Gavin Tomlin scored his first senior Vale goal as they ended a 66 year wait to record an away league win over old rivals Walsall.
Vale sprung a major surprise with youngster Sam Johnson named in goal. Johnson, whose only other appearance was a starring role in Vale’s JPT win at Walsall last season replaced Chris Neal who was injured on Friday. Meanwhile, Chris Birchall replaced Louis Dodds and Gavin Tomlin partnered Tom Pope upfront.
Vale had not won at Walsall in the league since 1947 but they managed an excellent first-half performance full of energy and high work rate.
The visitors took the lead in this game just before the twenty minute mark when Birchall supplied Tom Pope who netted his eigth goal of the season. And Vale had a shout for penalty later on when Myrie-Williams’ ball appeared to strike a hand, but the appeals were turned down.
The Vale had silenced the home side and early in second half Lines should have put Vale 2-0 up but he missed from close range. Ironically, that sparked Walsall into life and Johnson pulled off a fine save on the hour mark as the home side pushed for an equaliser.
However, somewhat against the second-half play, Vale doubled their lead with a fine goal from Gavin Tomlin just after the hour mark. It was the striker’s first senior goal for Vale and put the away side into a commanding lead.
That proved to be enough for Vale who comfortably held on to record one of the most impressive wins of the season and one that finally ends their long, long Walsall hoodoo.
Vale: Johnson, Yates, Robertson, Duffy, Dickinson, Myrie-Williams, Griffith, Lines, Birchall, Tomlin (Dodds), Pope
Subs: Boot, Chilvers, Hughes, Taylor, Shuker, Williamson
Attendance: 4,919 (1,165 away)