Vale are safe after Brown’s late show
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