Brown’s boys heap woe on Seasiders

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Scott Hunt

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

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