Match Report: Accrington Stanley 3 Port Vale 2
Vale threw away a two-goal half time lead when Accrington Stanley hit back with two goals of their own in a two-minute spell early in the second half at the Wham Stadium.
Neil Aspin’s side got themselves and early lead when Tom Pope headed home his fifteen goal of the season to somewhat silence a shock home crowd.
Vale doubled their advantage with half time approaching when they won a free kick, which was taken my Michael Tonge. It took a deflection on it’s way into the Accrington net, but the Vale midfielder won’t be complaining about that.
Accrington midfielder Sean McConville reduced the arrears early in the second half and two minutes later Billy Kee headed home the equaliser to leave the visitors stunned.
With 18 minutes remaining Accrington’s comeback was complete when McConville struck from close range to put his side ahead for the first time in the game.
Luke Hannant, who joined the club from Gateshead earlier this week, was a surprise starter for the Valiants as boss Neil Aspin made three changes to the side to face Accrington.
The 24-year-ols midfielder had been expected to start on the bench, but his former boss at Gateshead showed enough faith in him to throw him straight in against the promotion-chasing Lancashire side.
The pitch was far from perfect, but then again that was the same for both sides and Neil Aspin said ahead of the game that it wouldn’t be used as an excuse should the result not go Vale’s way.
Vale got off to the perfect start when POPE got between the two centre backs to meet a cross from David Worrall with a powerful downward header for the opener within three minutes of kick off.
As expected, especially on such a tight pitch, Vale then had some defending to do as the home side went looking for some retribution, in the shape of an equaliser.
It was all hands to the deck for a while with Stanley managing to get in behind the Vale defence down the flank on the Vale left, getting the ball inside the danger area too often for comfort for the visitors.
Despite having to desperately defend at times, Vale remained very much in the mix and both Worrall and Ben Whitfield went close for the Valiants.
Five minutes before the break Vale got their second when TONGE drilled a free kick towards goal, it took a deflection and ended up in the bottom corner of the net.
Vale needed to keep things tight in the second half, but six minutes after the restart the home side were back in the game when McConville fired high to Ryan Boot’s left, giving the Vale ‘keeper no chance.
Vale were shaken just two minutes later when Kee’s diving header from close range put the two sides level, though there was more than a suspicion of handball.
The Vale were forced to endure a spell of pressure from the home side but were not content to sit back and allow Stanley to pick them off, launching attacks of their own to give John Coleman’s side something to think about.
It took a terrific save from Stanley goalkeeper Aaron Chapman to keep out a thundering header from Anthony Kay to prevent Vale from retaking the lead with play switching from end to end.
But the home side got their noses in front for the first time in the 72nd minute when McConville slammed the ball into the net from close range to further stun Neil Aspin’s side.
Unfortunately Vale were unable to pop up with an equaliser and are left still looking for their first win of this calendar year.
Dave Johnson – 6TR
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