A superb away performance from Port Vale saw them win 2-0 at Exeter and maintain their 100% start to the League Two season.
John Askey made one change from the team which took on Crawley Town with fit again Manny Oyeleke starting in place of Scott Burgess. The Valiants were also resplendent in their new all-green third kit.
Askey’s side survived an early scare when Leon Legge appeared to hold back Ryan Bowman in the box but the referee waved play on. However, Vale came back strongly with the impressive Tom Conlon unable to convert David Worrall’s free-kick, while Jake Taylor shot over for the home side.
The Valiants took the lead on twenty minutes when Manny Oyeleke was fouled on the edge of the box. Tom Conlon took the free-kick and expertly curled it into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
Tom Conlon lines up his free-kick
That goal inspired Vale who started to dominate the game. Conlon blasted wide after good work from Devante Rodney while a superb pass from Oyeleke sent Rodney clear but his shot was deflected over.
The home side could have drawn level on 37 minutes when Ryan Bowman went clear but Scott Brown pulled off a fine save which Zak Mills cleared. In the dying moments of the first-half Vale coul dhave doubled their advantage but Worrall headed over Rodney’s deep cross.
The home side started the second-half strongly and put Vale under pressure. But if Vale escaped punishment on Leon Legge in the first-half, Exeter’s Ryan Bowman was fortunate when he stood on a prostrate Legge. However, the ref failed to notice it.
Vale continued to threaten on the break and Mark Cullen just failed to connect with Tom Conlon’s pass. However, the home side had the better chances with Jake Taylor’s shot deflected over by Nathan Smith. Then the Valiants made it safe when Conlon’s superb through ball found Devante Rodney and he broke clear to coolly score his first goal for the club on 71 minutes. It was a tactical masterstroke by Askey who had switched Rodney to the centre just minutes earlier.
The game was now safe but there was still time for Exeter to have a couple of chances. Ben Seymour missed a good chance when clear in the box then the same player was denied by a breathtaking close range Scott Brown save.
Four minutes of overtime brought the game to an end and gave Vale a deserved three points. It had been a great team effort with every player doing their bit but special mention to Leon Legge, dominant in the air, Luke Joyce who cruised through the midfield and Tom Conlon who was without a doubt the best player on the pitch. What a start to the League Two season by the Valiants!
Port Vale line-up:
Brown – Mills, Legge, Smith, Fitzpatrick – Joyce, Oyeleke (Whitehead), Conlon – Rodney (Robinson), Cullen (Montano), Worrall
Subs: Visser, Crookes, Burgess, McKirdy