Vale Held by Resilient Rovers

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Vale were forced into two changes before kick-off, David Worrall and Manny Oyeleke both out through short term injuries which gave Scott Burgess and Tom Pope a chance to impress running into the Christmas Programme. Fans would also have been happy to see David Amoo and Danny Whitehead both make the bench as they continued their progress after injury.

Vale started much the brighter and on four minutes fashioned their first real chance. Good work from Tom Conlon and Scott Burgess in the middle of the park freed Devante Rodney down the Vale right. Rodney advanced before putting a fine ball across the six-yard box but Pope couldn’t get the touch and Rovers escaped. Just a minute later Vale should have been in front, Rodney using all his pace to round the left back, getting to the byline and standing up a cross to the centre of the goal, Conlon was unmarked eight yards out, but he could only head wide with the goal at his mercy.

On Eleven minutes earned a further chance, winning a free kick, on the edge of the box, inside right channel. Conlon enjoying a more senior role through the absence of Worrall, hit the target, clearing the Rovers wall with ease but Luke McGee did really well to tip it round for a Corner.

Having enjoyed an excellent first quarter of an hour, Vale were nearly caught out by an excellent Rovers counter-attack. Great work down the Rovers attacking left, a deep cross splitting the defence and goalkeeper, found Aaron Collins unmarked five yards out but some how powers his header over the bar. Two minutes later Rovers were on the attack once more, again down the left, Collins pulling away from Nathan Smith, but his header is wide of the right upright.

On the half-hour, Alex Hurst did everything right, his high press being rewarded as he picked up a loose ball and pushed past the right back. His first touch took him a little wide, but he bore down on goal with only the keeper to beat, lifting the ball high over the bar and the chance went begging. Two minutes later Hurst was at it again, beating his man before standing a ball up to the back stick, Rodney shaped to shoot but his miskick found Conlon who could only shoot over the bar.

On thirty-five Vales pressure finally paid off. Zak Mills doing well to intercept a ball and set Rodney free down the right, the Winger drew the defender before pushing the past the left back and driving the ball across goal. Pope was the quickest to respond in the area, getting in front of his marker to prod the ball goalward and in off the unfortunate Chris Stokes to give Vale the lead.

But only minutes later, Vale are again undone again after scoring, a ball over the top frees Collins in the inside right channel, Leon Legge gets goal side, but Collins pulls the ball back and bends the ball around the defender and into the top left-hand corner to make it 1-1.

Vale started the second half much the same way as they ended the first, breaking down the right, Rodney does really well to get to the byline but his cross was blocked for a corner. Conlon took the set-piece but its headed clear.

Only the visiting defence will know how they stopped Vale taking the lead on fifty-one minutes. Burgess going past his defender striking his effort onto the bar, the ball coming out to Conlon, the midfielder squared to Rodney, who hit the target, but his shot was cleared off the line. On seventy minutes Vale made their first Substitution, a tiring Hurst making way for David Amoo.

Rovers were far from out of the game though and fired a warning shot in the seventy-first minute. Cadden twisting and turning on the edge of the box, a fine effort, but Brown was alive to it and got two hands on it diving to his left, the defence finishing the clearance.

Vale continued to pour forward and eighty-four spurned their last chance of the game, Conlon doing well on the left-hand side of midfield, creating a shooting opportunity, McGee making the save but the ball fell to Burgess who’s shot was crisp but it flew the wrong side of the left hand upright and condemned Vale to yet another draw when the points were there for the taking.