Match analysis: Port Vale 1, Torquay United 1
FIFTEEN corners, 12 shots, three shots against the woodwork and an effort cleared off the line ... but only one point.
Vale manager Micky Adams must hope it was just one of those days as his side battered Torquay... only to emerge with a 1-1 draw thanks to a bizarre Brian Saah own goal.
For the second game in four league outings, the Valiants dominated possession and territory, but were not clinical enough in front of goal to pick up maximum points.
It was from a glorious chance of their own in front of the Bycars End in the 38th minute that the Gulls broke away and scored the opener.
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Back-pedalling Torquay keeper Michael Poke panicked when a cross started dipping under his crossbar and patted into the path of Ashley Vincent rather than concede a corner.
But Vincent could not beat Poke from two yards and from the resulting clearance, Rene Howe drew Vale's defence before teeing up Ian Morris to slide inside Chris Neal's left-hand post from 12 yards.
Vale kept sending crosses into the danger area to provide a lot of work for rookie opposition defender Kirtys McKenzie, making his debut as cover for the suspended Aaron Downes.
However, as chances and half-chances went begging, it took an unlikely source to bring the hosts level.
Vincent swung in a cross from the left that seemed certain to be gobbled up by Poke, but Saah ignored his call and diverted into his own net as he tried to extinguish the non-existent danger.
The 25-year-old defender almost put Vale in front five minutes later when he sliced a clearance past Poke and on to the inside of the upright, with the ball rebounding agonisingly in front of goal.
Vincent hit the junction of post and bar with a deep cross and Pope hit the bar with a looping header before veteran full-back Kevin Nicholson was in the right place to clear off the line in a frantic last-minute goalmouth scramble.
Disciplined Torquay, who were missing seven first-team squad regulars, had managed to hold out for a draw and even their manager Martin Ling counted his blessings.
But for Vale there was frustration how, like in an undeserved 2-0 defeat at Accrington Stanley last month, they had managed to let points through their grasp.
Captain Doug Loft was disappointed, but not unduly concerned.
He said: "We have lost the goals from Marc Richards, but there are some good forward players in this squad and we have a couple who can step up to get up towards 20 goals.
"You just get some days when the ball doesn't seem to want to go in.
"I think Louis Dodds is the best finisher in the division. He's unreal in training and he will benefit from playing more games this season.
"Tom Pope has had a good start to the season and already has a couple of goals and our wide players Ashley Vincent and Jennison Myrie-Williams look dangerous.
But we've got to share the goals out among the team, it's a team effort after all and we've all got to pitch in to make sure we turn more draws into wins."
Richards, for the record, has yet to get off the mark at winless Chesterfield so far this season, while Pope is playing full of confidence. It is unlikely as Richards' support act last term that Pope would have too often tried the turn, swivel and long-range strike with his left foot he managed in the 13th minute on Saturday.
Poke was able to turn that around for a corner, but it helped set the tone for an afternoon of one-way traffic, featuring 15 corners for the home side.
Most of Chris Shuker's set-pieces were threatening. A 25th-minute effort whizzed just in front of a trio of attackers, while John McCombe volleyed another narrowly over.
Myrie-Williams was lacking a man in the middle to seek out when he broke behind the defence just before the half hour and he made Poke work with a 25-yarder when he decided to go it alone a minute later.
The pattern continued after the break and Torquay dropped an ever-increasing back line even deeper.
Pope should have made the net bulge when he met one of Shuker's corners with a free header in the 54th minute, but instead his effort went the wrong side of the bar.
Rob Taylor added a fresh impetus when he was introduced down the left for the final nine minutes, but Vale could not find a breakthrough.
The Valiants may need to be more clinical when free-scoring promotion favourites Rotherham roll into town in the next league match this weekend.