Vale are safe af­ter Brown’s late show

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Chris Spit­tles

PORT Vale se­cured their League One sta­tus with a game to spare thanks to a late win­ner from vet­eran mid­fielder Michael Brown and boss Robert Page was re­lieved.

Hav­ing dom­i­nated the first half and taken the lead through Tom Pope, Vale shouldn’t have needed Brown’s late hero­ics.

But af­ter see­ing Gozie Ugwu level for Yeovil against the run of play in the sec­ond half, it took Brown’s flick from a Michael O’Con­nor free­kick to lift Vale to safety.

Boss Page said: “Of course, we are re­lieved. We are scratch­ing our heads as much as the sup­port­ers as to why we have found our­selves in this po­si­tion, af­ter hav­ing been within touch­ing dis­tance of the play-offs.

“Were we punch­ing above our weight? I think we were, but with those re­sults you build ex­pec­ta­tion and then you have to man­age that ex­pec­ta­tion.

“Ev­ery team and ev­ery manager goes through a bad spell, ours just came at the worst pos­si­ble time with the run of six de­feats, but I’m re­ally, re­ally proud of the per­for­mance.

“We have needed hard work and char­ac­ter, and since I have come in we have gone back to ba­sics, and we de­cided we wanted to be hard to beat.”

The de­feat ended a three-game un­beaten run for new Yeovil manager Paul Stur­rock, who was forced into three sub­sti­tu­tions by half-time.

He said: “It was dis­ap­point­ing for us and in­juries to key play­ers Sam Fo­ley and By­ron Web­ster were a fea­ture of the game for us.

“As a re­sult I had to send on play­ers to cover the in­juries and I wasn’t able to send on of­fen­sive play­ers to try to change the game in our favour.

“I think we saw the prob­lem Yeovil have had all sea­son and that’s in front of goal, cre­at­ing chances and putting the ball in the net.

“We had no width and we have re­ally got any real wingers in the foot­ball club and I didn’t think we put enough balls into the box.”

Pope had al­ready had a goal harshly ruled out for a foul be­fore he opened the scor­ing on 13 min­utes.

The Vale striker headed in a cross from Ben Wil­liamson at the back post but it was ruled out.

But just three min­utes later he legally found the back of the net, col­lect­ing a pass from Wil­liamson.

Yeovil saw mid­fielder Fer­gus Bell shoot just wide from the edge of the penalty area, but the vis­i­tors were well worth their half-time lead.

And they weren’t se­ri­ously trou­bled in de­fence un­til Ugwu ac­ro­bat­i­cally con­verted a free-kick.

Brown then quickly put the vis­i­tors back in front, but they still needed a bril­liant late save from Chris Neal to deny Ugwu and clinch the victory.

STAR MAN MARK MARSH

ALL Port­Vale

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