Jennison Myrie-Williams dazzled on his debut, but Vale’s goal drought now stands at 478 minutes after resolute defending by visitors Torquay resulted in an entertaining draw on Friday evening.
Micky Adams made five changes with Tomlinson, Chilvers, Loft, Myrie-Williams and Madjo all starting in place of Martin, McDonald, Roberts, Dodds and Morsy. Roberts, Dodds and McDonald made the Vale bench, but somewhat surprisingly there was no place in the squad for either Martin or Morsy.
Initially, Vale’s confidence still appeared fragile as the home side mis-placed passes and Tomlinson failed to come for a number of balls in the early stages. One exception was Myrie-Williams who was causing the visitors problems.
Pope and Madjo were getting the odd half-chance but failed to trouble Torquay keeper Olejnik as Vale’s goalless streak topped 400 minutes. Torquay came close when Stevens deflected shot tested Tomlinson, but Vale immediately struck back when Myrie-Williams’ cross caused problems for the visiting defence. Then Pope forced Olejnik into a terrific save as Vale continued to press.
The first half ended goalless, but Micky Adams’ side looked far more comfortable in their 4-4-2 formation and would be encouraged by the chances they had created.
Vale had further chances early in the second-half as the impressive Myrie-Williams again caused problems. And fellow debutant Madjo also had a couple of shots as Vale pushed to end their goal drought. More good work from Myrie-Williams set up Pope on the hour mark but the striker headed wide. The visitors were still dangerous on the break, however, and Tomlinson had to be alert to a shot from substitute Rowe-Turner.
Vale came even closer to opening their account when substitute Rigg had a shot cleared off the line ten minutes from the end. That turned out to be Vale’s best chance as despite further chances in the final minutes, the two sides played out a goalless draw.
One bright spot for the Vale defence was that the Valiants recored only their sixth clean sheet of the season, but Micky Adams will no doubt still be scratching his head over when Vale’s long goal drought will end.
Vale: Tomlinson, Yates, Chilvers, McCombe, Collins, Myrie-Williams, Griffith, Loft, Taylor (Rigg), Madjo (Dodds), Pope
Subs: Kozluk, McDonald, Roberts