PORT VALE 3 CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0
Saturday 4th August 2018
A warm and sunny Vale Park welcomed visitors Cambridge United for the season’s opening game.
In the final match of last season, Cambridge ran out comfortable 5-0 winners, so the Vale had a point to prove.
A much-changed Vale team had no fewer than five debutants in the starting eleven as they lined up in a conventional four-four-two formation.
A scrappy first half saw both sides create few clear-cut chances, the best of which was a far post header from Vale striker and captain Tom Pope, palmed away by the Cambridge keeper Forde.
It looked like the first half was going to end goalless when the Vale earned a free kick on the edge of the opposition’s box. deep into time added on.
Up stepped new boy Ricky Miller, to curl a sweet left foot shot into the net, driving the Vale faithful into delirious celebrations.
Scorer Miller peeled away to acknowledge the fans and was booked for time wasting. No time for the restart and Vale went in at half time leading 1-0
The second half started with real drama. Miller broke forward in the 47th minute, burst into the opposition’s box and was brought down. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and
Tom Pope stepped up to double the lead with a well taken penalty.
The Vale were well on top by now and some neat flowing football saw them create several good chances including long range efforts from Worrall and Hannant.
In the 69th minute Pope put the result in no doubt with a classic Tom Pope goal – a fine header after a sweet left field cross from Montano.
Michael Tonge and returning hero Louise Dodds replaced Oyeleke and Miller – who got a standing ovation from the Vale faithful.
The 5559 attendance left the ground after the final whistle with the majority wearing an optimistic smile on their faces and looking forward to a good season.
It is important everyone keeps their feet on the ground, but it doesn’t get much better than this – three goals, a clean sheet and all 11 players having had great games.