Port Vale 0, Chesterfield 2
OLD boy Mark Richards claimed two crucial assists to help put Port
Vale to the sword.
The striker, returning to the club for the first time since
his summer move to Chesterfield, set up first Jay O'Shea – another former Vale
player – and then Tendayi Darikwa either side of half-time
The below-par Valiants were never at the races in what was a
well-deserved win for the visitors.
After making five changes in midweek, boss Micky Adams
reverted largely to the team edged out by Sheffield United in the FA Cup last
But Calvin Andrew made his first league start up front,
alongside Tom Pope, and skipper Doug Loft came in for Adam Yates at left-back.
Chesterfield's Mark Randall forced Vale keeper Chris Neal to
tip a long-ranger over the bar early on, but Tom Pope almost put the home side
into the lead soon after, only to see his shot from 18 yards pushed around the
post by Tommy Lee.
The visitors were pressing again after 12 minutes. Former
Valiant O'Shea had a shot well blocked by John McCombe and Randall's effort
from the rebound was saved by a sprawling Neal.
While there was little goalmouth action, Chesterfield
continued to hold the upper hand and the returning Marc Richards tried his luck
with a 30-yard free-kick which Neal did well to keep out with a dive to his
Vale were coming under increasing pressure at the back and
it told in the end, after 37 minutes. A long punt from midfield was brilliantly
controlled under pressure by Richards, who fed the ball into the path of O'Shea
and his shot from 14 yards found the bottom corner.
Luis Boa Morte's shot was deflected wide as the visitors
looked for more after the break, while Andrew's reply, a speculative shot from
distance, never troubled Lee.
O'Shea tried to catch Neal off guard with a shot from the
halfway line which the retreating keeper deal with at a stretch before Adams
made two substitutions – throwing on Rob Taylor at left-back, which gave Loft
the chance to move into midfield, and Chris Shuker.
But it was 2-0 to Chesterfield after 64 minutes. Richards delivered
a cross from the left and a deflection gave Darikwa the chance to head home at
the far post.
Pope forced Lee into a fine low save with a header from a
corner soon after, but Randall went close again for the visitors when his
free-kick from the left bounced on top of the crossbar.
Vale huffed and puffed, but never really looked like
mounting any kind of comeback in what was an entirely forgettable day at the
Port Vale: Neal, Duffy, McCombe, McDonald, Loft (Dodds, 77),
Myrie-Williams, Burge, James (Shuker, 59), Vincent, Andrew (Taylor, 59), Pope.
Subs not used: Johnson, Yates, Williamson, Chilvers.
Chesterfield: Lee, Talbot, Hird, Cooper, Smith, Boa Morte
(Dickenson, 72), Togwell, Randall (Clay 77), O'Shea (Whitaker, 83), Darikwa,
Richards. Subs not used: O'Donnell, Forbes, Lester, Townsend.
Referee: Brendan Malone (Wiltshire)