Smith is fu­ri­ous at blun­der by Berry

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Beardmore To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

QUEEN Vic­to­ria was on the throne the last time Port Vale com­pleted a league dou­ble over Wal­sall – and Sad­dlers man­ager Dean Smith was cer­tainly not amused with ref­eree Carl Berry.

Berry’s de­ci­sion to award Vale a con­tro­ver­sial sec­ond-half penalty de­cided this tight clash be­tween two sides still har­bour­ing play-off am­bi­tions thanks to Peter­bor­ough’s wob­bles.

It handed Vale a first league dou­ble over the Sad­dlers since 1899, mov­ing Micky Adams’ side above Wal­sall in the process.

And af­ter see­ing the de­feat rob his men of the chance to make up ground on Posh, Smith blasted Berry for pe­nal­is­ing what he termed ‘good de­fend­ing’ by Paul Down­ing on Vale’s Tom Pope.

Smith fumed: “There was noth­ing in the game – we didn’t de­serve to lose but we didn’t de­serve to win ei­ther.

“Un­for­tu­nately some­body we can’t con­trol has made a de­ci­sion that’s al­lowed Port Vale to get the win. I’m an­gry be­cause it was a great piece of de­fend­ing from Paul Down­ing and the ref has given a penalty.

“We had a de­ci­sion at the end of last sea­son at Crewe when Carl Berry was ref­er­ee­ing – it wasn’t a penalty that day and it wasn’t a penalty again here. Un­for­tu­nately he has made a mis­take twice.

“Paul was just shield­ing the ball back to the goal­keeper, it was great de­fend­ing. I’ve said that to Paul and I will keep say­ing that to him be­cause it was re­ally good de­fend­ing.”

Vale had the best ef­forts in a scrappy first half, Chris Bir­chall send­ing a de­li­cious 30-yard chip inches over, while Doug Loft was sim­i­larly close with a 20-yard vol­ley.

The game was de­cided seven min­utes into the sec­ond half as Berry pointed to the spot af­ter a tus­sle be­tween Down­ing and Pope, and Jen­ni­son Myrie Wil­liams slammed home from the spot.

Wal­sall were awo­ken by the per­ceived in­jus­tice but Vale keeper Sam John­son twice saved well from Sad­dlers sub­sti­tute Mi­lan Lalkovic.

Sad­dlers young­ster Amadou Bakayoko had the chance to make it a dream de­but off the bench but shot weakly at John­son and Vale hung on.

Adams said:“15 points, that’s the tar­get. The mes­sage to the play­ers is let’s fin­ish the sea­son well and try to win as many games as we pos­si­bly can.

“If I say we’ve got no chance of get­ting there, I get ac­cused of be­ing neg­a­tive and not sell­ing sea­son tick­ets.

“We’re on 57 points, four points off the play­offs, we will try to win as many games as we can from now on in.”

STAR MAN DOUG LOFT Port­Vale

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