REPORT: Port Vale 3 Rovers 0
Port Vale 3 (Marshall 6, Veseli 38, Moore 87)
Doncaster Rovers 0
Vale Park, Burslem
Saturday 21st February 2015
Sky Bet League One
Paul Dickov made two changes to the side that beat Crewe midweek. Abdul Razak maked his first start for the club in place of Paul Keegan who doesn’t feature in the named 18. Harry Forrester came back into the side after a short injury spell at the expense of Ikpeazu who dropped to the bench.
The host got the game under way with a calm couple of opening exchanges, until Pope had a glancing header off target from Marshall’s cross. Vale then capitalised on a mistake in the Rovers midfield giving away possession 6 minutes into the game, allowing a long cross field ball that found MARSHALL who managed to squeeze his shot under the on rushing Bywater to give them the lead.
Rovers thought they had the opportunity to equalise 5 minutes later; Bennett intercepted a short back pass from Dickinson but couldn’t cut the ball back before sliding over the by-line, encouraging attacks followed but with no end product to show.
Just inside the 18 minute mark and Williams appeared to miss hit a cross from the left, Bywater was alert and was called into action preventing the dipping cross from going in, tipping it over his crossbar.
McCombe received the first booking of the game on 22 minutes. His late tackle on the influential left-winger Marshall brought him to the ground giving the referee no choice but to brandish the yellow card.
The conditions turned from afternoon sunshine to heavy rain, hailstone and swirling winds. Rovers produced a testing cross through Tyson that was collected by Neal despite the deteriorating conditions and maybe they played a part on 38 minutes when VESELI decided to shoot from 40 yards out. His low driven effort skimmed under Bywater and doubled the Vale’s lead.
Half time was fast approaching and the patient build up play from Rovers resulted in a curling effort by Wellens, wrapping his foot around the ball on the edge of the area, Neal was equal to it and collected easily.
A minute into added time in the first half, McCombe went down in the area after having his shirt aggressively pulled on by Dickinson but cries for a penalty were turned down by the referee leaving Rovers trailing by two goals going into the break.
Half time – Port Vale 2 – 0 Rovers
Rovers came out in the second half positively, enjoying a lot of possession creating a couple of good attacks, the most notable being Razak’s 30 yard effort that was driven low and hard but straight at Neal who saved smartly.
Razak was involved again on 56 minutes, flamboyantly turning then crossing across the six yard area toward Tyson sliding in, the resulting scramble then saw a number of players react getting involved in handbags and after the referee consulted his assistant, Tyson and Neal were both show a yellow card for their involvement.
On the hour mark Furman found himself in an excellent advance position on the end of a through ball on the right hand side but with Neal advancing out of his goal the South African dragged his shot wide of the post.
Rovers were enjoying most of the territory and possession but with little cutting edge in the final third. On 70 minutes the substitute Main was in a pocket of space on the edge of the area and unleashed a powerful shot through a number of bodies but he saw his effort sail over the Vale crossbar.
Just three minutes later Moore beat Stevens in the right hand channel and cut the ball back into the path on Williamson who skied his first time effort at the near post over the Rovers crossbar. Another long rang shot from Main followed in the next attack but again from distance his shot was constantly rising over the bar.
Ikpwazu was the next of Rovers players to have an attack with 12 minutes remaining and a flooded penalty area he decided to shoot along the ground from a tight angle on the right hand side, Neal was relieved to see it trickle past the far post.
Robinson in the 80th minute found himself with a clear run on goal, Veseli managed to get goal side of the Jamaican who looked to curl one to the bottom corner however, the weak effort was calmly smothered by the Vale keeper.
86 minutes in Rovers delivered a free kick from the left, the substitute Ikpeazu managed to get his head to the ball directing it towards the Vale goal but taking all the pace off in the process meant Neal could collect through a congested penalty area.
Despite the second half dominance from the visitors Vale made it three-nil with three minutes remaining. MOORE was played in, charging into the box from a tight angle and poked the ball past Bywater.
Four minutes of added time was played at a considerably slower pace than most of the second half and the Referee finally blew the full time whistle to end what can only be described as a miserable afternoon for the Rovers.
Full Time Port Vale 3 - 0 Rovers
Rovers: Bywater, Wabara, McCombe, Butler, Stevens, Bennett, Furman, Wellens, Razak (Ikpeazu 63), Forrester (Main 45), Tyson (Robinson 73).
Subs not used – Marosi, McCullough, Whitehouse, Evina.
Cautions – McCombe (22), Tyson (56), Furman (78)
Port Vale: Neal, Veseli, Inniss, Robertson, Dickinson, Moore, Brown, O’Connor, Marshall (Birchall 84), Williamson (Dodds 71), Pope.
Subs not used –Johnson, Yates, McGivern, Lines, O’Sullivan.
Cautions – Robertson (45), Neal (56)
Attendance – 5713 (Away - 740)