The D3D4 Correspondents give you their reports from a goal filled Tuesday night in League One and Two…
MATCH REPORT: Morecambe 0-3 Port Vale
Vale Have Aspin; Morecambe Need Aspirin…
Port Vale’s season started promisingly enough when they won their opening fixture away from home at Crawley on August 5th by three goals to one. Since then, however, the wheels have well and truly fallen off the Burslem team’s juggernaut and they didn’t win another league match until last Saturday, when they overcame Cheltenham at Vale Park by the same score. The man who was Manager at the start of this term’s campaign – Michael Brown – was sacked by the club on September 16th and they have finally persuaded ex-player Neil Aspin to leave Gateshead in the National League to team-up again with his own Manager during many of his extraordinary 410 games for the Potteries club, John Rudge. The latter is now the Valiant’s Director of Football but Aspin is firmly in the hot seat and seems to have few illusions about the task that confronts him to get Vale away from the bottom of the League Two table:
“We’re in the mire and we need to get out of it” he said when he first got the job.”We’re at the bottom of the Football League. It’s a massive job and I’m not shying away from it. It’s a step into the frying pan. I know it’s a risk. I could have stayed and managed in non-league football a lot longer. And I know how long managers tend to last in the Football League. But it was a challenge I couldn’t turn down.”
The new Manager seemed to be starting on a high when his new charges took the lead in his first game in charge against Grimsby two weeks ago. But the Mariners rallied and came from behind to win 1-2 at Vale Park. Following the win in his second game, though, Port Vale arrived at the Globe Arena tonight three places and five points worse off than their hosts.
Having won at rock-bottom Chesterfield last Saturday, Manager Jim Bentley was determined that his players would put in an even more positive display tonight than they did in Derbyshire, when the boss criticised them for a lack of commitment and determination in the second half of the game.
No doubt cranked-up right from the start by their Manager, the Shrimps took the game to the visitors right from the off tonight. Vale defender Tom Anderson did well to clear a dangerous ball from Adam McGurk which seemed to be about to set-up Vadaine Oliver after five minutes. Port goalkeeper Kelle Roos then did well to deny Steven Old after twelve minutes and did even better to punch a long-range volley from McGurk away from the danger zone after just over a quarter of an hour. Against the run of play, though, Vale took the lead after eighteen minutes when Ben Whitfield made progress down their left flank and swung over a cross which an unchallenged Tom Pope headed easily past Barry Roche to put the visitors ahead on the night. The goal put a spanner in the Morecambe works and they lost the momentum they had been building and Port could have gone further ahead when a cross from Marcus Harness took a deflection after 27 minutes and almost ended-up in the home team’s net. Four minutes later, Tyler Denton tried an audacious chip which only just cleared the Shrimps’ crossbar and the half ended with the visitors also having the final chance of the game when David Worrall found himself in the clear but hit his shot straight at Barry Roche.
Worrall started the first half the way he had ended the first when he hit the Morecambe post after just two minutes of the second period with a shot which curled round the Morecambe goalkeeper and as the Valiants dominated the play, the same player drew a fantastic save from Baz with a deflected shot after 62 minutes. Then it was Whitfield’s turn again four minutes later as he cut inside Aaron McGowan and unleashed a shot which also went straight at the goalkeeper. With another goal seeming almost inevitable, Pope clocked-up his second on the night and his fifth goal in the last three games after sixty-seven minutes after beating three or possibly even four Shrimps’ defenders and then audaciously lobbing the ball over Roche. At the other end, Roos earned his corn after 71 minutes with a fabulous save from Garry Thompson, somehow or other scooping a shot which seemed to be nestling in the back of the net over the bar instead. Port Vale continued to push for a third goal however and it arrived shortly after Christian Montano appeared on the pitch: he wrapped-up a convincing win for the visitors in injury time as Pope turned provider and slipped a low cross right into the danger area which the substitute turned into the net as home defenders were again found wanting.
This was a significant win for Vale who now have two clean sheets and six goals scored in their last two matches. For Morecambe, it was equally significantly worrying. The team were outplayed and outfought tonight and never looked like recovering as soon as they fell behind. With Forest Green Rovers and Chesterfield both winning away from home this evening, there are now a mere five points between the Shrimps and the bottom club and four between them and Forest Green, who they play in Gloucestershire in just over a week. The win pushes Port Vale onto the Shrimps’ coat-tails, just two points and one position beneath them in twenty-second place.
