A review of last month’s action on the pitch as two poor losses overshadow progress in the cup.
James Russell writes…
The month started as well as it could possibly have for Port Vale, before tailing off dramatically in the last couple of games. Nevertheless, progress is certainly being made by Neil Aspin as the Valiants look to avoid back-to-back relegations. Wins over Oxford and Barnet were much-needed boosts, but the horrific injury to Adam Yates while playing for the reserves really puts everything into context. We wish Adam a full and speedy recovery.
Vale 2-0 Oxford United – FA Cup
November couldn’t have got off to a better start, knocking League One Oxford United out of the FA Cup, ensuring the Vale progress to the second round, with a winnable home tie against Yeovil at the start of December next up. And what a performance it was. The Valiants outclassed The U’s, dominating from start to finish, with Oxford failing to even register a shot on target as they limped out Vale Park and the FA Cup simultaneously.
Vale 4-2 Crewe Alexandra – EFL Trophy
With a cup double-header to start the month, Vale secured another victory to secure top spot in their EFL Trophy group, with the side now 50/1 in the outright football betting markets to win the trophy. A blistering start put The Valiants two goals to the good inside 10 minutes, and despite some brief moments of revival from Crewe, passage to the next round was quite comfortable. That victory also made it five wins from seven at the start of Neil Aspin’s reign. A tricky home tie against Shrewsbury is up next in the EFL Trophy.
Newport County 1-1 Vale – League Two
Another solid showing at Rodney Parade earned Vale a point, thanks to Anton Forrester’s well-worked equaliser with 10 minutes to spare. It was refreshing to get something from a tight game that the side likely would have lost earlier in the season.
Vale 1-0 Barnet – League Two
Another vital goal with 10 minutes to spare, this time form the penalty spot, earned Vale a third consecutive home victory over fellow strugglers Barnet. It was a much-needed win, and one the team couldn’t contemplate losing considering their current predicament. However, things made a turn for the worse quickly after this point in the month.
Vale 0-4 Mansfield Town – League Two
What is there to say? After nearly taking the lead through Gavin Gunning early on, and a solid first half display, a goal just before half-time for Mansfield changed the course of the game. The in-form side ruthlessly finished the tie in the second half with a further three strikes. This was a poor result for Vale, who dominated possession and had more chances on goal.
Lincoln City 3-1 Vale – League Two
But for a 15-minute spell towards the end of the first half, Vale were second best throughout this match-up and can have no complaints about the result. Two really disappointing results to end the month saw Vale still at the wrong end of the table, in 21st place, just two points from bottom.
Progress in the cups is a welcome distraction but although the team does seem to be generally heading in the right direction under Neil Aspin, it badly needs to change its league fortunes and quick in December…