Eagles to the rescue as Brown is buoyed
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.”