BACK AF­TER VALE RISE

NORTHAMP­TON 2

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Tom Hold­croft

PORT VALE boss Micky Adams claimed it was a mir­a­cle af­ter see­ing his side al­most cer­tainly se­cure pro­mo­tion with a dra­matic draw against Northamp­ton.

A late own goal from former Valiant Lee Collins, now in the colours of Northamp­ton, snatched a price­less point for Adams’ men whose pro­mo­tion will be rub­ber stamped at Wy­combe on Satur­day.

Ri­vals Chel­tenham need to plug an im­plau­si­ble goal dif­fer­ence of 28 on the fi­nal day to stop Vale, whose me­te­oric rise from the trauma of en­ter­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion less than a year ago is al­most com­plete.

Adams said:“I’m de­lighted for the sup­port­ers and most of all for my play­ers.

“We’ve been through the mill at this club and there have been dif­fi­cult times. For ev­ery­body to pull to­gether and achieve what we have is ab­so­lutely un­be­liev­able.

“Three days be­fore pre-sea­son, I was scream­ing down the phone whilst on hol­i­day be­cause we didn’t have any train­ing kit. And a week be­fore the sea­son kicked off we didn’t have any reg­is­tered play­ers. So, to achieve what we have is a mi­nor mir­a­cle.

“Peo­ple have tried to de­rail us but I wouldn’t al­low it. We drew strength from it and when the cyn­ics were hav­ing a pop, we stuck our chests out and had a go.The doubters and the cyn­ics can say what they want about me, but I’ve won four pro­mo­tions and I’m do­ing okay.”

Vale en­tered their pro­mo­tion de­cider on a run of six matches un­beaten as they zoned in on league glory for the first time since 1994.

Northamp­ton, though, were in­tent on crash­ing the party, tak­ing the lead on three min­utes as Clarke Carlisle smashed home at the back post from Ben Hard­ing’s cor­ner.

And the vis­i­tors were inches from a two-goal cush­ion on 34 min­utes when Luke Gut­tridge’s drive thud­ded against the un­der­side of the cross­bar.

But, on 39 min­utes, the Valiants were level.Tom Pope, 33 times a scorer this sea­son, turned provider with a splen­did left-wing cross that was nod­ded home by former Northamp­ton loa­nee Liam Chil­vers.

Jen­ni­son Myrie-Wil­liams’ dead­ball prow­ess had Northamp­ton on the rack again on the hour when his 25-yard free-kick drew a fine save from Lee Ni­cholls.

De­spite their dom­i­nance, how­ever, Vale were hit by a 69th minute sucker-punch as Roy O’Dono­van curled a 25-yard beauty into the top cor­ner. But the all-im­por­tant equaliser ar­rived four min­utes from time when former Vale favourite Collins di­verted Chris Bir­chall’s cross over the keeper and into the net.

Cob­blers’ boss Adie Boothroyd said: “Con­grat­u­la­tions to Port Vale. It’s a great achieve­ment for Micky and his team. They de­serve to go up.

“Also, con­grat­u­la­tions to ev­ery­body at Northamp­ton be­cause, af­ter fin­ish­ing on 49 points in a dog­fight last year, get­ting to where we have (the play­offs) is a big achieve­ment and I’m very pleased.

“Of course I would have liked to go up au­to­mat­i­cally, that would have been un­be­liev­able. We’ll set­tle for a be­liev­able achieve­ment for now.”

OPENER: Liam Chil­vers scores Port Vale's first goal

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