Brown’s boys heap woe on Seasiders
A 38-YEAR-OLD Michael Brown is proving he has plenty left in the tank – and Port Vale manager Rob Page admits his recall is proving an inspired decision.
Ajay Leitch-Smith scored the only goal of the game to clinch the win for the visitors and lift Vale into the top half of the table.
But Brown, who had not played in the league since August before the victory over Bury a fortnight ago, was singled out for special praise.
“We’ve had to dig deep in the last five minutes and to a man everyone stood up to be counted,” Page said.
“The mentality and game management has improved. Browny has come in the last two games and with his experience and knowledge of when to play and what areas to play, it makes a big difference. He’s certainly had an impact.
“We are not looking at the league.We brought pressure on ourselves by not clearing our lines. Away from home I don’t want us to do that. Be ugly if you have to and put them on the back foot.”
Blackpool missed a great chance to go ahead after five minutes when Andy Little broke through but clipped his effort wide from six yards.
But the Valiants began to dominate, keeping Blackpool penned in their own area with a succession of corners and crosses without creating any clear-cut chances.
On 49 minutes, referee Sebastian Stockbridge dismissed Blackpool’s penalty claims for handball following a melee in the box before Port Vale struck. Byron Moore’s cross found Leitch-Smith, whose header was saved by Colin Doyle, but he bundled home the rebound.
Blackpool are League One’s lowest scorers and they created very few chances to equalise, but with a minute remaining Danny Philliskirk’s effort from six yards was saved by Jak Alnwick.
It leaves the Seasiders stewing after their third consecutive defeat – but boss Neil McDonald issued a call to arms.
“We have to believe that we can win the next game, if we don’t we may as well finish the season now,” McDonald said.
“I think we are creating enough chances.We are trying everything we possibly can to win some games and we will continue to do that.
“It’s a definite handball for our penalty appeal and the referee hasn’t given it, we’ve switched off and they punished us with probably the only chance they’ve had all game.
“We can make excuses but we shouldn’t have switched off.
“It’s going to be busy all the way through January. We are trying to strengthen as much as we can.”
STAR MAN MICHAEL BROWN Port Vale