The Vale book place in the Papa Johns Trophy Round of 16 draw thanks to first-half goals from Dennis Politic and David Worrall.
- Papa Johns Trophy Match Report | Port Vale 2 – 1 Barnsley
- Dennis Politic and David Worrall secure progress for Darrell Clarke’s side
- Tom Edwards scored second-half goal for the visitors, though the Vale held on to book place in Thursday’s Round of 16 draw
PORT VALE 2
Attendance: 1,306 (184 away)
The Vale secured their place in the last 16 of the Papa Johns Trophy with an impressive 2-1 victory against Barnsley on Wednesday evening at Vale Park.
First-half goals from Dennis Politic and David Worrall sealed the win for Darrell Clarke’s side against fellow League One opposition, though the Vale were made to work for their progression when Tom Edwards fired in a goal for the visitors from distance late in the second 45.
The win sees the Vale go into the hat for Thursday’s Round of 16 draw, which will take place live on Sky Sports News at 4:30pm.
Clarke made four changes from Saturday’s League One win against Charlton Athletic, with Dan Jones, Tom Conlon, Dan Butterworth and Gavin Massey moving to the bench, while Lewis Cass, Tom Pett and Dennis Politic all returned to the starting XI, as well as Rory Holden, who made his first start since the Vale’s 2-0 win against Wolves U21s in our last Papa Johns Trophy fixture a month ago.
The visitors were quicker out of the blocks in the early exchanges and following a couple of early corners, forced the first chance of the game when Jack Aitchison headed Liam Kitching’s cross from the left wide of Jack Stevens’ left-hand post.
As the quarter-hour approached, the Vale settled into the game and tested Jack Walton in the Barnsley goal for the first time when Politic fired a free kick from the left towards goal that the goalkeeper had to watch well with bodies attacking the near post.
Within a minute, though, the Vale were ahead through the Romanian forward as Clarke’s side broke from deep before Holden threaded a well-weighted pass into the path of Politic who drove towards goal before firing beyond Walton with his left foot.
The goal resulted in the Vale’s confidence growing and a lovely passing move presented another chance as Pett, Mal Benning and Politic all lined up on the left.
Nathan Smith then almost grabbed a second but was denied when he looked to prod home Ben Garrity’s flick on from a Worrall corner.
The second did come just before the half hour and was a wonderfully worked team goal as Connor Hall broke on the left and crossed for James Wilson, who cushioned into the path of Politic to square for Worrall to finish emphatically at the back post.
In a near replica move just after the half hour, Worrall almost grabbed his second and Vale’s third but was denied on this occasion by Walton in the Barnsley goal.
The early stages of the second-half saw the Vale exert their control on the game without creating a clear-cut opportunity to put the game to bed, though more excellent football saw Cass, Worrall and Politic link up on the right, with the latter’s cross claimed by Walton at the near post.
Politic had a great chance to put the result beyond doubt on 66 minutes when substitutes Massey and Mipo Odubeko combined to play in the forward, who went through one-v-one against Walton, but he blazed into the Bycars Stand.
Seven minutes later and Edwards set up a tense finish by firing home a dipping effort from 25 yards, though the Vale managed the latter stages of the game well to make it three wins from their last four home matches in all competitions.
Port Vale: Stevens, Cass, Hall, Smith, Worrall (Jones 90), Garrity (Conlon 45), Wilson (Odubeko 56), Benning, Holden (Massey 56), Pett, Politic (Charsley 84).
Subs: Stone, Butterworth.
Barnsley: Walton, Martin, Moon, Cundy, Kitching (Edwards 45), Larkeche, Benson, Phillips (Kane 45), Nejman, Aitchison, Butterfill.
Subs: Collins, Andersen, Cadden, Connell, Cole.