Outflanked, too quiet and missing Lines…

Outflanked, too quiet and missing Lines…

OVF editor Rob Fielding reflects on what he saw from the sidelines as Port Vale under-perform against a battling Plymouth side.

Rob Fielding writes…

The defence needs to talk…

The other defenders would do well to follow Duffy’s traits as they looked far less organised once he went off…

I personally felt that the defence missed Richard Duffy when he went off injured. That’s not just because he’s a good defender, it’s because of what he does when not challenging for the ball. I’ve been impressed with Duffy for two reasons since his centre-half switch – it’s that he barks out orders to his fellow defenders and that he’s always looking around to check on the defensive positioning.

If Duffy is out for a while then talk of adding a loan defender will presumably not solve this problem before the cup replay as most players are now cup-tied. So, it’s down to the players we have on our books to sort this out. The other defenders would do well to follow Duffy’s traits as they looked far less organised once he went off.

The ‘reliables’ had a rare off-day…

I have much admiration for Doug Loft and Carl Dickinson but I did feel both struggled a bit on Sunday. Loft is only just back from injury and I felt that, that incisive run for Pope’s goal aside, he had less energy than usual. The side missed his inspiring performances. However, I am sure that with more games that will return.

Similarly, while Carl Dickinson was as committed and dependable, you cannot give a player pace and as a result he clearly struggled with speedy Plymouth winger Obadeyi (on this performance perhaps one for the Vale scouts to keep tabs on). Arguably, even reliable keeper Chris Neal was at fault for the first Plymouth goal by leaving his posts unguarded (though he made up for it with some fine saves).

Substitutions outflanked…

The result was that the Vale full-backs had little to no protection allowing the Plymouth wide players to maraud forward at will…

This comment is said with the benefit of hindsight and I have much respect for Micky Adams, he knows far more about the game than me…

I was surprised when two central forwards (Williamson and Hugill) came on for two widemen (Myrie-Williams and Dodds). I wonder if, on reflection, Adams may now think that his substitutions should have been like-for-like (so, Hugill for Pope or Birchall for Myrie-Williams) because the changes left Vale overburdened in the middle but lacking on the flanks.

The result was that the Vale full-backs had little to no protection allowing the Plymouth wide players to maraud forward at will.

We’re missing Lines…

Gavin Tomlin took a fair bit of undeserved flak for his three corners in the closing stages. Yes, they were not great, but he has scored four goals in four games so the bloke who shouted he never wanted to see Tomlin on the pitch again – well, you may want to reconsider that remark! The sad truth is – with Chris Lines out of the side, Vale’s set pieces carry much less threat.

The sooner Lines returns, the better…

Think positive…

Norman Smurthwaite’s pre-match interview on local radio has prompted much debate, but away from the finances, one comment stuck in my head. When asked about the game, Norman said that Vale “never do things the easy way,” and perhaps this is one of those occasions. Travelling to a midweek game in Plymouth will be tough, but the team now has a chance to redeem itself.

Let’s hope that they do.

These are Rob’s personal views and you agree or disagree with them. We welcome features from fans (just so long as they meet our publishing guidelines) so if you’d like to respond to this piece with a viewpoint of your own please email robf@onevalefan.co.uk

 

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