Report Filed by Mike Stubbs
There won’t be many fan’s that can remember Vale winning four games on the bounce, never mind having the ability to name them all, but Vale went into today’s game with Premier League Burnley having just done that. Wins against Kidsgrove, Notts Forrest Academy, Leek Town and Fleetwood Town might not strike fear into the heart of today’s visitors, but Vale were happy to go into this game with a bit of momentum and a good win on Wednesday against a higher ‘ranked’ team in the Trawlermen.
But it was the visitors that made the first blow of the game on three minutes, a mistake by Gibbons allowed Gibson to cross, Wood challenging with Brown who’d spilled the ball but gathered at the second attempt.
Vale responded in kind minutes later, Pope getting a header on goal after good work from Amoo and Worrall, but it was tame given Pope’s high standards and the keeper gathered with ease. Pope though was not to be denied as Vale took the lead on nine minutes, a great surging run into the box from Conlon, a deflected pass to Worrall who quickly fired the ball into Pope who swiveled and beats Heaton on his near post. The England Keeper had to be disappointed with that and ended flapping at it quite amateurishly.
The Visitors were stung into action with that on on eleven minutes won a corner, floated over the six-yard box and flicked header clear from Smith before finally clearing into the stand. At this stage, Burnley were trying to take a tighter grip on the game, but the Vale defence held firm, even using their own woodwork to their advantage, Legge with a clearing header in front of Wood skimming his own bar.
The pressure from the visitors continued and on twenty-five minutes Lennon did everything right as he ran at the Vale defence, but his shot was lacking and trickles wide of the right hand upright. Whilst the Visitors pressed Vale themselves won a corner on twenty-seven minutes, Worrall putting it into the mix, but despite the Burnley defence looking very jittery under the high ball, they scrambled it clear.
Vale look to seize the initiative and on thirty-seven minutes won a corner which Worrall took from the attacking left, Heaton though was able to take waist high, poor that no striker had got close enough.
On forty-one Vale breathed a sigh of relief as Burnley really should have been level, a poor pass back from Legge was short, Lennon collected but was forced wide. He Held on to the ball for too long before crossing but the defence are reformed, and it was scrambled clear. The last action of the half saw a good interchange down the left between Crookes, Worrall and Amoo, which freed Amoo in the left-hand channel but he drags his effort left of the goal.
Hart on for Heaton
Both teams restarting the second half with their eye on attacking options but on fifty-two minutes it was the Visitors that finally grabbed their equaliser. Lennon found room in the inside right channel thirty yards out and chipped a delightful Crossfield pass that found Wood in space and he planted his header over Brown and into the Vale net. On fifty-six Burnley won another corner down their attacking right, but Vale cleared well.
As the half progressed Vale being began to be pegged deeper and deeper into their own 18-yard box and this was the spark for Vale to start to ring the changes, On sixty-one, Gibbons was taken off and Rawlinson came on, Smith departing the field and Evans making his debut in a Vale shirt replaced him.
Vale had flashes as the half progressed, on sixty-three they won a corner, after Conlon crossed and Tarkowski got in front of Pope. Worrall sprayed the corner in, but it was cleared and Burnley broke into the Vale half. Vale continued to use the substitute bench and on sixty-five Keeper Maddison came on for Brown, Cullen on for Pope.
Maddison’s introduction though was a harsh one as Burnley continued to pile forward forcing a good save from the young keeper just minutes later diving low to his right after a snapshot from the edge of the box.
With the departure of Amoo for Burgess on seventy-three attacking options began to dry up and Burnley took a firm grip on the game.
On eighty minutes, the visitors took the lead through Vydra, sharp play on the edge of the box freed up Wood who feigned to shoot but rolled the ball square to Vydra who calmly side footed the ball in the bottom left hand corner giving Keeper Maddison no chance. Burnley extended their lead further on eighty-four, this time patient build up down the right, produced a cross to centre of the penalty box where Brady tucked away with ease.
The result might not have been what we wanted but for seventy minutes Vale were more than a match for their illustrious premier league visitors. Its clear to see now the pattern of play Vale will use this forthcoming season, all that remains now is the eleven that will fill those births. Vale will now retreat from view for a few days, private training north of the border but they’ll be back here on the 27th as they wrap up their preseason at home to Bury on the 27th July.