Streete paves the way for Valiants
THIS hard-fought win over an enterprising Gillingham side means Port Vale have triumphed in their first five home matches of a season for the first time since 1933, with manager Bruno Ribeiro relieved that an improved second half performance ensured they made the mark.
Goals from Remie Streete and Alex Jones, who is on loan from Birmingham, gave Vale the three points, lifting Ribeiro’s side to fifth in the process.
Vale were well off the pace in the first half but Ribeiro declared himself more than happy with their turnaround.
“Gillingham dominated the first half and we struggled to get the ball,” he said. “We were second best and I was relieved we were only one goal down at the break.
“At half-time we told the players to be quicker at closing down their midfield, to play at a higher tempo and have more movement on and off the ball. We also told the lads to play wider, to stretch their defence.
“I was very pleased with how the players performed in the second half. But we told them, if we are to be serious promotion contenders they have to produce that hightempo performance for 90 minutes, not 45.
“We were far from our best in the first half. But what pleased me was the attitude of the players. It remained very positive and that tells me we have great spirit here.”
Gillingham were dominant in the first period and should have had more to show for their efforts than Josh Wright’s side-footed goal on 25 minutes. Vale were indebted to Jak Alnwick who denied Scott Wagstaff and then Deji Oshilaja.
The second half was a different story. Vale were on the front foot from the restart and it needed two smart saves from Reading loanee Jonathan Bond to keep the Gills in the game.
Vale were relentless. Paulo Tavares rattled the post and on 75 minutes Bond could only parry substitute Gezim Shalaj’s low drive and Streete fired home the rebound.
And six minutes from time Jones sealed the points after the Gills defence failed to clear a corner from the right.
Manager Justin Edinburgh said: “It’s very disappointing. We totally controlled the first half and should have scored two or three but were made to pay.
“They pushed further up and upped the tempo in the second half and we didn’t cope with it.
“I have told the players we have to see games out when we play as well as we did in the first half.”