Big Bayo bullying Valiants once more
PORT Vale manager Micky Adams blasted the way his side dealt with Adebayo Akinfenwa after the striker’s man-of-thematch performance helped Gillingham to a hard-earned victory.
Akinfenwa headed goals either side of halftime from two Bradley Dack deliveries to put the Gills in control of the game, before Cody McDonald added a third for the hosts from another Dack assist.
Vale rallied with two late goals to set up an exciting finale, but manager Adams said his players’ inability to cope with six-footone, 16-stone Akinfenwa was key to the result.
“Every time I’ve come up against him with this football club, I’ve not had a centre half who could deal with him,” said Adams.
“If you get into a wrestling match with him at any time, there’s only going to be one winner.
“We assigned Tom Pope to mark him because he’s a big strong boy, but Akinfenwa fended him off like he wasn’t there for the first goal.
“Their second goal was from the second phase of a corner, and we didn’t deal with him again. I think that we need to get back to basics when defending set pieces, because we’re conceding too many from them.”
At 3-0 up, Gillingham appeared to be heading to a comfortable victory, and had it not been for goalkeeper Chris Neal, Vale could have been out of the game before the hour mark. In particular, Neal made a stunning, quick-fire triple save to deny McDonald, Dack and Amine Linganzi when the score was still 1-0.
Yet the visitors finished strongly, and Chris Robertson headed a goal back for them on 81 minutes, although the home side believed Joe Martin had cleared the effort off the line.
Substitute Jordan Hugill fired home a second from close range six minutes later, but unfortunately for the 200-odd visiting supporters, they left Priestfield with a only free poncho, and not a share of the points.
Gills boss Peter Taylor admitted his side were both excellent and poor, saying: “For 70 minutes we were outstanding. I think we asked a lot of questions of them and we scored three excellent goals. However the last 20 minutes, we went from doing well to being incredibly nervous.
“We were cruising, and although the players didn’t think the linesman should have given Port Vale’s first goal, I told them that we shouldn’t have collapsed the way we did after that.
“I'm over the moon the way the players get a result, but we can also learn a lot from the game.”
STAR MAN ADEBA