Port Vale and Northampton Town played out a goalless draw that was largely devoid of chances on Saturday afternoon.
Manager Darrell Clarke brought back Aaron Martin into the defence as Kian Harratt dropped out. That change in formation from midweek meant Vale looked a little toothless early on as the visitors came to dominate possession in the opening stages.
The Valiants failed to create any clearcut changes in the first period while loan goalkeeper Tomas Holy was on hand to save at his near-post from the visitor’s best chance of the half.
Both sides struggled to create too many chances in the second-half. Ben Garrity wasted one opportunity while a Northampton ball went through the Vale defence only for no-one to connect.
One bright point saw the long awaited return of Jamie Proctor after injury. Shortly afterwards was arguably the game’s biggest controversy as Northampton’s Lubala was mystifyingly booked rather than red carded when he brought down Tom Pett when the Vale midfielder was through on goal.
Like the performance, the officials’ display was lacklustre at best with both sides having baffling decisions against them at time. However, at least the Valiants can say they held their own against a side pushing for promotion and with other key players set to return from injury, Vale are sure to possess a more cutting edge soon.
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Port Vale: Holy; Smith, Martin, Hall; Worrall, Pett, Walker (Charsley), Garrity, Hussey; Wilson (Harratt), Edmondson (Proctor)
Subs: Stone, Jones, Amoo, Cooper
Port Vale booking: Martin