Second-half goals from Louis Dodds and Tom Pope helped Port Vale seal an excellent Boxing Day win against Steve Evans’ Rotherham side.
Vale made two changes with Adam Yates coming in for the ill Vincent and Jennison Myrie-Williams replacing Rob Taylor. Vale resorted to a more flexible 4-3-3 with Yates taking the left-back slot and Loft moving into midfield.
During a tight opening period, both sides had half-chances in front of a noisy crowd. But as the half progressed, it was the home side who had the better chances as they pushed for the opening goal.
Vale’s best first-half chance came from a Burge corner with Pope’s resulting header blocked on the line but it finished goalless at the break.
In the second-half, it was a different story as Vale surged into a two goal lead.
On 50 minutes, Louis Dodds scored his second goal in two games with another clinical finish. And former Rotherham striker Tom Pope broke clear from a through-ball by Ryan Burge to score Vale’s second on the hour mark. That goal was Pope’s 22nd strike of a prolific first-half of the season.
The home side pulled a goal back with seven minutes to go as substitute Kieran Agard netted from close range.
But despite some late pressure from the home side, Vale held on to secure all three points after another excellent away performance. It also meant that the Valiants closed the gap on leaders Gillingham at the top of the table.
Vale: Neal, Duffy, Chilvers, McCombe, Yates, Loft, Morsy, Burge, Myrie-Williams (Taylor), Pope, Dodds (Andrew)
Subs: Johnson, McDonald, Shuker, James, Williamson