There’s only one place to start with the post-match analysis of the Tranmere Game – Rob Fielding shares his views…
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Well, it was obvious, but the standard of the match officials’ display has to be the first point. Even the victors must have been disappointed by the decisions as Vale’s penalty was soft and there was a bizarre decision to disallow a Rovers goal. However, the decisions that went against Port Vale were equally if not more damaging. The sending-off of Luke Joyce changed the game and looked harsh. Surely a yellow was more deserved? The additional time added at the end was a key factor too. Yes, credit to Tranmere for taking the game to Vale’s ten men but without that red card and Vale 2-0 up would this have been a different story? I think it would.
A different type of defeat
You could say that the mood of the fans after the FA Cup loss to Kings Lynn was embarrassment and annoyance. There was the fact Vale had lost to underdogs, had failed to make clear-cut chances and there was the annoyance of losing out on cup revenue. The reaction after this game was wholly different. There was annoyance – at the match officials and at the dramatic ending but there must also be pride at how close Vale’s ten men came to holding out. This was more bad luck than a bad performance. There’s a long season ahead and hopefully this loss will be balanced out by a bit of luck going our way later in the season.
A Luke Joyce sized hole leaves lasting damage
There’s plenty of key performers in this Vale side. However, while Scott Brown is shadowed by Dino Visser and Leon Legge by Shaun Brisley, there is no like-for-like replacement for Luke Joyce as he serves his suspension. The natural option is to bring in Manny Oyeleke if he’s fit and Danny Whitehouse offers an alternative if not. But Vale are vulnerable when Joyce is missing so this shocking decision could cause longer term damage to the Valiants.
It may be creeping up under the radar but do Port Vale have a defensive problem? They conceded two at home to a poor Liverpool B side in midweek and shipped another four here. For all his inspiration play, it was another penalty conceded by captain Leon Legge (by my count that’s three this season) while there were moments of miscommunication between the defence and Scott Brown that were unpunished. The Valiants have now conceded eleven in eleven games and when you consider there were four cleansheets at the start of the season and only two conceded after six games played, that’s nine opposition goals in the last five games.
On the positive side…
Despite all the above there are positives to be taken from the game (honest). Tom Conlon was back to his best when Vale had all eleven on the pitch. David Amoo’s goal showed the benefit of training ground routines. Devante Rodney showed he could produce a goalscoring cameo from the bench. Scott Brown was his usual impressive self. It was a gutting result, make no mistake but Vale would do well to put it behind them and concentrate on the positives from the performance.