Ea­gles to the res­cue as Brown is buoyed

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

PORT Vale boss Michael Brown was re­lieved to see his side move out of the League One rel­e­ga­tion zone with an im­pres­sive win over mid-ta­ble AFC Wim­ble­don.

With only two home games to go af­ter this one, a win was vi­tal and ar­rived thanks to goals from Nathan Smith and man-of-the match Chris Ea­gles.

And Brown’s men go into the fi­nal fur­long full of con­fi­dence.

“We knew we had to match Wim­ble­don’s en­deavor and in the end it was a com­fort­able win,” said Brown.

“How­ever we got it I wanted a win, be­cause we are at that stage where we need points on the board and this is one step to­wards the tally we are af­ter.

“The league ta­ble didn’t look very good at one point so I tended not to look at it.

“But we’ve dis­cussed a tar­get of wins in the dress­ing room and this is one more to­wards that.

“Who­ever it is, home or away, we’ve got to show the de­sire to make sure we are in games and it will be an in­ter­est­ing run in, but this is a mas­sive step and now we’ve got seven cup fi­nals to go.”

Wim­ble­don should have taken the lead af­ter 15 min­utes when Jake Reeves drib­bled his way into the Vale box be­fore shoot­ing wide with only the goal­keeper to beat.

A minute later Vale went even closer as Ea­gles’ shot from the edge of the area can­noned off a post.

It was fre­netic stuff and Deniz Mehmet al­most paid the price when the Turk­ish stop­per spilled a shot from Dons mid­fielder Dean Par­rett only to pounce on the ball as it drib­bled to­wards the goalline.

A break­through seemed in­evitable and it was Vale who struck when Ea­gles and An­dre Bikey played a neat onetwo be­fore the for­mer Manch­ester United man swung in a great cross which was headed in by de­fender Smith.

The sec­ond half was some­thing of a non-event un­til Ea­gles capped a bril­liant dis­play with an ex­cel­lent goal as he burst into the area down the right be­fore his fierce shot clipped the in­side of the post and nes­tled in the net.

Wim­ble­don man­ager Neal Ard­ley said: “I’ve got to choose my words care­fully be­cause I am so an­gry.

“We got in some nice po­si­tions but far too much was miss­ing from our team and that re­ally dis­ap­points me.

“Our fi­nal ball and a de­sire to get on the end of it wasn’t good enough, and the sad thing is that they looked like they had a game plan and were des­per­ate to win and we didn’t.”

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