Take a look at the highlights from last night’s game, including goals from Pope and a first for Montano
— Port Vale FC (@OfficialPVFC) 18 October 2017
Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 5 Steven Old; 2 Aaron McGowan; 22 Max Muller (24 Michael Rose 54 mins); 14 Luke Conlan; 8 Andy Fleming (21 Elliot Osborne 83 mins); 4 Alex Kenyon (C); 7 Garry Thompson; 18 Rhys Turner (10 Adam Campbell 42 mins); 28 Adam McGurk; 9 Vadaine Oliver.
Subs Not Used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 15 Aaron Wildig; 17 Mitchell Lund; 16 Sam Lavelle.
Port Vale: 34 Kelle Roos; 21 James Gibbons; 24 Nathan Smith; 4 Tom Anderson (Y); 33 Gavin Gunning; 3 Tyler Denton (32 Michael Tonge 45 mins); 10 David Worrall; 8 Danny Pugh (C); 31 Ben Whitfield (14 Tyrone Barnett 83 mins); 7 Marcus Myers-Harness (11 Christian Montano 89 mins); 9 Tom Pope.
Subs not used: 23 Ryan Boot; 5 Joe Davis; 6 Anthony Kay; 19 Dan Turner.
Ref: Ross Joyce
words Roger Fitton, D3D4 Morecambe Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Shrewsbury Town 4-0 Bristol Rovers
Just over ten years ago Bristol Rovers handed Salop a footballing lesson at Wembley Stadium in the League Two playoff final. Quick and clinical on the break the Gas ran out 3-1 winners on that May day.
Fast forward to October 2017 and the footballing lesson was being reversed at the Monty all be it in a less prestigious fixture. A stunning, attacking first half display saw Salop regain top spot in League One with a 4-0 victory.
Salop were at their devastating best in the first 45. Alex Rodman, Carlton Morris, Jon Nolan and Junior Brown all found the net as a shell shocked Gas were ran raged.
Rodders opened the scoring in the 12th minute, exchanging passes with fellow wide man Shaun Whalley before rolling a shot under the goalkeeper. Town were rampant to be honest, the Gas could not get a foot hold in the game. Twelve minutes after the first goal Junior Brown’s cross from the left was headed home by the impressive, willing worker Carlton Morris to double the lead.
Salop didn’t stop there and were hungry for more. They moved further ahead five minutes later as Morris, released by an excellent pass from Ben Godfrey, crossed from the right for Jon Nolan the player who had never beaten Rovers in his career, to fire home.
A fourth goal followed four minutes from the break as Whalley’s free kick was headed in off the far post by left back Brown who climbed higher than anyone, the fourth goal topped of one of the most impressive first half performances by a Shrewsbury Town team in recent times.
Town kept pressing in the second half, but the goal scoring for the night was done, the players kept working hard and gained a well earned clean sheet. Each of Hurst’s three substitutions were met with standing ovations from the Salop fans, all richly deserved and earned with complete hard work & belief in the same way as the celebrations at the final whistle were. STUNNING!
Shrewsbury: Henderson; Bolton, Sadler, Nsiala, J Brown; Whalley, Ogogo (c) (B Morris, 85), Godfrey, Nolan (Gnahoua, 81), Rodman; C Morris (Payne, 66)
Subs not used: Beckles, Dodds, John-Lewis, B Morris, MacGillivray (gk)
Bristol Rovers: Slocombe; Partington, Lockyer (c), Sweeney, Bola; Lines (Sinclair, 46); Clarke, Sercombe; Nichols (Telford, 72); Gaffney (Leadbitter, 57), Harrison
Subs not used: L Brown, Broadbent, Moore, Smith (gk)
words Ian Evans, D3D4 Shrewsbury Town Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Coventry City 0-1 Forest Green Rovers
Forest Green Rovers are known as The Little Club On The Hill. And as a newly promoted club to the football league are also called League Two minnows. But they left the Ricoh Arena with all three points after a lion hearted performance, leaving us Coventry City supporters once again feeling downcast and frustrated at our teams dominance but lack of goals.
Having lots of possession in a game is fine but if you don’t put the ball in the net the opposition sometimes only needs one chance to win a match, and so it was when FGR took the lead in the 29 minute through a goalkeeping error by Lee Burge the City keeper. A relatively soft shot from Marsh-Brown should have easily have been saved, but instead it ended up in the back of the net much to Burges dismay and the home fans who thought it was going to be a routine save.
But these things happen in football so you have to take it on the chin and just get on with it. The visitors defended stoutly and used every trick in the book, time wasting, niggly fouls, but it worked a treat in the end as the Sky Blues huffed and puffed but just couldn’t find a way through the Rovers defence.
