BACK AFTER VALE RISE
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