Rob Fielding shares his thoughts after Port Vale’s comfortable win including iFollow, that man Tom Pope and the second lockdown…
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Could it have been more?
I guess us Vale fans should be grateful for any wins but this one was arguably one of the easiest of the season. Other teams may have punished Vale’s first-half profligacy as they hit the woodwork, scuffed shots and generally failed to take any of a series of good chances. But this was Southend, without a win all season and on this showing looking prime relegation contenders. There was no denying Tom Pope in the second-half and Vale did thoroughly deserve the win but is it ungrateful to think this could have been a real thumping?
iFollow problems continue to annoy
We all know that due to restrictions the live stream is the only way for fans to see the Vale in action. So, it was frustrating to say the least that this was the second Vale game in a row to be dogged by problems. It’s not just the technical b*lls up that annoy – it’s the generic statements that follow such incidents that give fans no confidence that the issues have been resolved. With so many supporters (not just the Vale) reliant on the system, iFollow have to start upping their game.
Pope stakes his claim #2
I’d said in my last summary that Tom Pope had staked his claim for a start. Well, after a start and two goals (which could have been a hat-trick but for the woodwork) I’d say he’s now staked his claim for a run in the side. The veteran may lack pace but his link up play is a joy and in this game he showed his ability to get on the end of crosses from both wide men. He may be “more than a targetman” but his aerial ability won the match on Saturday.
Crookes shows Vale’s strength in depth
Adam Crookes had a decent game on Saturday. He may well be Vale’s third-choice left-back but in the absence of both David Fitzpatrick and Cristian Montano he did a good job on the left of defence. What’s more, Vale could still have called on Zak Mills or Mitch Clark to play on the left of the defence. It’s an indication of John Askey’s clever squad recruitment that he’s brought in versatile players like Crookes, Mills and Clark who can play in multiple positions. In previous seasons, losing your two first-choice left-backs would have been a huge problem – but not this one.
Wingers buzzing again
It was great to see David Worrall and David Amoo causing the Southend defence all sorts of problems. Both look back to their best and they’ve both played a vital role in Vale’s three match winning streak. If the mantra in coming weeks is to “Feed the Pope” then this pair have the talent to provide those chances.
What effect will a second lockdown have?
Away from football, the news has been dominated by the announcement of a second lockdown. It looks like the Football League season will continue – at least for now. However, it makes the prospect of fans returning to stadiums in the near future pretty much impossible and with the Premier League stalling on a financial stimulus what effect will that have on the club’s finances? That is deeply concerning.