Marshall puts Vale back on right Page
GIVEN a six-week ultimatum to prove his worth as Micky Adams’ successor, Port Vale caretaker manager Rob Page was indebted to Mark Marshall for a winning start as the midfielder’s stunning late goal downed Barnsley
he home side ended a run of six successive defeats that culminated in Adams’ resignation on Thursday, with chairman Norman Smurthwaite granting his assistant Page the reins until the end of October.
Vale took a first-half lead through Michael O’Connor’s exquisite curling free-kick beyond former Chelsea keeper Ross Turnbull before the midfielder felled Conor Hourihane after the break, with the Barnsley midfielder converting his spot-kick.
After Jordan Slew struck a penalty over the bar for the hosts, the impressive Marshall once again tormented the visiting defence before placing a right-foot shot past Turnbull to score an 89th-minute winner.
And a delighted Page insisted his role does not require him to re-educate his players, but restore the belief that has been absent around Vale Park this season.
“I’m over the moon. It’s always nice to get off to a winning start and I’m proud of the performance,” he said.
“Since the events of Thursday, I’ve had two or three sessions with the players and told them nothing, apart from what they already know. If I’ve got to tell them how to play football, then there’s something wrong.
“Last season, we would have gone on to lose. They’re a fantastic group but sometimes they lack confidence and belief.
“You know what Mark is capable of and total respect to him that they had to take their rightback off at half-time. He scored a great goal and could have had more.”
After Joe Dudgeon tripped Louis Dodds just outside the area on 24 minutes, O’Connor claimed his first goal for the club before Jean-Yves M’voto’s clearance prevented Dodds from doubling Vale’s lead.
O’Connor then needlessly pushed Hourihane in the box, leading to Barnsley’s equaliser before Slew’s woeful effort from the spot on 70 minutes after he was pulled down by M’voto.
Yet Marshall popped up to have the last word and Barnsley manager Danny Wilson said:“It’s typical of a team to play like that after the manager’s gone.
“It really surprises me, but they were determined and I’m sure they’re delighted with the result from the day.We were better in the second half, but we were a shadow of ourselves.”
STAR MAN MARK MARSH