The crowd of 6,366 with a couple of hundred FGR supporters, saw one side defending ruggedly, with the other team trying ways to score but being thwarted by poor finishing and decent goalkeeping saves. The home side had 20 odd shots on goal but converted not one of them. Now you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to work out where the problem lies here, to win football matches you must outscore your opponent! Simple isn’t it? Sorry for being flippant but that’s what happens when you support Coventry City just when you think the team is going well and on a roll, bang bang, they quickly bring you back to reality again with inept performances and you’re left pulling your hair out and looking in the phone book for the number of the Samaritans!
So it’s back to the drawing board for the Sky Blues who have to start finishing off teams soon or we may be getting called The Big Club On The Way Down ? Then again we may already be known as that!
words Kevin Halls, D3D4 Coventry City Correspondent
Following yet another success on the road for Carlisle United, Wycombe Wanderers were the opponents that Keith Curle’s men aimed to kick-start their near non-existent home form against. Gareth Ainsworth’s men have consistently put up a fight in this fixture so it promised to be a highly contested one as it was strong away from versus weak home form. Both sides had suspensions with Marcus Bean being Wycombe’s only man. Whilst Carlisle had Danny Grianger, Richie Bennett, and Tom Parkes ruled out.
Barely any time had elapsed when a delightful corner from Nicky Adams was whipped in. The ball found a free Reggie Lambe at the back post using his team mates rush to the front post as an excellent foil. It was left to the Bermuda to head the ball down across goal and before anyone else had a chance to connect, the ball had crossed the line.
The oranges – on the night – were in dismay and looked shaky from then on. Wycombe goalkeeper Scott Brown had trouble with his kicking due to Carlisle’s high-frequency pressing and that prompted the atmosphere to build (mostly jeers however) in Brunton Park despite a low crowd on the chilly night. The away side were consistently thwarted by the home side when they went forward and tackles from James Brown & saves from Jack Bonham solidified the early lead.
Adam El-Abd at the back for the Chairboys was put under pressure by the hard-working former Morecambe men Jamie Devitt & Shaun Miller, who had their chance to properly start together at home in the league for the first time since they arrived at the club (remarkably). With the infamous Adebayo Akinfenwa up front for Wycombe, leading the line on his own and not pressing, it left space for Clint Hill or Gary Liddle to drive on with the ball numerous times. That tactic was soon a success, in an integral part of the match. Hill was able to stride forward and a tackle/pass evaded Wycombe’s right-back Sido Jombati, and Tom Miller – who was back in the team at left-back for the suspended Danny Grainger – latched onto the ball and played it inside S. Miller. The nifty forward then managed to draw a dubious foul from Dan Scarr and after some hesitation, the referee blew the whistle. There was scuffling for a few minutes and Wycombe’s Sam Saunders was booked in protest, but it was Devitt who stepped up. The Irishmen slotted coolly slotted home for his second goal in as many games; a surprising stat considering Devitt had only scored his first goal for Carlisle in his last match in his second season at the club.
The break was nearing following a quiet period when Mike Jones gave a silly foul away the edge of the Carlisle penalty area. Saunders stepped up and fired in a clean shot that beat Bonham as half-time came almost straight after.
Post-interval, it was clear that Wycombe had taken some of Carlisle’s momentum as it wasn’t long before Nicky Adams missed a huge chance and his side were ultimately punished. Just Instagram from the Carlisle penalty area, Nick Freeman beat Luke Joyce to Akinfenwa holding off Brown & Liddle to coolly head home. That stunned the crowd but the atmosphere erupted once some touchline handbags came about. It was tense inside the stadium as the final minutes dawned. Nerves set in for both sides and a nervy weak-footed kick from Bonham fell to substitute Hallam Hope. The former Everton forward made a run up the field resulting in a square ball to Jones, who laid it in perfectly for Lambe to do what Adams couldn’t; precisely sending the ball into the bottom corner and the crowd wild. That would be the winner in most matches but this is Carlisle at home, so it wasn’t over yet. The Cumbrians were seeing the match out well until added time. Then the men from Buckinghamshire had two consecutive corners. The first was dealt with my Bonham but another sweet ball in but Marc Jacobson allowed substitute Paris Cowen-Hall meet the ball in the air & head through men to break Carlisle hearts. Wycombe’s players & staff let their emotions get the better of them and showed the Carlisle fans what they thought as the final whistle blew.
The away side kept their away record intact but the home side continue to struggle when the pressure is on. Curle has things to think about in spite of an excellent performance before another match at Brunton Park this weekend, as it’s now 3 wins in 22 at home in 2017. On the contrary, Ainsworth can return with his men to Adams Park well & truly buzzing in spite of a lacklustre display overall. It was a typical rollercoaster of a League Two match: superb for the neutral but not for all the fans.
words Nathan Ridley, D3D4 Carlisle United Correspondent