HomeFeaturedLocal Sport‘Dale Downed By Valiants

‘Dale Downed By Valiants

Vale went into their final pre-season match with Rochdale with smiles across their faces, though I’m not sure if it was from the result against Notts Forest or Grimsby Manager Ian Holloway’s outburst regarding Vale’s signing of Theo Robinson, that put them there. What is for sure is that Vale go into the season with a relatively settled squad and new additions that could secure the Valiants the top three position the fans crave.

But before thoughts shifted to the season opener at Scunthorpe on Saturday, Vale faced League One’s Rochdale in what turned out to be an entertaining tussle between two well-matched teams. It was Vale that started the brighter and as early as the third minute Devante Rodney had a good opportunity to fire the Valiants in front, though a good covering challenge from ‘Dale’s McLaughlin put paid to that. On ten minutes, new signing David Fitzpatrick fired into the Hamil End when handily placed, and David Worrall might have done better with a header a few minutes later after good work from Rodney.

It took the visitors a full twenty minutes to have their first attempt on target; Fabio Tavares drawing a fine save from Keeper Dino Visser, but this only served as a warning to the Vale defence as the visitors started to take control of the game. On twenty-three minutes Stephen Dooley and Matt Done combined well but couldn’t find an unmarked Newby and three minutes later Visser was again called on to deny Tavares.

At this stage, Vale were left to counterattack; good work from Scott Burgess feeding Rodney in on goal, the striker should have done better but his effort lacked poise and trickled wide of the right upright. The visitors really should have taken the lead minutes later, Eoghan O’Connell freeing Done in the Valiants’ penalty area, the striker rounding Visser with ease, but his side foot finish was poor and Zak Mills cleared off the line much to Vale’s relief.

But as the half drew to a close it was the Valiants that made the most of a slice of luck as Rodney was felled in the area, the referee quickly pointing to the spot. As you might expect, there was a melee of white shirts clambering to take it, but it was Tom Conlon that calmly stroked the ball into the bottom right hand corner sending Bazunu the wrong way in the process.

Vale against started the second half brightly, Rodney taking a snapshot on fifty minutes that brought a comfortable save from Bazunu and winning the second penalty of the game on fifty-six minutes. David Worrall fired a free kick towards Shaun Brisley at the back post, the Vale defender getting goal side of McLaughlin, who was forced to grab the defender’s shirt leaving the referee little choice. Conlon again stepped up, this time placing the ball in the bottom left corner, giving Vale a two-goal advantage.

The arrival of several Rochdale reinforcements on sixty minutes upped energy levels for the visitors and one of them, Kwadwo Baah, drew a foul in the area on sixty-five minute mark to win a penalty which Aaron Morely fired into the bottom left hand corner to give the visitors hope. But further good work from Visser and a few substitutions, helped the Valiants ride out the remainder of the game to give Vale a boost going into the season opener.

Mike Stubbs
Mike Stubbs
Port Vale Sports Reporter

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