No spark for Shrews in derby defeat
MICKY Mellon believed his Shrewsbury side lacked the fight to win any game – let alone a local derby – after Port Vale claimed their first victory in five league matches.
Michael O’Connor converted from the penalty spot after Louis Dodds had set the wheels in motion for the Valiants, who were rarely troubled by Shrewsbury.
The result comes after the Shrews recorded a fine win over promotion-chasing Bury just last week – but Mellon says his players put in a Halloween horror show.
Mellon said: “Right from the start we never won enough one versus one battles that you’ve got to do in any game, never mind a derby. All over the pitch we got out-fought which is even more surprising given the result that we had last week.
“There were just too many battles lost, which are the basics of League One football.
“You don’t see results and performances like this coming, and the bare minimum in professional football is that you have to physically compete and we didn’t do that.
“We lost too many individual battles all across the pitch and we just continued to lose them again and again.”
Suspended Vale top goal-scorer Uche Ikpeazu was missed as the hosts lacked a killer finish early on.
AJ Leitch-Smith came close to scoring after ten minutes, but his closerange volley could only sting the gloves of Shrews stopper Jayson Leutwiler.
Vale pushed early in the second half and a Colin Daniel header on 47 minutes forced a fingertip save from Leutwiler to deny the home side the lead.
But five minutes later, Dodds prodded the Valiants into the lead, past the outstretched foot of Leutwiler, after Daniel had provided the pass.
O’Connor sealed the victory from the penalty spot on 80 minutes, stepping up after Matt Tootle jumped to head the ball with raised arms and handled in the process.
And Vale manager Rob Page, who reserved special praise for Dodds, is hoping his side have turned a corner after an October to forget. “It has been a difficult month for us, everyone at the club has been frustrated with the inconsistency of our performances but we’ve shown we’re capable of beating the best in this division,” Page said.
“It is pleasing to get the victory, it was a nervous first half but I think we grew into the game and I think we thoroughly deserved it, two goals and a good clean sheet.
“Those who came in because of the suspensions and injuries grabbed their chances well and the performance of Louis Dodds was one of best I’ve seen in the league.”
STAR MAN MICHAEL O’CONNOR