Port Vale remain just four points off the play-offs but two defeats in two weeks will worry the Port Vale manager.
Thankfully for Vale, League One is tightly contested and well matched this season. Usually, two defeats in two weeks to teams battling to avoid relegation would have been catastrophic for the Valiants’ play-off chances.
It is not only the result that will play on Rob Page’s mind but also the manner of the loss and the nature of the goals conceded…
But, because of the unpredictability of the league, and the fact that all teams are capable of picking up points, they remain just four points off the top six.
Last weekend’s home defeat to Crewe was a bitter disappointment, but to back that up with a lacklustre display at Barnsley and to come away from Oakwell with a 2-1 defeat will be particularly concerning for Vale fans.
It is not only the result that will play on Rob Page’s mind but also the manner of the loss and the nature of the goals conceded. Having held the Tykes for the majority of the first-half, Vale would have been confident of kicking on in the second but those aspirations were dashed within two minutes. First, the hosts were gifted an own goal just before the break then Ben Pearson was allowed to shoot on goal early in the second-half and a deflection saw the ball home.
The timing of the goals suggests a lack of concentration and suggests that the team thought that the job was done when they were about to go in goalless at half time. Vale fans who enjoy betting and especially users of the cash out function of the betfair specialised betting app will know that you can never write a team off, particularly if they are battling relegation, and Port Vale’s defence should have known better.
Vale have now not kept a clean sheet in 11 games – their last was in the 1-0 win over Rochdale back in November. If Page and his men still harbour promotion dreams then their defence has to be the key area of focus in the coming weeks.
Next weekend’s home fixture against Bradford will be an ideal opportunity for them to show their mettle.