REPORT: Port Vale 1 Coventry City 0
Vale’s recent form continued with a terrific Boxing Day victory over fourth placed Coventry City in an end to end match at Vale Park.
Defender Nathan Smith got the decisive goal on 79 minutes with a cheeky back header that looped over the visitors’ goalkeeper and into the net to give Vale another three points, making it ten from their last four games.
Neil Aspin’s plans were disrupted somewhat by illness when defender Tom Anderson failed to recover in time for the game and he was joined by David Worrall who also went down with the bug.
Tyrone Barnett, used as a second half substitute in Vale’s previous two fixtures, away at Carlisle and Colchester, was on from the start to partner Tom Pope in the Vale attack.
A confident-looking Vale looked the better of the two sides early on in the game, pushing the visitors deep inside their own half as Vale mounted attack after attack.
Vale were almost hit on the counter attack when Jack Grimmer found himself in space on the Coventry right, but he mis-hit the cross intended for two of his team mates who had peeled off their markers and the chance went to waste.
Grimmer was afforded much too much space and time on the ball on several occasions and was threatening to make Vale pay for not getting tight on the former Vale loanee.
Although the visitors threatened on occasions it was still the home side who were having the better of things both territorial-wise and as an attacking side.
Despite all of Vale’s efforts, they didn’t quite do what was necessary in front of goal, thanks partly to some solid defending from the visitors, and the two sides went in all square at the interval.
Vale almost broke the deadlock early in the second half when Marcus Harness got up for a header to meet substitute Cristian Montano’s left wing cross but the ball flew inches over the crossbar.
Vale were certainly not having things all their own way, as play switched form one end to the other in a very open second half in which both sides threw men forward.
Vale were finally rewarded for their hard work and endeavour on 79n minutes when Nathan Smith got his head to a left wing cross, looping the ball behind him and over Sky Blues’ ‘keeper Lee Burge and into the net.
Dave Johnson – 6TR
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