Match report: Port Vale 1-0 Rochdale

Defender Nathan Smith headed home his first senior Vale goal as the Valiants won their second home game of the season.

Bruno Ribeiro made two changes from the side that beat Southend bringing in Ben Purkiss and Anton Forrester.

In a frist-half that could best be described as patchy Vale’s final ball too often went astray although Forrester missed a chance almost identical to the one he converted on Saturday – this time following good work by JJ Hooper.

However, in the second period Vale were more fluid and took the lead when Nathan Smith headed in off a Rochdale defender.

The Valiants could have added to their lead in the closing stages when lively sub Alex Jones won a penalty that Hooper struck wide and then Jones missed a great chance in the closing stages.

Nevertheless, it was another win and cleansheet for Ribeiro’s men and with three games gone it’s perhaps time to share some thoughts on the team:

Alnwick – let’s not forget he’s only 23 – a baby in goalkeeping terms – he continues to improve and while not the finished article his distribution and shot stopping are excellent and he has now secured three cleansheets

Streete and Smith – hard to criticise three cleansheets plus the bonus of two goals. There will be greater tests to come but so far it looks very promising for two very young centre-backs with plenty of potential.

Purkiss – Despite Calvin Mac-Intosch’s Valiant efforts on Saturday, Purkiss is clearly the best right-back at the club.

Knops – considering it’s not his first-choice position he has been a real positive at left-back. Strong in the tackle and with an excellent pass.

Tavares – tricks, a massive beard and tenacity – in short all the attributes to make him a fans favourite – his passing was a little awry but he looks a great addition.

Grant and Foley – tireless and key players in this side. I’d offer them both contract extensions now.

Thomas – I think he’s still lacking match fitness but he still possesses skills that can see him bamboozle players at this level.

Forrester – he has a cracking turn which often beats the defender. Already highly promising but if given the time to boost his match fitness (say in ten games time) he could be a real star.

Hooper – the “David Riley” of this team (and remember the much-maligned “Mavis” was part of a promotion team) he’s manfully doing a job in an alien position. Such a pity he couldn’t score the penalty and boost his confidence but lovely first-half pass to set up Forrester for a chance.