Reserve keeper, sorry, striker Tom Pope scored his sixteenth of the season as Port Vale earned a valuable away point against Stevenage.
Micky Adams made six changes after the 5-0 thrashing to Bristol City and the result was a quiet opening against Stevenage.
It was a pretty uneventful first half with the only goal incident of note being a Stevenage effort being disallowed for offside. But Vale could have argued that Stevenage should have been reduced to ten men after a series of fouls by Dembele only resulted in a yellow card when arguably the ref could have been harsher.
That sense of injustice was put to one side, when Tom Pope headed home Birchall’s cross for his sixteenth goal of the season. It put Vale ahead with just three minutes of the second period played. However, the home side equalised on the hour mark from Peter Hartley, who had come on at half-time for the somewhat fortunate Dembele. That sparked Stevenage into life and Sam Johnson pulled off a couple of sharp saves.
The game was open for grabs now and Vale had to be alert at the back as Stevenage tried to score a winner that would boost their survival hopes. The Valiants made a double change with ten minutes left with Jennison Myrie-Williams coming on against his old side while Rob Taylor replaced the impressive Birchall.
The last period passed relatively uneventfully which will be a relief for the Vale after the events of the last few days. Overall, it was a useful away point for the Valiants and one that helped erase memories of that thrashing in Bristol earlier in the week.
Vale: Johnson, Duffy, Robertson, Davis, Jones, Birchall (Taylor), Knott (Myrie-Williams), Lines, Loft, Pope, Tomlin (Dodds)
Subs: Yates, Shuker, Hugill, Griffith