Vale beaten in their opening home fixture
All of Vale’s good work in winning their opening game of the season at Crawley the previous week was undone with a disappointing performance and a defeat in their opening home game against Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe Wanderers.
Conceding two goals in the opening twelve minutes of the game, and a further goal on 25v minutes saw the visitors well in command, leaving Vale with a mountain to climb.
Adebayo Akinfenwa was his usual troublesome self and Vale struggled to keep him under control, the big, powerful Wycombe forward getting two of those three first half goals.
He found the net with two headers – the first coming in the second minute of the game – sandwiched Paris Cowan-Hall’s 12th minute strike, against a Vale side that were looking decidedly shell-shocked by the interval.
Akinfenwa’s opener came when he got up above the Vale defence to meet a right wing cross, steering his header inside Vale ‘keeper Sam Hornby’s left hand post.
Ten minutes later, looking suspiciously offside with the referee’s assistant not keeping up with play, Cowan-Hall tease the Vale defence with some tricky footwork before unleashing an angled shot inside the far post.
The visitors increased their lead when Luke O’Nien’s volleyed attempt at goal was met by the head of Akinfenwa, planting a firm header past Hornby and into the back of the net.
Vale Park fell into silence, apart from the noise made by the away supporters of course, and the home fans were forced to wait until the 88th minute until they had anything to shout at.
For the second successive league game, Dan Turner found the net after coming on from the bench, when he nodded home what appeared to be nothing more than a consolation goal, but barely a minute later, Vale gave themselves a glimmer of hope.
It was another substitute who beat Chairboys’ ‘keeper Scott Brown, this time the goal scorer was Ben Whitfield, who cut inside from the right before hitting a venomous angled drive right into the top corner of the net.
It certainly lifted the home crowd and when the fourth official held up his board to indicate there would be five minutes of added time, the belief was there that Michael Brown’s boys could come back from the dead.
Sadly there was not to be a dramatic stoppage time equaliser and Vale will have to lick their wounds, regroup and focus on next week’s fixture away to Chesterfield.
Report: Dave Johnson – 6TR
Photo Gerard Austin – Port Vale FC