Port Vale’s fine festive run came to an end as they narrowly lost to in-form Swindon Town at the County Ground.
Rob Page named another unchanged side with Byron Moore coming onto the bench. It was an entertaining opening with both sides having chances but without any being particularly clearcut. Vale’s best chances in the first-half fell to Marshall and O’Connor.
However, the home side arguably had the better chances with Byrne forcing Neal into a save and Veseli blocking Williams’ effort.
As the half-time interval approached, the home side went close to taking the lead but Toffolo blazed the ball over. Then Neal saved well from another Swindon effort. And Neal pulled off an even better save moments later when he blocked Williams’ shot at point-blank range.
Vale had an early chance in the second period when Adam Yates burst forward, but minutes later Swindon had the ball in the net only for it to be ruled offside. However, Vale’s relief was short-lived when Williams headed home on 56 minutes.
The home side nearly doubled their lead on 75 minutes but Lines cleared off the line from Llongo. Meanwhile, Vale appealed for a penalty in the dying minutes, but to no avail.
It was no disgrace to lose to an impressive Swindon side and Vale will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways against Gillingham on Saturday.
Vale: Neal, Yates, Veseli, Duffy, Dickinson, Marshall, Brown, O’Connor (Lines), N’Guessan (Daniel), Dodds (Campion), Williamson
Subs: Johnson, Moore, Robertson, Birchall