic
Plymouth Argyle | Burton, Gillesphey, Houghton, Wilson, Scarr, Edwards, Mayor (46’ Azaz), Ennis (61’ Hardie), Mumba, Randell, Wright (72’ Matete)
Unused Subs | Parkes, Grant, Cosgrove, Lonwijk
Attendance | 11,998 (3,926 away)