Port Vale failed to make it nine points in seven days as they were held to a 0-0 draw by a battling andÂ resilientÂ Barnet side.
Edgar Davids, serenaded with a chorus of “you’re just a small Stevie Wonder” by the away fans, was applauded off the pitch by the Vale fans…
Micky Adams named an unchanged line-up for the third successive game despite concerns over how veterans Lee Hughes, Darren Purse and Liam Chilvers would cope with their third game in a week.
However, those doubts appeared justified as Vale started slowly and the visitors had much the better of the opening exchanges.
Vale looked off the pace as Barnet, who chanelled most things through the diminutive but inspirational Davids, had the better chances. If the Bees had possessed more clinical finishers, Vale could very well have been behind at the interval.
Lee Hughes barely figured and Ashley Vincent was peripheral, while the Barnet defenders were coping well with the physical presence of Pope. In midfield, the pairing of Burge and Loft, so successful in recent weeks was unable to cope with Barnet deploying an extra man in the centre and Vale often resorted to long balls forward.
At the interval, only the Vale defence really emerged with any credit – mainly for keeping regular Barnet attacks at bay and it came as no surprise when Hughes was withdrawn early in the second-half. Micky Adams opted to bring on Sam Morsy to replace Hughes and it became clear that Morsy had been asked to keep a close eye on playmaker Davids. Morsy made his presence known almost immediately with a strong challenge receiving a yellow card.
Adams made two further changes with Andrew replacing an ineffectual Vincent and Shuker somewhat surprisingly replacing Burge in the engineroom.
But despite those changes, the better chances came from the home side with Vale indepted to the dependable Chris Neal making several crucial saves.
That said, Vale could have snatched an undeserved win when Pope finally outjumped his markers but his header hit the post and deflected wide.
It was clear who the outstanding player had been: Edgar Davids, serenaded with a chorus of “you’re just a small Stevie Wonder” by the away fans, was applauded off the pitch by the Vale fans when he was substituted on 81 minutes.
Vale: Neal, Duffy, Purse, Chilvers, Jones, Myrie-Williams, Loft, Burge (Shuker), Vincent (Andrew), Hughes (Morsy), Pope
Subs: Johnson, Yates, Williamson, Birchall