The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By War­ren Lucy

TWO first-half set pieces sent Port Vale on their way to a per­fect start to the sea­son and with it ended Craw­ley's six-year open­ing day un­beaten record.

In Harry Kewell's first com­pet­i­tive game as home head coach, Michael Tonge was the ar­chi­tect, scor­ing one and set­ting up the other in a lively open­ing 25 min­utes.

Craw­ley re­sponded in the sec­ond half through Enzio Boldewijn, but a late suck­er­punch from Dan Turner made the points safe for a de­lighted Michael Brown.

“We go away with the points but I've seen the good and the bad of us to­day,” he said. “The fit­ness lev­els are still not there but we're get­ting bet­ter.

“Craw­ley move the ball well, were very strong down the right and we got them late on with a fan­tas­tic header from Turner.”

It was a strong start from the vis­i­tors who had the first real at­tempt of the game with Tonge see­ing his long-range ef­fort fly just over.

It was the same player who gave Vale the lead just min­utes later as his free-kick took a de­flec­tion and de­ceived the wrong-footed Glenn Mor­ris to find the net.

Mark Ran­dall dragged wide be­fore An­thony Kay glanced home a header against the run of play to thrill Brown.

“It was a great goal from Tonge and a great ball in for Kay to get on the end of it to put us in that com­mand­ing po­si­tion,” he said.

The hosts started the sec­ond half well and man­aged to pull a goal back through winger Boldewijn who, af­ter a su­perb solo run, jinked in­side and fired past Rob Lain­ton.

Jor­dan Roberts hit wide, Lewis Young volleyed over and Boldewijn saw his ef­fort go ag­o­nis­ingly wide as the hosts hunted an equaliser.

But with eight min­utes re­main­ing Vale nabbed a third when Turner nod­ded home Mar­cus Har­ness' pin­point cross.

De­feat left Reds' chief Kewell ru­ing a dis­ap­point­ing first-half show­ing.

He said: “It was a game of two halves. We knew what Port Vale were go­ing to bring. They look to go long, they look to Pope and are dan­ger­ous at set pieces.

“The free-kick was a de­flec­tion and the keeper has no chance, and the sec­ond is a great de­liv­ery in. We should be man mark­ing their play­ers.

“I didn't think they had too much to of­fer and we woke up in the sec­ond half, play­ing the game we wanted.” How­ever, Brown was thrilled with his side’s ex­hi­bi­tion in how to win away from home.

“Craw­ley pinned us back but we showed de­sire in the sec­ond half, hang­ing in when we needed to and we got our re­wards,” he added. “We wanted more of the ball, but we de­fended well and lim­ited their chances. It was a great away per­for­mance.” CRAW­LEY (3-5-2): Mor­ris 6, Le­lan 6, Con­nolly 6, Yor­w­erth 6 (Payne 55 6); Young 7, Ran­dall 7, Bul­man 6, Ran­dall 7, Roberts 6 (Cox 65 6); Boldewijn 8 (Lewis 75 6), Ver­heydt 6. Subs not used: Mersin, Black­man, Har­rold, Djalo PORT VALE: (4-5-1): Lain­ton 6, Wil­son 6, Kay 6, Smith 6, Gun­ning 6, Tonge 7 (Reeves 65 7), Pugh 6, De Fre­itas 6, Har­ness 7 (Whit­field 85 N/A), Mon­tano 6 (Turner 46 6), Pope 6. Subs not used: Hornby, Davis, For­rester, Pyke


DE­FLEC­TION: Port Vale’s Michael Tonge scores the open­ing goal of the game ON YOUR HEAD: Antony Kay climbs above Craw­ley’s Glen Mor­ris to score Valients’ sec­ond

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