The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Jamie Bow­man

A PRE-MATCH chat with his for­mer man­ager Neil Warnock helped Port Vale boss Michael Brown master­mind a vi­tal vic­tory over fel­low strug­glers Swin­don Town.

Two goals from JJ Hooper helped Vale come from be­hind to win a pul­sat­ing match and af­ter­wards Brown was keen to credit his old Sh­effield United men­tor with some wise words.

“Although I tried to play it down, I was re­ally hop­ing for the win,” said Brown.

“I spoke to Neil in the morn­ing and he ex­plained the im­por­tance of the game.

“But he also said ‘make sure you tell the play­ers to en­joy it’. It’s a mes­sage that when­ever the pres­sure is on, we need to cre­ate a good at­mos­phere and he was the mas­ter of that.

“I do take the ad­vice of my staff and even the play­ers – I try to speak to the older play­ers at half-time and I take in what they’ve seen.

“Some com­ments you like and some you don’t, but I’m still learn­ing and I want to con­tinue to learn.”

It was Swin­don who made the early run­ning as both Brad Barry and Nicky Ajose missed early chances with Vale’s de­fence stretched.

The game ex­ploded into life on 35 min­utes when Ajose’s spec­u­la­tive long range shot de­flected off the un­for­tu­nate Kjell Knops leav­ing Leonardo Fasan rooted to the spot as the ball slowly rolled across the line.

Vale’s re­sponse was im­me­di­ate and a minute later they were level after Olamide Shodipo’s right wing cross was helped goal­wards by Hooper, be­fore Chris Ea­gles pounced on Lawrence Vigouroux’s parry to score his sec­ond goal in as many games.

Vale upped their game after a break and took the lead fol­low­ing a clever set play as Kiko drove his free-kick low to the near post where Hooper was on hand to tap in via the post.

Two min­utes later Vale were awarded a penalty after Ea­gles was hauled down only for An­ton For­rester to blaze the ball over the bar.

And a bad day for Swin­don got worse when the ex­cel­lent Hooper raced on to a through ball only to be tripped by Barry, who re­ceived a red card and watched from the side­lines as the for­mer New­cas­tle trainee stroked home a mar­vel­lous free­kick.

Sub­si­tute Luke Nor­ris struck in in­jury time but this was Vale’s day as they drew level on points with their op­po­nents.

“We are strug­gling to learn from our mis­takes,” added Swin­don’s head coach Luke Wil­liams.

“The game was over at half-time if we’d scored the goals we should have, and we scored the two most dif­fi­cult chances.

“The fans are very dis­ap­pointed, un­der­stand­ably so, and we can ac­cept the fact that we’re not quite there at the mo­ment.

“But we want to see the play­ers try and they gave a lot to try and get back on terms. It was not through lack of try­ing that we went be­hind – they gave ev­ery­thing.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

STAR MAN JJ HOOPER Port Vale DOU­BLE TROU­BLE: JJ Hooper cel­e­brates the first of his two goals against Swin­don

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